CHEAP TRICK – Revisited
(Opening for ZZ Top on their 50th Anniversary Tour)
Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre
Tinley Park IL
A sweet double bill: Cheap Trick opening for ZZ Top – although this post is devoted entirely to Cheap Trick- a post with ZZ Top commemorating their 50th Anniversary will follow soon after.
Have to say that what I immediately remember from this show was that the venue was full in the shed at the Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre for Cheap Trick’s set.
When you hail from Illinois – and you play in Illinois – you make yourselves known and attend pronto.
As it quickly becomes apparent, this set from Cheap Trick will not disappoint. with over 14 songs total to contend with- all the glorious hits of yore- and then some.
This is a band that holds no bounds, that deserves the accolades and steroid pumping applause.
Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson bound out to the stage and blast into a tight opening set of rock n’ roll stomps: “Hello There” into “Come On Come On” into “You Got It Going On”- with the fans in attendance up in arms like it’s rock n’ roll Budokan all over again- circa 1979.
I mean look at Rick’s microphone stand in my pictures to start. The whole stand is covered from top to bottom with Rick’s plectrums- fistfulls of them, which he generously throws into the crowd from song one to song fourteen.
Both Rick and Robin command the stage with more high octane pizzaz as these anthemic songs require, and it’s a blessing that they’re continually going on strong for these two 60- something dudes (along with Tom), still wearing flashy and costumey like clothes.
Always in discussions with A list voices that have (and still) survive the test of time- you have to include Robin Zander on that list. It’s a shame and a mistake that he is overlooked, simply because his range is still so clear and mighty, a singer who can sing his heart out in a power ballad and make it look so easy, and yet he can be heartfelt, like when singing a Velvet Underground cover such as “I’m Waiting for the Man”.
He ranks among the best for a reason, and even Kurt Cobain considered Robin to be one of his favorite singers of all time- and that’s no joke.
The spine tingling song selection is ever evident- with “I Want You to Want Me”, and “Dream Police”, and of course “Surrender”, with none other than Scott Lucas of Local H coming out to jam with the boys, assist with Rick on guitar and with gusto, and also participating in flinging the vinyl out to the crazy crowd from the refrain of “Got my Kiss records out”- all in jovial and relive my teenage years fun.
Everyone’s up out of their seats by now, swinging in the aisles and dancing in place, for the closer “Goodnight Now”, the song where Rick whips out his Hamer Custom Five- Necked guitar for a whirl, all the while his son Daxx Nielsen on drums is grinning from ear to ear watching his dad play his five- neck with his teeth while roaming the stage.
The whole set goes by in a flash, which still amazes me, simply because the way Cheap Trick still are, in essence 23 year olds trapped in over 60 year old bodies- the songs require a caffeinated power punch, no different than a metal band- that their can be no let up- none whatsoever.
Robin, Rick and Tom wouldn’t have it any other way.
God bless the boys from Texas allowing them to open on their 50th anniversary tour.
Just goes to show how much Cheap Trick are still loved, and doing your best to make this show and tour celebratory.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer