Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick Unlimited Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


You can't blame Cheap Trick for wanting to celebrate their 25th anniversary by holding one whiz-bang of a concert in their hometown of Rockford, Illinois. You can't blame them for wanting to blow the roof off of the place (never mind the fact the show was held in a park) with a gaggle of special guests. You can't blame them for wanting to touch base with every studio album they've done.

You can, however, blame Rick Nielsen and crew for being overambitious - and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But as the two-disc set Silver shows, sometimes even a band as great as Cheap Trick can set the bar a little too high.

Now, for all of the bloat one could say such a release could have, I will concede some major points. First, I have no problem with Nielsen and crew bringing in well-known names to sit in with the band on a song here and there. It's nice to hear Billy Corgan, after contributing guitar on "Just Got Back," pay impromptu tribute to a band who have not gotten the attention they've deserved in recent years. Likewise, it's kind of fun to hear Nielsen comment about Corgan and Slash (who adds guitar to "You're All Talk"), "The kid can play!"my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Another nice touch is that Cheap Trick welcomed back bassist Jon Brant, who joined the band after Tom Petersson left for a while, as well as keyboardist Tod Howarth. It seemed fitting to bring closure to that period of the band's career.

What is a little harder to deal with, though understood why Cheap Trick did it, was to invite their kids to perform on a few numbers with them. These turned out to be a little more awkward, though Holland Zander does shine on "Time Will Let You Know".

As for featuring every studio album - well, the vote is still out on this. If you're a die-hard fan of Cheap Trick, this set list had to top the series of concerts the band played where they reprised their first four albums in their entirety. For the casual fan, it often feels like a bit of overkill, especially on the acoustic set, when the energy level is dragged down to semi-consciousness.

All of this said, Silver might just raise some listeners' interest in a few of the forgotten Cheap Trick releases. The two selections from Dream Police, "Gonna Raise Hell" and "Dream Police," are kinda fun to listen to - but where was "Way Of The World"? And I'm probably the only person in the civilized world who, when I bought it, liked Woke Up With A Monster. Maybe the inclusion of the title track will stir up some interest in this one.

Silver, as a two-disc set, is a definite thank-you gift for Cheap Trick's dedicated fans, who will undoubtedly lap up every single note. The fact is, though, that the band could have cut this down to a single disc and it would have been a tighter release. (See Music For Hangovers as proof.) Still, not a bad effort - and not a bad way to celebrate 25 years together.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cheap Trick Unlimited Records, and is used for informational purposes only.