Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Redeye Distribution 'Spring Sampler 2003'

I have been a fan of Cheap Trick since the late 70’s. For some reason, I think the first time that I ever heard them was on a college radio station… I’m not sure. It could have been on the old AOR version of 1075KZL. The first song I ever heard was “Southern Girls” and I fell in love with them.

As a young music fan, I would save up my money and purchase Cheap Trick albums when I could. Lawns would have to be mowed or I simply pocketed the school lunch money my parents gave me and went hungry.

I was heart broken when Tom Petersson left the group and was replaced with Jon Brandt. Sure, Jon still kept up with the tradition of using a 12-string bass guitar… But in my mind, they lacked a little something without Tom.

Although the 80’s were kind to Cheap Trick, the material they put out just didn’t have the same fire. And when they put out ‘Lap Of Luxury’ with the song “The Flame” (not penned by them), I nearly revolted. The ‘Busted’ album was even worse.

I have seen Cheap Trick in large stadiums. I have seen them play coliseums. But I have never seen them headline a gig unless it was at a club or a street festival.

Before Saturday night, I last saw Cheap Trick about 7 years ago at the same Speed Street Festival in downtown Charlotte. They were AWESOME!

This past Saturday evening… They still sounded tight, but I think Robin Zander’s voice has just about ran its marathon. He could still hit the high notes when called for… But if he had to carry the high notes all through a lyric… That was a different story.

I enjoyed myself as they tore through songs like “If You Want My Love”, “Surrender”, and “I Want You To Want Me”. After the last mentioned song, a lot of those in attendance disappeared into the crowded Charlotte streets. They heard what they came for and that allowed Kristina and me to inch our way forward.

We could only get about 50 feet from the stage and let me tell ya… Once we got that close, the LOUD was in full effect. Those boys can put out some noise.

Kristina is only a sweet pea taller than 5 feet, so her view was very limited. She opted to watch the band on the large screen to the right of the stage.

For the most part, I was pleased with their somewhat abbreviated performance. Kristina didn’t come out loving them like I thought she would have… Instead, she gave me hell about them being washed-up has-beens playing street fests on a side stage. I felt like punching her, but I didn’t feel like getting my ass kicked by a 5-ft woman on the crowded streets of Charlotte (I’m kidding folks… I would never hit a woman).

I argued that Cheap Trick’s latest, “Rockford”, is a great album with great reviews like this one. Cheap Trick’s studio efforts are as important today as anything they have ever put out.

Even Sherrill “Mad Dog” Ward at 90.9 WQFS called me up days after ‘Rockford’s release and proclaimed it the best album of 2006. To get Mad Dog to say something like that… Is like pulling raw meat from a hungry gator.

Cheap Trick are still putting out some great music and they’re performances are quite satisfying. I just got the feeling that this past Saturday night will be the last time I ever see them live again. After all… The band’s members are on the “sunny side” of 60 and it has been 7 years between Trick shows that I could attend.

I was elated and saddened at the same time.


  1. Anonymous12:23 PM

    i looked for you , but did not find you there. I was the obviously tall guy directly in front of Mr. Zander.

    i enjoyed the show, and had the same feeling of closure, weird, huh...

    sad, indeed.
    unlike you , they have been my favorite band for almost thirty years.... Kiss was 2nd for me.

    hope you are well-
    clay howard

  2. Anonymous12:28 PM

    oh yeah- about the "has beens" comment.

    give me any modern band that will last 30 years, playing anywhere..

    not gonna happen.

    hell- give me any classic band that has lasted thirty years outside the Stones, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick....
    and we all know that Aerosmith really died in a fiery crash sometime immediately after the release of Night in the Ruts and has been replaced by imposters...

    I'd be thrilled to be playing to a crowd that size when I am 58.( Rick Nielsens current age)

  3. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Only time will tell. I agree that there is a lot of shitty music out there now, in fact I am more of a fan of the classic stuff than of newer music, but I stand by my comment. I felt the same way when I saw the Stones, except that was to a nearly sold out crowd at Panther Stadium. I am just saying that there is a point in time when an old man should retire those leather pants. Literally and figuratively.
    E, please pass this on to your commmenter. Thanks! Kristina

  4. Anonymous4:45 PM

    point taken, I respectfully disagree.

    At what point would that be? 30? 40? 50?
    or at the point when there is a lack of relevance?

    cause, after all- it is only rock and roll, and it has not been relevant in years.

    stones- 3/5 original members.
    cheap trick- 4/4 original members

    Your statement did not make me mad- I just take a different stance...perhaps because I am nearing 40 and still playing clubs- never had any leather pants, though.


  5. Clay,

    I did in fact look for you. I also looked for Danny Fonorow without any luck. The crowd was simply too immense to see even you towering over everyone.

    You and Stina play nice, okay?

  6. Anonymous7:11 PM

    of course-
    anyone who is a friend of yours is good with me.

    hope you are well.

  7. Anonymous2:27 PM

    I have no idea how someone could see Cheap Trick live and in person and not be in awe at the continued connection between the guys and the fact that they just seem to enjoy it to this day. Oh well... to each there own.

  8. You're absolutely right, Anon!