Creed – With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective (review)

Creed – With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective (Bicycle/Concord Music Group) review

Rarely does a band allow its history to be collected so completely.

Creed was one of the biggest rock bands of the late Nineties / early 2000’s, selling in excess of 40 million records worldwide. Their blend of grunge angst and Christian-themed sincerity, coupled with a knack for writing anthemic choruses, made them one of the last rock bands to sell millions of albums. With Arms Wide Open is a three-disc anthology, collecting all the band’s hits, alongside soundtrack one-offs, demos, and acoustic versions.

The remarkable thing about this set is just how exhaustive it is. Disc one collects all the band’s hits. Lest you think this is a just a rehashing of their previous Greatest Hits, this time around they’ve tracked down the harder-to-find radio versions wherever possible. It’s incredible to think that Creed set the record for most consecutive #1’s (7) on Billboard’s Rock charts.

But, the set doesn’t stop there. The band’s music was included on many movie soundtracks, and disc two culls together songs from Dead Man on Campus, The Faculty, and Scream 3, as well as Creed’s cover of “Riders on the Storm” for the Doors’ tribute album Stoned Immaculate. The band is also joined by Doors’ guitarist Robby Kreiger on “Roadhouse Blues,” taken from Woodstock ’99.

Disc three shows off the band’s acoustic side by grabbing many of their hits done unplugged. Several of these tracks were added as bonus cuts to radio singles, but have long gone out of print, so these are great to finally have all in one place.

Eschewing the typical band bio/essay, the accompanying booklet instead lists a chronology of Creed’s accomplishments, including winning a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2001 for “With Arms Wide Open.”

With the inclusion of rare radio versions, acoustic performances, and soundtrack singles, With Arms Wide Open is the ultimate Creed collection. —Tony Peters