Cheap Trick has hopped on the Record Store Bandwagon with 3 previous releases for each Volume of The Epic Archives and now for the 2019 Record Store Day they dug in to the archives and are finally releasing their New Year’s Eve concert from the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles from 1979 in full. Some songs were released on the Expanded Edition of the ‘Dream Police’ album, but never the full show. This is the first time it has been released on vinyl, the first time the full show has been released giving is new mixes from the original master tracks. The only issue is the first reel of the master tapes could not be found, so the first four songs aren’t as clean and crisp as the rest of the album. They had to source those songs from a high resolution tape of the official radio broadcast. You can tell the difference in the listen, but honestly, it has zero impact on the listening pleasure.
RSD has it listed as an exclusive release, but only exclusive in the fact it is the only way to get the vinyl. The show has been released on CD and digitally so the vinyl release isn’t truly exclusive. The package is a 2 LP set in a beautiful gatefold. After getting the Epic Archive albums in multiple colors, here we get the standard black vinyl. I have read a lot of reviews and/or comments that they feel the sound sucks, but it is a personal taste. If you like a live album that sounds live, then this will be great. I wasn’t bothered by any of the sound quality and that won’t be mentioned at all as it was a non-issue for me. I was listening to the music and what we got and we got a lot. Let’s walk through it.
After the last studio album, 2009’s ‘The Latest’, Cheap Trick went a little quiet. The did release a a live album, ‘Sgt Pepper Live’ in 2009, but that album is not in my Collection and this is “The Collection Series” so it won’t get reviewed at this point. Then in 2010, Bun E. Carlos stopped touring and he ended up suing the band in 2013 as they weren’t allowing him to record or participate in anything with the band. The lawsuit was settled and the band continued on without Carlos as a 3-Piece. Of note, Rick Nielsen’s son, Dax, has filled in for Bun E. as the drummer. And in 2014, they did release a compilation album called ‘The 70’s’, but again, not in the collection.
So, what is in the Collection that can be reviewed next? I will tell you. We have ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 through Vol. 3 to review that were all released in 2015. All three albums were released on November 27, 2015 digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. We will start with ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) since that is the first one in the series.
The band finally started to catch on to the world with the release of their third album, “Heaven Tonight”. The album was released on April 24, 1978 and what is interesting is four days later they were touring Japan and played at a little arena called Nippon Budokan and we will get to that story in the next review. First, we need to talk this album. The band’s third album, which in some circles is considered the best, but it is way too early to make that call. This one though does bring the best of the first two albums in to focus. It has some of the first albums raw sound and then it takes some of the power pop sounds of the second and makes a pretty damn fine combination. The album did well as it charted at #48 on the Billboard Charts and going Gold a year later. By 1995, it has since been certified Platinum.
There are also two big firsts on this album. The first is they finally had a single chart with “Surrender” as it went to #62 on the Billboard Hot 100. The other first is more of a recording history fact in that this is the first recording to ever feature a 12-String Bass…yep…that is a right…12 strings. Not the wimpy-ass 4 string bass, nope four strings are for pussies. Only bad ass bass players play a 12 String bass!! Okay, I have no idea if that is true, but it sounds good…to me at least.
This is also the second album in a row to feature only Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the cover similar to ‘In Color’. Based on the cover, it looks like a standard background, but when you flip it over you see Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos standing in bathroom. Yes, great place for a group photo. As a result, the record company wanted to call the album ‘American Standard’ as that is a very popular brand of plumbing supplies. Thankfully, that was nixed and they went with the ‘Heaven Tonight’ title.