After 2 Record Store Releases in a row up for review, we are now on our third in a row and 6 total RSD releases from this band and all fantastic. Cheap Trick’s ‘Out to Get You! Live 1977’ is pretty freaking cool. This was very early on between the debut album and only months away from the release of their second album, In Color, which came out 3 months later. We get basically every song from those two albums (and one the crowd hadn’t even heard yet) as well as a couple from their third album (which hadn’t even been recorded or thought of yet), plus a handful of tracks that wouldn’t show up again for years.
They were hungry, energetic and fresh and yet still a little green. The release is from Record Store Day 2020 and is an exclusive release…well, not that exclusive since you can stream it but physically it is currently only available on vinyl. And there were only 4,700 on this limited release. The show is recorded over 4 performances over two days on June 3rd and 4th at The Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and we get 22 tracks of pure and utter joy.
These four unassuming gentlemen were a cross between rockers, nerds and plain quirky looking guys. Meshed together, they were a force to be reckoned with. The albums didn’t necessarily match the power that came from the stage and when you saw them, you had no idea the type of music that would flow from them. In 1977, this was pre-Budokan so the world wasn’t truly hip on them yet, but these performances captured here let us know that we had one of America’s greatest bands waiting to blow up on the world…and they did just that.
After three labels on three different albums, things weren’t going great for Cheap Trick. Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos needed to rebuild and find themselves again. One way they did this was by Epic Records re-releasing their stellar live album ‘At Budokan’, but this time they did a 2 CD release of the entire concert. All 19 tracks in order just as one done in the concert the show was from back in 1978. It was the 20th Anniversary of the original album and time to show the fans what all the fuss was about once again but in glorious full setlist detail.
The album came out on April 8, 1998 which was only 20 short days from the release of the official album which makes me wonder why they didn’t just wait a few more weeks. But what do I know. The concert was completely remastered and fully restored with all the tracks. And since we’ve already been through the original album track by track, we will focus on only the songs that were not included on the original.
That means we will kick things off with “ELO Kiddies” from their 1977 debut album. Live the song has even more of the band’s early punk aggression. It sounds rich and full and ready to rock your face off. They go straight in to the Terry Reid cover of “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” also from their first album. Tom Petersson starts it off on bass and he gives us a little solo rather than the normal blues guitar opening. We get a two minute instrumental instrumental before the song really gets going. The song rocks more than before and Robin sounds as great as ever.
By 1994, Cheap Trick was no longer with Epic Records, they had jumped ship to Warner Bros. Epic was going to take that lying down, no they weren’t. They still had the rights to all the bands material up to ‘Busted’, so they were going to still capitalize on the Cheap Trick name. They released a compilation of Cheap Trick’s biggest hits. However, this was just an ordinary greatest hits set, no sir. Epic did what their name implies…they made an epic box set that had four CDs of hits, album tracks, b-sides, live songs, alternate takes and a ton of previously unreleased tracks. In fact, 17 previously unreleased tracks. A super fan’s wet dream, if you will.
There are 64 tracks on the album, plus 4 hidden little bits of weirdness at the end of each disc. It comes housed in a hard cover book type case that feels pretty solid. Inside, attached to the case, which I don’t like at all, is a booklet filled with pictures, stories and other Cheap Trick goodness. It would’ve been nice if the booklet wasn’t attached and you could take it out and enjoy it on its own. Minor flaw though. I liked the fact that the front cover of the book was actually Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos and the back was Robin Zander and Tom Petersson because most of their albums was the reverse with Robin and Tom on front and Rick & Bun relegated to the back cover. Nice little twist that did not go unnoticed.