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Singer says live is still the best way to hear Cheap Trick

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Cheap Trick has never been about fashion during its nearly 40-year career. But the group was a trend-starter in at least one regard.

In 1998 the Rockford, Ill.-founded quartet went on tour to play their first three albums in their entirety, on consecutive nights. It was fairly unheard of at the time, but in recent years more and more bands have started to play entire albums in concert, usually to commemorate anniversaries.

“We were the first ones to really do it in a major way like that,” notes Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander. “I think it’s a good idea for any band to do. It gives the audience a chance to see their favorite band the way they first heard them on a record.

“It’s a unique experience. If you color that with other things that go with it — the memories you have of that time period and everything — it becomes an event as well as a show.”

Earlier this year Cheap Trick played its 1979 album “Dream Police” over a limited run in Milwaukee, backed by a choir and an orchestra. The group also has a production of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” that it performed in Las Vegas and at the Hollywood Bowl. Cheap Trick also is “working on another record,” says Zander, 58 — who adds that “we’re always working on another record.”

And in the meantime the band is happy to keep playing on stage, in any capacity.

“We’ve really been known as a live band,” Zander notes. “We’ve never thought that we accomplished what we set out to do in the studio, making the records. When we go out live we feel like we have to make it better. There’s just something about the energy level and the crowd in front of you that pushes you to a point you just can’t really achieve in the studio.”

Cheap Trick performs at 8 p.m. Friday, July 15, at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $48, $45 and $38. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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