Cheap Trick‘s brief stop-off in the UK – on the back of outstanding new album We’re All Alright! – was one of 2017’s must-see rock and roll events. HRH Mag‘s Viki Ridley witnessed the return of Zander and Nielsen.
Cheap Trick are one of those bands: a band that attracts the die-hards, the fans of all ages and generations, and a band that’s justifiably become the favourite of so many successful musicians and songwriters. They are the kings of melody and have the ability to write both heartbreaking and emotional lyrics, such as The Flame, alongside tongue-in-cheek finger clickers like She’s Tight or Woke Up With A Monster.
Often Cheap Trick are referred to as a punk rock band but they are, unlike their famous checkerboard logo, never that black and white.
Emerging from their definitive backdrop, crazy guitar man Rick Nielsen strutted across the stage like a teenage kid (such is his enthusiasm and energy), while the serene Tom Peterson proved a calming presence stage right.
Drummer Daxx Nielsen replaced original member Bun E. Carlos back in 2010 and is a powerhouse of a performer in his own right. But it was Mr Robin Zander, resplendent in his white Dream Police uniform, who took centre stage and stole the limelight as he sparkled throughout a stellar show.
Cheap Trick are renowned, by those who are familiar with their live shows, for their change of setlist. Keeping each night fresh and rolling out rarities and album tracks, they are never predictable. It’s impossible to say what will come next but one thing’s for certain: the content will be delivered flawlessly.
On the second of three UK dates, Manchester Academy was treated to a setlist that contained no less than 13 changes from the previous night and the baying fans lapped it all up like starving kittens.
Of course they played the hits, as they must. But opening the show with tracks from the album All Shook Up, in the guise of Just Got Back, He’s A Whore from their self-titled debut and the stunning Need Your Love, from the Budokan era, it was clear from the start that this would be an essential two-hour history lesson in all things Cheap Trick.
There were few tracks played from the brand new and critically acclaimed We’re All Alright – Long Time Coming and You Got It Going On gave fans a taste – but Cheap Trick don’t really need to sell albums.
They sell themselves. Effortlessly.
And so they concentrated on the good and the familiar. The ‘hits’ were relentless: Surrender, Voices, If You Want My Love, Dream Police, Gonna Raise Hell, and the infamous I Want You To Want Me, dominated the last half of the show and led a wrapt crowd towards Goodnight Ladies And Gentlemen.
Cheap Trick remain contemporary, classy and unpredictable. They are a heady blend of melody, craziness, comedy, cheek and sex. They are simply ‘The best fuckin’ rock n roll band you will ever see’.
*Exclusive Image By Gordon Armstrong