Cheap Trick Concert Review, Austin, TX 7/29/12
Let’s face facts. I was never really a big Cheap Trick fan although at some point or another I owned their debut album and Dream Police. It’s not that I didn’t like them, to be honest, I think I’ve liked every song I have ever heard by them. But for whatever reason I just never got in to them. I believe part of that was due to my brother Robert’s lack of interest in them in 70s and I pretty much drew my musical tastes in those days from what he fed to me. However I do remember myaunts Diane and Debbie liking them but we only saw them once a year when we’d visit Pennsylvania.
I saw Cheap Trick one time before in 1999 at the Hampton Bay Days Festival but I was pretty far back in the crowd and couldn’t really grasp the energy. I also don’t remember the crowd being that excited either. When tickets went on sale for last night’s show at The Moody Theater / ACL Live, I had to get tickets for it. That venue is awesome and has been bringing in some great shows so far.
In the early 2000s, I was playing in a band called The Renegades of Sluts (this is not a typo) and we did She’s Tight and Hello/Goodnight in our set sometimes. Good fun. I’ve always loved She’s Tight and was hoping we’d get to hear it. Perusing recent setlists for Cheap Trick’s Global Warming Tour. Last night was an off night for them while on tour with Aerosmith and they played Dallas the night before.
When I can, I try to buy extra tickets to shows. Sometimes to resell for profit and sometimes just to go ahead and get them on presale when maybe a friend isn’t able to do it at the time. I bought 2 for this show and ended up asking my dear friend Molly to come with me a few weeks ago. Perfect!
We get to the show and the opener is on. I had no interest in seeing them after listening to a few tracks on Youtube earlier in the day. Not my bag at all. We hung around the lounge until they were finished. Signs were posted around the venue stating that Cheap Trick would be on at 9. We went and found our seats and were getting excited for the show. Molly wanted to hear Southern Girls but they ended up not playing it. I did get to hear She’s Tight, though.
The lights go down right at 9 am the band hits the stage opening with Clock Strikes Ten. Zander was wearing a band leader type uniform and hat for most of the show. Nielsen is dressed like he always dresses. I don’t know what Peterssen was dressed like, but it was out there. He had an Elton John thing going for sure. Unfortunately Bun E. Carlos no longer tours with the band, but Rick’s son, Daxx, has been handling the live duties for the last 2 years and did a fine job.
They played a good set and the highlights for me were certainly She’s Tight, Oh Candy, The Flame (always loved this song), I Know What I Want and Borderline. I was a bit surprised as to how many songs I recognized. The great thing about their music is that every song is right around 3 minutes long, old rock and roll style. The Beatles influence on them is overt and it’s a wonder I even like them due my my disdain for the Beatles.
Robin’s voice started a wee bit rough but got stronger and stronger as the night went on. In The Flame, he nailed the high note at the end. I was truly shocked. He still has a lot of power in his singing. While I’ve never looked at Rick as a stellar player, he’s certainly solid and entertaining. He jumps around a lot for a man who is 65. Tom Peterssen apparently invented the 12-string bass and he used a few different ones all night. Of course Rick used about a dozen different guitars and an 8-string bass for one song. The whole band was really good in general.
I did notice from our balcony set that there was a piece of paper taped to the floor in front of Zander’s mic that said “AUSTIN TEXAS”. Rick wasn’t sure where he had played last night as he stated, “Where did we play last night? Atlanta?” Funny. But I guess when you’re touring that much, things get blurry. What a wonderful problem to have, eh?
During Surrender, Rick grabbed the hand of a little kid with a mohawk and yanked him on stage. They handed him a ton of guitar picks and he was tossing them out to the crowd. He also helped to sing the song with Robin and knew all of the words. It was pretty neat thing to see.
After Surrender, they left the stage. After about 2 minutes they came back on and played 3 more songs: Dream Police, Gonna Raise Hell and Goodnight.
It was a great show and hopefully I’ll have another chance to see them again. I also wish I would have taken the opportunities to have seen them more in the 80s and 90s. Such is life.
One thing I thought was weird was that during the main part of the set, security made the people in the floor seats stay at their seats, no one was allowed at the stage at all. They were hardcore about it. If you don’t want people rushing the stage at a rock show, put up a barricade. Easy. I’ve seen them used at this venue before (Megadeth anyone?). After the encore started, everyone rushed the stage and security didn’t try to gain control again. I also noticed that the venue was barely 3/4 full, which I found a bit surprising seeing that the place only holds a few thousand folks. I guess they’re just not that popular here.
Go see them if you get a chance, you won’t be disappointed.