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CONCERT PREVIEW
Cheap Trick

Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Cheap Trick
UDO

AC/DC, KISS, Deep Purple...with so many dinosaurs around, you could be forgiven for thinking Tokyo is beginning to resemble some kind of East Asian rock ' roll Jurassic Park. But of all of them, it's Cheap Trick-the American power pop band who made their name with a Tokyo recording - whose return seems the most appropriate. In early April, 23 years after their Live At Budokan double-album went platinum, Cheap Trick turn up with a tour that, sadly, doesn't have them booked at the legendary venue.

Formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1973, Cheap Trick were always one of the more unusual rock acts, thanks to the outlandish getup and eccentric stage presence of guitarist Rick Nielson. Together with singer Robin Zander, the pair formed the nucleus of a band that contrasted Nielson's guitar-geek antics with Zander's pretty-boy good looks.

While it may date me, this writer is not too proud to admit to more than a few late '70s afternoons spent swooning to the soaring vocals and chunky guitars of Cheap Trick hits "Surrender" and "I Want You To Love Me."

Follow-ups to Live At Budokan, Dream Police and All Shook Up, failed to duplicate its success, but the band experienced a comeback in 1988 when the single "The Flame" from the Lap of Luxury album topped the charts.

Cheap Trick saw yet another wave of interest in the '90s, as alternative rockers influenced by them such as Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins joined them onstage for the live double-disc album, Silver. Recorded to mark the band's silver anniversary tour in 1998, the just-released album features Corgan and Slash joining Cheap Trick onstage. Guitarist Nielson jokingly told Rolling Stone that, "We had some of the fans come and do the show."

"The kids today know us from Budokan, their parents records," he added. "We wanted to have something from every CD and some obscure cuts. We've had a good long career, [but] were still four great guys and three chords."

Cheap Trick play Akasaka Blitz on Apr 4, Shibuya Kokaido on Apr 6, and Yokohama Bay Hall on Apr 7. See listings for details.

Flash!! Fuji Rock Festival's initial lineup has been confirmed. Smash says that this year's festival - scheduled again for Naeba ski resort on the last weekend of July - will feature Oasis, Travis, Manic Street Preachers, Hothouse Flowers, Ricky Lee Jones, Sonic Youth, the Deftones, the Orb and Jeff Mills, with more to come.

Concert Listings
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OCTOBER
394: Regurgitator
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392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
AUGUST
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
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382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
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370: Mouse on Mars
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MARCH
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
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360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
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336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
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331: Camel
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329: Summer Sonic
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327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
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324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
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320: Smashing Pumpkins
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317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
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312: Harry Connick Jr.
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310: Speech
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