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Cheap Trick 

With Cobra Verde. Friday, November 19, at House of Blues.

Cheap Trick has become this zombie that staggers around the pop-music landscape, just outpacing the "Are they still alive?" queries. At best, it's nice to know they're out there if you need to kill a little time -- kind of like the rock-music equivalent of Jeopardy!

Yeah, yeah, we all love Cheap Trick. They, just as much as the Ramones, saved rock and roll from the bloated '70s stadium stupor. But even their diehards have grown tired of the 70 percent lame new CDs that appear every five years or so, as well as of the countless lazy greatest-hits repackagings. Actually, you can count them -- five live and studio "best-ofs" and a boxed set in the last 13 years! Heck, even their usually pun-funny tour names have simmered down to Aerotricks, for their recent pairing with another pop-rock act that should call it a career. Although admittedly, Cheap Trick still summons up a spirited live show. And who doesn't love to sing along to "Surrender?"

Ostensibly touring on 2003's Special One (Big 3) and a new live DVD, the band is really just hoping there are some fresh brains to eat, as recently the group's name has been dropped by numerous twentysomething emo bands, who nevertheless have little of the humor or grand melodic reach of the original Cheap Trick.

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