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tommy p

Cheap Trick concert review (long)

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The last time I saw Cheap Trick they were co-headlining with Peter Frampton and they were absolutely terrible.  They are one of my favorite bands and I had already seen them 6 or 7 times and I thought then that I might not ever see them again because I didn't want to see them hacking their way through that music that I loved so much.  Because two of my bandmates from my CT tribute band were going to the Warner Theater in Washington DC last night to see them, I decided to join them although with some apprehension.  Man, am I glad I did!

The band was on fire musically and vocally and the set list was very unusual.  They opened with Hello There (of course) and Rick played the A chord down at the second fret rather than using the open A string and hammering into the A octave on the D string as he's always done before.  He did the live G-D turnaround a lot whereas in the past he might only do it once in the whole song.  He played several different Les Pauls throughout the night including my favorite with the Explorer headstock.  He played Uncle Dick on She's Tight, the flame Standard for Gonna Raise Hell, Enola Gay on Surrender, the Sgt. Pepper on Day Tripper, the 5-neck on Goodnight Now, a black SG, some weird Epiphone, a Tele, a Korina Explorer, the drum wrap Standard, and maybe one or two others I'll add if I remember.

Robin's vocals were killer all night and this was not an easy set list to sing.  I was not really happy with them having his son play with them, but last night changed my mind.  Robin can still do what he needs to do but his son will double the melody sometimes and at other times provides excellent harmonies.  Daxx was also singing a lot more than the last couple of times I've seen them and he and Robin Taylor Zander really add a lot like on the "oooohs" on So Good to See You.  Rick sang a lot less.  Robin Taylor Zander also played guitar all night which filled out the songs.

Daxx played VERY well, and that's coming from a huge Bun E. fan.  He did several mini-solos at the end or beginning of songs, a fairly long one in the middle of Gonna Raise Hell, and one longer solo at another point.  He's able to switch between left and right-hand playing like Bun E. did and looks like he's having an absolute blast up there.

They've been playing almost completely different set lists every show for the last month or so and the set list last night contained plenty of welcome surprises.  It was written by Lou Brutus whose name I had heard before but I didn't exactly know who he was.  Evidently he's a photographer and DJ who is friends with the band.  Speaking of DJ's, El Duave and I had communicated about trying to have a little meetup with other fans there but couldn't seem to connect until the show was over.  We spoke for a few minutes briefly, but it was good to see an HFC member there, and he was sporting a Hamer jacket!  Oh, and we found out he had been sitting 2 rows ahead of me the whole night.  D'oh!

The highlights of the set for me were Taxman, So Good to See You, Stop This Game, Ghost Town and NOT hearing The Flame.  I thought Radio Lover was an odd choice to begin the "real" set with but it was cool to hear something different.  When they did I Know What I Want, I was very happy because I thought that meant I would not have to sit through Waiting for the Man.  No such luck.  After I Know What I Want, Tom did his bass solo and they did Waiting... too.  Most of the audience sat down and checked their phones until it was over.  When Robin came back on stage with an acoustic I thought for sure it was Flame time, so to hear Ghost Town instead was a most welcome surprise.  I still didn't feel completely relieved until he handed that acoustic back off at the end of the song since I had already been fooled by Tom just before that.  I was hoping to hear Oh Candy, Downed, Auf Wiedersehen, Stiff Competition, I'll Be With You Tonight, or anything off the Red Ant album but you can't have everything!

Bottom line, it was a great show with a very cool set list.  I will definitely see them anytime they come around and I'm happy to say they are back on the top of their game!

Hello There
Radio Lover
That 70s Song
He's a Whore
Taxman
So Good to See You
She's Tight
Shame
Day Tripper
Baby Loves to Rock
Stop This Game
I Know What I Want
Bass solo
Waiting for the Man
Ghost Town
IWYTWM
Dream Police
Never Had a Lot to Lose
Surrender
Gonna Raise Hell
Goodnight Now

Edited by tommy p
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That set list is a departure for sure.  Very cool and a good review. When I saw them open for Frampton they were great. I have never seen them give a bad show. I mean, everyone has off-nights but I’ve been lucky in that regard when I’ve seen this band.

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A lot of different stuff from when I saw them last week.  We got "Need Your Love", "California Man" and "Voices", but not "Gonna Raise Hell", "I Know What I Want" or "Stop This Game".

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Cool review! 

That setlist is a good one, too. 

There may have been a show I attended where Robin was not singing everything perfect, but most of the time he has been on pitch.  Having his son play the last couple of times I have seen them is starting to look normal to me. 

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They swapped in “Radio Lover” for  “Hot Love”...that was a mistake in my perfect setlist, but I didn’t make it!  

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Man, I follow them from my youth days and never got to see them. I'd be surprised they would ever return to Europe once again. Great setlist.

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I saw them once in 2001 here in Germany playing in a rather small venue (old movie theatre). There was a even smaller crowd of not more than 50 people in front of the stage  But Cheap Trick did a show as if they would have played in a stadium in front of 50.000 fans!!! Unforgettable! And Rick Nielsen had all his cool Hamer guitars with him.

Since then I love them! Still have one of the picks which Rick was throwing out in the "crowd".

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Cheap Trick is probably the band I have seen most often.  I've seen them in huge stadiums in San Diego in 1978, and small nightclubs in Gainesville in 1983 or so. And everything in between. Last time I saw them was in St. Pete in 2008 or so.  I have probably seen them 14 times over the years. Still one of my favorite bands. Live or in studio.

 

 

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Outside of the Beatles, CT is my favorite all-time band and I've seen them at least 20 times (I lost count years ago) starting in 1980 and have had the good fortune to hang out with them after a show here in downtown Denver back in the late 1990's.  Hung out at the bar talking with Bun E. and Robin for a few hours and couldn't have been better guys.  Bun E. talked about fishing and Robin talked about being a Packers fan and we didn't even talk music!  Saw them last when they opened for Poison 2 years ago and at Red Rocks back in 2015 or 2016 when they were touring with Peter Frampton.  Frampton ended up being sick so we got lucky and CT performed solo for well over 2 hours, one of the best shows I've ever seen them put on!  It was also filmed for the AXS channel and I have that saved on my DVR too.  While I do miss Bun E. Dax does an incredible job on the skins and it's great to see Tom busting out his old Hamer 12's again...  I had spoken to him about them back in the late 90's and he wasn't happy with them then for some reason (he was playing those Chandler 12-string basses at the time), and I must say those new Gretsch 12ers he's playing now are super cool!  One of my old friends Scott "Scooter" Stevenson was the guy that helped design the Uncle Dick guitar as well as his Hamer Synth Sax guitar back in the 1980s too.  Glad to hear they are still at the top of their game and hopefully they'll make it out west here sometime in 2020!

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