Cheap Trick

Not Rated

The full-strength return of the original Fleetwood Mac — the late-'6os British blues gods who made roughneck-pub mayhem out of the Elmore James and Jimmy Reed song-books — would have been a comeback worth celebrating. The Dance is just the Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks lineup serving microwaved Rumours. For a live album, The Dance runs on low heat, as if the Mac were content to merely revisit the hits rather than truly reinhabit them — and risk going deeper into the emotional dysfunction that inspired the songs. And there are no fresh kicks in the four new originals, certainly none that beat Buckingham's extremely caffeinated rereading of 1987's "Big Love." More than 25 million of you already own copies of Rumours, Tusk and Tango in the Night. Think hard: Do you need this?

 

You may figure you don't need Cheap Trick, either, especially if you're still steamed about those power-ballad records the band made in the '80s. But give this one time and volume; you'll come to love it. The title and black-and-white cover evoke the napalm-in-stereo glories of the original Cheap Trick album, the group's 1976 debut. Yet the dark heart and barbed-guitar snag of this Cheap Trick sneak up on you: the white-knuckle creep of "You Let a Lotta People Down," Robin Zander's shredded-Lennon bellow in "Yeah Yeah." More toxic-guitar ravers like "Baby No More" would have been cool, but that's a minor beef. After all this time, these guys have still got it. You should get it.