Cheap Trick

California Man 78

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When Cheap Trick headlined the Paradise Theater in Boston in 1978, the show was broadcast live by album rock powerhouse WBCN-FM. Between "Stiff Competition" and "On Top of the World," Robin Zander jokingly said that the show would result in "our 69th bootleg"; and sure enough, that Boston gig is the main focus of the bootleg California Man 78. Those who acquired this two-LP set found that while the sound quality is good, it isn't perfect; perhaps the bootlegger was working with a second or third-generation tape of the show. Nonetheless, California Man 78 is an exciting document of Cheap Trick's 1978 tour. From "Surrender" and "Southern Girls" to "Big Eyes," "Come on, Come On," and "Clock Strikes Ten," the band really tears into the material and never fails to sound inspired. While sides one through three are devoted to the Boston set, side four contains a handful of performances from a 1978 appearance at the Bottom Line in New York. And once again, the sound quality is good but not perfect. Some of the songs are duplicated, including "California Man," "Need Your Love," "Southern Girls," and the opener "Hello There." Had this been an official live album instead of a bootleg, you would not have heard two versions of those songs; casual listeners would see no point in hearing them twice. But then, bootleggers generally cater to hardcore fans instead of casual listeners, and the hardcore Cheap Trick fans who bought California Man 78 didn't mind the songs being duplicated. All things considered, California Man 78 is a bootleg that collectors were glad to acquire in the late '70s.