Cheap Trick are perhaps the one band who have the credentials to cover The Beatles. Building a post punk guitar rock sound around the foundation of The Beatles’ melodies they didn’t do the copycat plod of Oasis but made the influence their own. They have not only been engineered by The Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick and produced by fifth Beatle George Martin but actually were John Lennon’s band on I’m Losing You, though their version was left off Double Fantasy and only released later as an outtake on the John Lennon Anthology. They have also released versions of Day Tripper and Magical Mystery Tour.
No, it is not better than the original but it is a great live encounter with what has arguably been declared the best rock album of all time. Basically Cheap Trick with the New York Philharmonic and a little help from friends Joan Osborne, Ian Ball (from Gomez) and the Indian Sitar Band do what The Beatles never did and perform the album psychedelic cover to cover. So successful has it been that they have since finished a residency in Las Vegas performing it. Cheap Trick are great players and everything is played with a flourish; check in particular Nielsen’s guitar on Fixing a Hole and Peterson’s bass on Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds. There is something about the removal of the songs from the arty seriousness of the defining album of rock and into a Cheap Trick world of madness that allows songs about imaginary bands, circuses, traffic wardens and children’s drawings to relax and become real fun. This is done without losing the poignancy of She’s Leaving Home where the Philharmonic strings tug at your heart, the spiritual yearning of Within You Without You where the Indian Sitar Band tug at your soul and the stripped back but building to a crescendo sophistication of A Day in the Life tugs at your mind.
Totally enjoyable; the ultimate Beatles’ tribute band!