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“Setlist: The Very Best Of Cheap Trick – Live” by Cheap Trick

Artist: Cheap Trick
Title: “Setlist: The Very Best Of Cheap Trick – Live”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 7/13/2010
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

The “Setlist Live” releases are the latest batch of compilations delivered to the fans of the Hard Rock and Metal bands of the world and it’s an interesting premise since it takes in concert tracks from across the bands career and presents them to you in one handy package. Of course they are only meant to inspire you own research into the back catalog of the group and what better way to begin your poking around the musical happenings of Cheap Trick than with a collection like this one. To many, Cheap Trick is truly a band of road warriors and has continually set the bar very high about how to approach the Rock & Roll lifestyle. Their songs still withstand the tests of musical time and I cannot name a single Rock fan I know who does not own a copy of the legendary “Live at Budokan” album. Looking over the inclusions on the bands “Setlist” CD, I would have to say that this is more for the bands hard core followers than for the new ones because it really pulls some mystery tunes out of the closet and presents them to you. They open up with a Bob Dylan cover in “Mrs. Henry” which is interesting and a tune I never heard them do and “Ballad Of TV Violence” which each predate the “Budokan” release. With two years younger to his advantage, Robin Zander seems to have a little more power in his pipes. “At Budokan” gets the most tracks featured and gives fans the two staples and two lesser known tracks to those fans that might still only have the single CD version of the show. Do yourself a favor and lay out the extra cash and get the deluxe remaster of “At Budokan” because it leaves you breathless.
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“Budokan!” (30th Anniversary Boxed Set) by Cheap Trick

Artist: Cheap Trick
Title: “Budokan!” – 30th Anniversary Boxed Set
Label: Epic Legacy Records
Release Date: 11/8/2008
Genre: Rock
Rating: 5/5

There are live albums and then there are live albums, and while history might reflect that releases like “Frampton Comes Alive” helped define the time (as well as Mr. Frampton’s career), there are few albums that are as iconic as Cheap Trick’s “At Budokan”. The original vinyl delivered 10 tracks of the band in concert over in Japan, and while they were building a steady buzz in their home area, nothing could have prepared them for the stratospheric climb that this record would provide them with. It seemed as though moments after the album was released that Cheap Trick was not only a household name, but a band that you would hear in constant rotation on every single Rock radio station of the time. The songs were catchy and everyone knew them and from this Cheap Trick held the world in their hand. The album is celebrating its 30th Anniversary and I can hardly believe it. Of course the interesting thing about it is when you play it today the darned thing still sounds fresh and exciting and brings the listener back into the moment and to the excitement they felt when they first listened to it. To properly celebrate the anniversary of such a valuable piece of music history, Sony Legacy has released a DVD video of the concert along with three CD’s. It’s a hefty release and we shall speak upon each part to make better sense of it. Here goes nothing.
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“Music For Hangovers” by Cheap Trick

Artist: Cheap Trick
Title: “Music For Hangovers”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 3/26/2002
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Filmed over the course of a four night appearance at Chicago’s Metro club, “Music For Hangovers” is an interesting DVD film from the band Cheap Trick. The shows that the footage was culled from found the band celebrating the release of remastered editions of their first four albums (“Cheap Trick”, “In Color”, “Heaven Tonight” and “Dream Police”) and as result features songs from all of these recordings. For those fans lucky enough to be a part of the four performance affair they enjoyed each album being delivered in its entirety but that is not what we end up with on the resulting DVD. Instead of giving the viewer a double disc affair that featured the complete shows across the four nights we get fourteen selections from the span of shows on one disc. This is effective in some sense but since the realm of DVD offers a lot more in the way of time the large amount of omission takes away from the importance of these shows in Cheap Trick history. It’s not often we find a band not only celebrating their re-issued releases, but even more remote are the instances where the entire album is presented for their loving fans. I enjoyed the film enough because it included quite a bit of the songs that I grew up on and loved very much but the delivery of the footage is not even done in sequence and instead goes back and forth over the days. With this being the case we see quite a bit of wardrobe swaps and some might be thinking that this is distracting. It might have been better to start at the first night, then continue to follow suit as the event progressed.
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“Rockford” by Cheap Trick

Artist: CheapTrick
Title: “Rockford”
Label: Big3 Records
Release Date: 6/6/2006
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

Cheap Trick has always proved to be a consistent source of quality Rock and Roll and with “Rockford”, they have done it once again. This album would be their third release outside of the major label arena and come to the fans care of Big 3 Records. “Rockford” starts off with “Welcome To The World” and it’s a jumping opener that delivers the same kind of energy that the band gives their fans on the concert stage. “Come On” is one of those quick typical sing along tracks that the guys excelled at and while radio has not seen a Cheap Trick hit since “The Flame” I found “Perfect Stranger” and “If It Takes A Lifetime” would have been perfect material for the medium. The terrestrial radio world is far different from the time it regularly had Cheap Trick music showcased on it and now as a result perhaps the growing Satellite stations and cable music feeds is the best idea for this band going forward. The lineup is again the originals with Robin Zander (vocals), Rick Neilsen (guitar), Tom Petersson (bass) and Bun E. Carlos (drums) – I think it’s fantastic to see that after all these years that the band still delivers and has not been through 10 membership changes. It keeps the vibe that they started long ago running just as fresh and fun as it always had been. There is a cute booklet that features the animated caricatures of the group and despite their music and lyrics being very catchy and easy to remember they did not include lyrics to the songs. I feel this would have locked the piece up for me yet overall it is a very consistent album and for a band around as long as Cheap Trick there is nothing else that I expected of them.
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