Hello Windy City
(Gypsy Eye GE-181/182)
International Amphitheater, Chicago, IL – June 16th, 1979
Disc 1 (62:30): Hello There, Come On Come On, Stiff Competition, On Top Of The World, guitar solo, Big Eyes, Ain’t That A Shame, Clock Strikes Ten, Need Your Love, I Know What I Want, California Man, I Want You to Want Me, Surrender, Goodnight
Disc 2 (71:47): Day Tripper, ELO Kiddies, Lookout, Auf Wiedersehen. Bonus tracks, Liverpool University, Liverpool, England – February 3rd, 1979: Stiff Competition, On Top Of The World, guitar solo, Big Eyes, Ain’t That A Shame, Let It Rock (with Dave Edmunds), Promised Land (with Dave Edmunds), Need Your Love, I Want You To Want Me, California Man, Surrender, Goodnight
It took a souvenir live album Live In Budokan for Cheap Trick to reach stardom. The album was released outside of Japan in February 1979 and reached number four on Billboard and two singles, “I Want You To Want Me” and “Ain’t That A Shame” also charted. After years of playing smaller venues, the band explode onto the scene and, in a brilliant move, play three phenomenal sold-out shows at the International Amphitheater in Chicago on June 15th, 16th and 17th.
The second show was broadcast live by WLUP the Loop FM 98 all across the country and has been released before on the Top Of The World bootleg. Older releases stop after “ELO Kiddies” and miss the final two songs of the show, “Lookout” and “Auf Wiedersehen.” Hello Windy City on Gypsy Eye, released in 2003 close to the end of their run as a silver label, pressed the entire show from an excellent professional source.
The mix gives much to the lower frequencies and the backing vocals are missing from “Come On, Come On” but is otherwise an excellent document of an important show. The tape is cut after “Need Your Love” but losing no music.
At the beginning of the show a DJ from the Chicago rock station The LOOP shouts “they call us the second city no more. This is the rock and roll capitol right? It is tonight, it is right now!” The band start off with “Hello There” and the slower “Come On, Come On.” The set is very similar to the previous year’s. “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace,” “Downed,” “Can’t Hold On” and “Oh Caroline” but other songs from Heaven Tonight are played such as “Stiff Competition” and “On Top Of The World.”
Highlights of the show include the guitar solo seguing into “Big Eyes,” “Clock Strikes Ten” and the long “Need Your Love.” By the end of the main set they play their two biggest current hits “I Want You To Want Me” and the eternally infectious “Surrender.” The main set ends with “Goodnight.”
The four song encore set is found on the second disc beginning with a cover of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper.” They follow with “ELO Kiddies,” “Lookout” and finally with “Auf Wiedersehen,” their other “goodnight” song. It’s been suggested that this is one of the best Cheap Trick unofficial releases available. It’s hard to argue against that position. The sound quality is devastating and the performance shows the band at the height of their initial popularity.
Plus, with the encores, it’s the longest and most complete version available.
Gypsy Eye add a significant fragment of the February 3rd show in Liverpool as a bonus. Sourced from another excellent soundboard tape, this is the band’s first trip to England and it shows.
The tape picks up with the third number of the set “Stiff Competition” and continues to the last song, omitting the encores. They play a tight but nervous set and the audience seem reticent to offer much in applause at first. In fact, the silence from the crowd is so deafening that Rick Neilsen stops his guitar solo in the middle and jokes, “would you clap louder if I were Richie Blackmore? Well close your eyes for a minute.”
Things warm up when Robin Zander announces that they’ve found “a neighbor of yours” Dave Edmunds. Currently working with Nick Lowe on Rockpile, Edmunds sings two Chuck Berry covers with the band “Let It Rock” (which The Rolling Stones played to open their shows the previous summer) and “Promised Land.”
A very long and strange version of “Need Your Love” is another highlight of the tape as is “Surrender,” dedicated to everyone who has weird parents, sung by Zander in a deep growl. The Liverpool fragment is an excellent addition to the Chicago broadcast and makes Hello Windy City an excellent Cheap Trick title to have.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)