CHEAP TRICK IN CALIFORNIA -
There are things in life that are reassuringly predictable - that night follows day; that taxes won't go down and that the Chicago Cubs won't reach the World Series. And the annual Cheap Trick tour of California is another event that can be counted upon! In fact, the band had already played a few isolated shows in that State this year already, but this was the main run of dates. So, just like this time last year, I was all booked up and ready to go, and hoping that this time there would be no unforeseen and unavoidable show cancellations.
Wednesday 1st October
As I'd done back in the summer, I spent the night at Leeds/Bradford Airport. KLM's schedule change for North American flights meant that I need to catch the first flight out from Leeds in order to make the connection in Amsterdam. With that flight being at 6.10am, check in from 4.30am and no public transport that early in the morning (and I dreaded the thought of how much 14 days airport parking would be!), I got the last bus to the airport last night, and just killed time by reading, listening to music or dozing. But I'd have plenty of time for rest during my long travel day ahead.
The 6.10am flight was uneventful, I killed three hours at Amsterdam Airport, and finally boarded my flight to San Francisco. With a 10+ hour flight, it was worth using Frequent Flier points to upgrade, and that helped make the long flight to California more relaxing. I ate and drank well, watched "Pirates of the Caribbean", dozed and generally relaxed until we landed at San Francisco Airport a few minutes before 2pm in the afternoon. Immigration and Customs were no major problem, and it was nice to meet up with good Trick-friend Victoria with whom I'd be travelling with for the next 7 days. We set off in her "Trickmobile" an hour after I'd landed, the rear window had the chalked message "Road Trip -Cheap Trick - CA Tour!" It was fun to get a few hoots and thumbs up from other vehicles as we headed south on 101 then I-5. The next show was all the way down in San Diego, though Victoria had been to last night's show at Modesto (a couple of hours east of San Francisco), and she had kindly offered to meet me at SFO on her way south.
We had a long drive for the rest of the afternoon and evening, stopping only at an "In'n'Out" burger place for food en route. I'm afraid I started dozing off before we reached the outskirts of Los Angeles, my long travelling day caught up with me), and it was good to reach Oceanside (about an hour north of San Diego) at 10.20pm, check in, and for me to literally fall into my bed.
Thursday 2nd October - Cheap Trick at San Diego
The day started out overcast though warm, and we'd planned to spend a little time in downtown San Diego before getting to Humphrey's, the venue for tonight's show. We walked around the small, specialist shops of Seaport Village before parking near the new Petco Park baseball stadium (being built in the Gaslamp District) and walking the few blocks to downtown. Popped into the Hard Rock Café and took a picture of the Tom Petersson record award on the wall there, and then a wander around the Horton shopping plaza.
We got to Humphrey's around 2pm, checked into the hotel room we were sharing, and then back out to see the venue and who was around. As in previous years, the setting was an outdoor stage and seating area flanked on one side by the marina and on the other two sides by low hotel room blocks, colourful flowers and shrubs. Found out that the opening band tonight was "Trash Daddy" from LA, featuring West Coast Ludwig rep (and long time CT friend) Todd Trent on drums, and cool to find out that today was his 40th birthday! The concert area was cleared and Cheap Trick soundchecked at 4.40pm, playing "Southern Girls" then an acoustic "Lookout". It was later good to see many friends before the show, including Elliot from Scotland, Lars & Rosie from Sweden, Felicity, Tony, Allie from New Jersey, Dia, Clare, Daria, Laura from Colorado, Carol, Dia, Phil and others (and if in the course of this review I miss off some names inadvertently, I apologise in advance!).
