Yo, I’m back and so are you. I’m in the midst of my end of the year music run. Show number one digs way back into the classic rock archives. In the words of the cheesy cult movie The Warriors, can you dig it?
BRP readers know that I love the Queen in Wilmington. It’s a great venue: good sight lines, great acoustics, and a cool half-restored look that features a beautiful large dome on the very high ceiling. Plus, it’s super easy to find cheap and close parking (always a plus from my cheap-ass point of view), and the bar is in the back and out of the way. If there is a band coming to the Queen that I want to see, I’m there.
Along comes a notice that Cheap Trick is playing the Queen. Whoa, wait a minute, this is a small venue, holding maybe 400 people. Why is a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame band playing the Queen? Hell if I know, but I scooped up a few tickets and was gone.
Cheap Trick has been around forever. Blasting out of Illinois, they came onto the scene in the 1970s, and hit their stride with the Live at Budokan album. You know the famous tracks: “I Want You To Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Dream Police,” “Ain’t That A Shame,” “California Man,” – and they played them all. There are 3 of 4 original members still touring (Rick Nielson, Robin Zander and Tom Petterson), and the band has played more than 5,000 live gigs. They gotta be great, right?
The band has some well-tread stage stuff going on, from their outfits to their instruments. Nielson, who has always struck an onstage pose as a bit of a weirdo, has over 400 guitars and he brought out some doozies: check out this 5 necked thing that must weigh a ton. And yes, I have the pictures to prove that he used at least 3 of those 5 necks.
But silliness aside, the band was just average. Sure, I enjoyed some of their tunes quite a bit, but they also played “Heaven Tonight,“ a snoozer and loser from way back that sucked the energy out of the crowd. And while the crowd got into it at the end, there was a delayed recovery from “Heaven Tonight” that lead to a lot of standing around and craft beer drinking rather than rockin’ and jammin’. Hey, CT, your crowd is a bunch of baby boomers – unless you are packing a defibrillater in your bag of tricks, you better play some loud and snotty rock to keep this beta blocking crowd going.
There was no opening act, and Cheap Trick, being old as the Earth themselves, came out right at 8. They played a whopping 1.5 hours, so we left at 9:30. I was on the highway and back home before the 10 o’clock news was done. Seriously? That allowed me to give The Man a full and unblemished day on Friday. That’s terrible!
Would I recommend seeing CT? Nope. If they are at a festival or opening for another act, sure, go check them out. But they demand a premium club price, and they are just average as a live act. I’m not faulting the effort, but there was no spark or charismatic blast that simply made you scream for more, more, more. And no defibrillater, either.
Still, I do love both “Surrender” and “Dream Police”. They are rave-ups and have clever lyrics (Mother told me, yes she told me / I’d meet girls like you / She also told me stay away / you’ll never know what you’ll catch). After all these years, those songs still work for me. Bitchin’ rock ‘n roll works here at BRP again and again. And again. So if you want to learn more about Cheap Trick, because they are worth knowing about, here’s the website link: http://www.cheaptrick.com/
Are we ready to move on to bigger and better things? Thankfully, yes, and I just so happen to have a pocketful of tickets for a bunch of other upcoming shows (and some boxing, too – hey, It’s Philly!). I’m also all over Spotify, wasting tons of time developing the perfect play list, like I’m the John Cusack character in High Fidelity. I’ll have plenty more to share in the upcoming days. But if I don’t see you before Thanksgiving, have a good holiday, rub the kids heads and pretend that you like them, and eat until you plop on the couch and “watch” football with your eyes closed and drool draining out of your mouth. And then get up and go see some live rock ‘n roll!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.