One of the first concerts I ever attended was a Cheap Trick show at London Gardens in June of 1979. To say that it changed my life would be flirting with hyperbolic posturing, and maybe just a little too cliched for my own good.
But you know something, it did change my life.
That early summer night concert was the show that would initiate me into a whole new world of live music. The energy level, the excess decibels, and all those electric guitars... Sure that old arena sounded awful that night but that didn't much matter. Rockford, Illinois' own were in the building and they had us all in the palm of their collective hand. Only well after the fact have I discovered my wife, brother in law and countless other musical partners in crime also attended the show. And yes, it had the same effect on them.
Flash forward 28 years later and Cheap Trick were in town to Rock the Park at the forks of the Thames in London. Sure, there were a few more wrinkles and the hats might be covering a little less hair but Cheap Trick remain an inspiration and damn fine entertainment. Called the "hardest working band in rock n' roll" (still performing up to 200 shows a year); Cheap Trick delivered a show to young and old and won Londoners in attendance over yet again. From Rick's guitar theatrics, to Bun's solid percussive foundation their performance was amazing. The best part of all, they are still having fun doing it. The smiles on their faces belied that. This was no by the numbers performance either. (See the setlist below) New songs like Welcome to the World and Come On, Come On, Come On from last years Rockford release melded well with standards Surrender and I Want You to Want Me.
One small difference at this show was the impromptu mosh pit that periodically formed throughout the set. A little annoying at times for an old fart trying to live out his former glories but Daddy's all right, he's just weird about these things. But I quibble, the show was plain rock n' roll fun. (Special thanks to my son Jack for getting 18 of Rick's Neilsen's guitar picks. They'll fit in my music room nicely.)
If Cheap Trick does play near you, I implore you to go see them now. They embody rock n' roll and truly deliver the goods. Twenty eight years from now I suspect the energy level might be a little less than what we got last night.
And one last note. This band belongs in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. We need to start petitioning now!
Welcome to the World
If You Want My Love
Come On, Come On, Come On
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
If It Takes A Lifetime
That 70's Song