50 years of: Cheap Trick Cheap Trick Cheap Trick

Reviewer: Mark DeWolf-Ott

Venue: The Temple Theatre

The energy was so high at the Temple Theatre, Thursday, that they started the show a few minutes early. The were no special guests. The band came out and opened with Ready to Ride. Everyone on the main floor of the theater stood up and they didn’t sit down until the last song.

Cheap Trick was founded in 1974 in Rockford, Illinois. Current members are Robin Zander on guitar and vocals, Tom Peterson on bass, Rick Neilson on lead guitar, Robin Taylor Zander on guitar and Daxx Nielson on drums. They found success in Japan after opening first for Queen and then for KISS. They broke on the world stage with their second album in 1978 with “Heaven Tonight”. It featured the single Surrender. The band has repeatedly released new music into the 21st century, as recently in 2021, with “Another World”. They have been compared to the Beatles. One of the songs in the set was Ain’t That a Shame, a homage to John Lennon.

The stage was filled with checkered print; on the backdrop, covering the floors, the amps, and some of the lighting. It comes from the 70’s when Rick Neilson wore a lot of checkered prints and had a guitar strap of the same pattern. It became a trademark. Neilson used a different guitar for every song in the play list. The last one was a cut out of himself, having two guitar necks made by its two legs. Towards the end of the show, he was throwing handfuls of guitar picks into the audience. Zander’s voice was covered up by the guitars on the first few songs, but it was corrected quickly. His voice seems as strong and clear as it was when the group began, which is pretty good considering the original members are in their 70’s. He did a great job on the hit ballad The Flame. I Want You to Want Me ended the show.

After a standing ovation, the band came out and performed Surrender and She’s Alright. The last thing Zander said was “we’re Cheap Trick, thank you very much.” Like anyone in the audience needed to be reminded who they were.

It was a pretty good night for rock and roll.

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