“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.

Either way the band still sounds great after all these years and continues to tour with their original lineup. There are not too many bands from the seventies that can count that among their accomplishments. Of course since I was quite young and growing in music at the time when the band had just achieved their greatest success with that little album I am sure many have heard of or at least owned once “At Budokan”, the songs from this album that get delivered during the show are the main core of my own favorites. The great thing about tracks like “I Want You To Want Me”, and “Surrender” is how they still sound fresh and powerful as tunes even so many years later. The band is energetic at every shot and delivers their material with a tightness that only groups who have been at it as long as they have can hope to achieve. The groups appear so tight that they come off as loose and what I mean by this is how effortless and in sync they make this appear to have gone down. Anyone who has seen a band live over the years knows that every song that a group does on an album is not presented to them live. With Cheap Trick choosing to do this with all four of their first albums and giving these songs a visit once again in front of an audience made me a little disappointed that more of the show is not on this film. The film does remind you of just how good the band is live and how they have always had this to their advantage. Congrats to you Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Tom Petersson because you’ve still got it.

They have one special guest come out which is Smashing Pumpkins’ own Billy Corgan. The guitarist plays “Mandacello” and comes out dressed like Rick Nielsen which definitely gets a laugh. The Smashing Pumpkins actually opened one of these shows. There are a couple of bonus features and one of which is an interview with the band as they discuss these performances. There is also a discography page but that was only the covers of the albums and not what I expected. It would have been nice to be able to click each album and see what tracks were on it along with some additional liner notes. A booklet would have been nice with photos from the gigs but instead of that we just get a list of the included songs. Despite the minor reservations the film is entertaining and cheap enough to make a part of your music video library. Cheap Trick has some of the most influential Pop Rock of its time and with some of these songs becoming a part of our Pop Culture scene it can’t hurt to jump on board with this film.

Track Listing:
1. Oh Claire
2. Surrender
3. Hot Love
4. I Cant Take It
5. I Want You To Want Me
6. Taxman, Mr. Thief
7. Mandocello
8. Oh Caroline
9. How Are You?
10. If You Want My Love
11. Dream Police
12. So Good To See You
13. The Ballad Of T.V. Violence
14. Gonna Raise Hell

Official Website: www.cheaptrick.com

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