Trash Daddy took to the stage at 7.30pm, to play a 30 minute set, and unbeknown to them a couple of gags had been planned by CT and crew to help Todd celebrate his 40th memorably! About three songs from the end of their set, Trash Daddy were just starting another song when a figure started walking across the stage from stage right (Rick's side). The person was clad in a bathrobe and sweeping the stage with a broom! As he passed Todd, the mystery janitor (Bun E) wished him a Happy Birthday! Todd was probably thinking that that was the end of it, but a song later, Rick came on to lead the crowd in a few lines of "Happy Birthday" for Todd. With his attention focussed on the crowd in front, Todd failed to notice the CT crew guys who sprang at him from either side and sprayed him with several can loads of silly string! Despite all this, Todd and Trash Daddy finished up their well received set, and it was cool to have seen the CT camp help give one of their close friends a birthday surprise to remember!
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 8.37pm.
RN - Black suit, black Uncle Dick t-shirt
RZ - Brown suede shirt, black pants, black cowboy hat
TP - Black suit, green shirt
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
(acoustic) Fan Club, I Can't Take It, It All Comes Back To You, Lookout// (electric) Just Got Back, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, Pop Drone, Too Much, I Want You To Want Me, Best Friend, I Know What I Want, Words, Never Had A Lot To Lose, The Flame, 70's Song, Surrender // (encore) Scent Of A Woman, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
It was nice to see that, following the successful debut of the acoustic/electric format shows earlier in the summer, the band were playing a similar (if slightly cut down) format at some of these autumn shows. The crowd looked to be a sellout, and were certainly more enthusiastic than at the last show here in July 2002. I was lucky enough to stand side stage on Rick's side for the show, and it was fun to dash on and remove Rick's stool and guitar stand during the quick changeover after the last acoustic song!
There seemed to be some sound problems during the electric part of the set, starting with "Big Eyes", during which I and others in the stage area couldn't hear the vocals. Speaking to various fans afterwards, it seemed that the crowd could hear Robin's vocals fine, it was just the mix to the stage that had his vox low. Anyway, after "Big Eyes" Rick asked Bill on the soundboard to "turn the vocals up for Gods sake, its Robin Zander!" After "Pop Drone" Rick had a couple of minutes to have his usual chat with the crowd, and tonight included a current theme that popped up at the subsequent shows too - the imminent election for California Governor, with Arnold Schwarzeneggar amongst the candidates. "I just got some new picks today" Rick announced, "they're Schwarzeneggar picks, they'll grope!" He also pointed out a couple of CT licence plates, something I've seen at every San Diego show I've been to! Cool plates, one was "I <heart>CPNZ" and the second was the resident "CHPTRK1" plate. Introducing the perennial crowd pleaser, Robin declared "I want you to HEAR me!". After "IWYTWM", Rick introduced the band members, and Tom started softly playing the intro to "Oh Claire", which Bun E and Rick joined in with, and the three of them played a "lite" version for a couple of verses. I couldn't hear Robin's guitar during "The Flame", though hopefully the crowd did. For me, it certainly made the song sound different. The set ended at 10.07pm with a big double ending to "Goodnight Now", and the band deservedly got a great reception from the crowd for a really nice show.
After show was spent with various friends. We were going to have a drink in the bar next door, but decided against that after hearing of the loud and awful band playing in there! So we stood near the entrance to the venue and chatted in the cool, late night air.
Friday 3rd October
A show-free day, so we had a leisurely breakfast with Elliot and Laura before checking out. Victoria and I had thought of crossing the border to Tijuana, but instead opted for a more leisurely morning and spent some time at Point Loma, with its spectacular view over San Diego Bay. Despite the overcast morning, the view of the San Diego skyline, the air base on Coronado and the Silver strand down towards the Mexican border was stunning. We then headed up to La Jolla, and by now the sun had come out. The oceanfront was pretty in the sunshine, with lots of seabirds to be seen as well as the basking seals on the beach at La Jolla Cove. We then spent a long 4 hours driving north in slow and stop/start traffic on both I-5 and 405 until we reached our hotel at Woodland Hills north of LA. Nice to later have a great Mexican dinner with CT friends, