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Cheap Trick: From Tokyo to You (DVD)

The first (and only) eight-track tape I ever owned was a copy of Cheap Trick's At Budokan. I played the crap out of it. As I got older, I replaced the tape with a cassette version of the album. The I bought the CD version, then At Budokan: The Complete Concert in 1998 and finally Epic/Legacy's 2002 remaster of the original At Budokan. Apparently, Cheap Trick thinks highly of the album, too, considering that it finally launched the glorified bar band's career into the stratosphere and helped the Tricksters become major influences on practically every other pop-rock band in the universe.

So it comes as no surprise that Cheap Trick has opted to celebrate its Japanese heritage with From Tokyo to You. Released to coincide with the reissue of the band's 25th anniversary concert album Silver, issued in 2001 to little fanfare and even less distribution, this 97-minute DVD features live performances of big hits, near misses and songs from Cheap Trick's 14th and latest studio album Special One, as well as behind-the-scenes footage from the band's 2003 Japanese tour including a segment with singer Robin Zander and guitarist Rick Nielsen standing outside Budokan (which, by the way, they don't play this time). The crowd's a lot quieter than it was on At Budokan, but the band sounds tight, if a little rushed. And unfortunately, the entire set isn't aired here; in some cases, neither are the complete songs. The highlight is a four-song acoustic set that features "Lookout," the third track on At Budokan. Nielsen is wearing a black T-shirt that proclaims "My singer is better than your singer," but Zander sometimes sounds as though he's in pain, and he alters his delivery from the original versions to make up for his inability to hit the high notes.

Then there are the exclusive interviews in which band members lie through their teeth, portraying Nielsen as a former touring partner of Minnie Pearl, drummer Bun E. Carlos as inspiring KISS to don makeup, Zander as the left-channel voice in the Beatles' "Revolution 9" and bassist Tom Petersson easily the wittiest man in the band as a former "donkey baseball" player and the inventor of Pop-Tarts. Their comments about each other cast doubt on the veracity of other statements band members make later on when discussing At Budokan, album covers, the band's name and image, and other topics. As Nielsen tells the camera, "It's been so long since I told the truth that I can't remember what's real and what's not."

Still, Cheap Trick's offbeat approach on From Tokyo to You makes for fun repeat viewing and shows a different side of the band, both onstage and off.

Track Listing:
1) Just Got Back
2) Big Eyes
3) Best Friend
4) Pop Drone
5) Words
6) If You Want My Love
7) My Obsession
8) I Want You To Want Me
9) Fan Club (Acoustic)
10) Carnival Game (Acoustic)
11) Lookout (Acoustic)
12) Special One (Acoustic)
13) Dream Police
14) Scent of a Woman
15) Surrender
16) California Man
Total Running Time: Approximately 97 minutes

Added: July 24th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Cheap Trick Web Site
Hits: 3501
Language: english

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