Cheap Trick - Veterans Memorial Coliseum - 10/16/13
It was business as usual at the Arizona State Fair when Cheap Trick took over the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Last night, the band that recently crossed over the 40-year mark of life in the rock 'n' roll business played nearly 20 songs with all of the expected energy and sass that has kept them alive in fans' hearts since their first full-length release in the later part of the '70s.
Their iconic power pop has not only stood the test of time with all those longtime admirers, but the band continues to pick up new fans on their continuous journey and their timeless classics will forever be inspiring to young musicians.
I could see Cheap Trick 1,000 times in any venue -- last time it was in a weird conference-y room at Talking Stick Casino -- and hearing the audience anticipation and chatter be broken as they bust into "Hello There" would never stop being exciting. That rang true last night for me, my posse, and the few thousand folks who came out to the show, judging by the cheers and screams that abounded as they kicked it off with that one and went right into "ELO Kiddies," followed by "California Man," more '70s favorites. The set comprised mostly '70s and '80s tunes.
The band played through some crowd pleasers like "Tonight It's You," and "If You Want My Love," before a lengthy drum solo joined up with an extended guitar intro to "Ain't That a Shame." Another nice treat was when bassist Tom Petersson pulled out his 12-string bass (which he's credited with inventing) to play and sing "I Know What I Want," putting a nice piece of hearty, low fuzz onto the evening's affair.
Let's face it, three-fourths of the band -- original members Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, and Tom Petersson -- could play these songs in their sleep, but they don't ever make you feel like that's happening. They keep it fun and lively, probably as much for themselves as for the audience, either way, win-win. Nielsen's continuous guitar changes alone are as exciting as his hooky and driving finger work.
Rumored to own more than 2,000 guitars, some highlights last night were one that was built out to look like him and of course his ubiquitous five-necked monster. Robin Zander's voice still has the power -- he sounded great, so great that we could only get so bummed having to hear "The Flame."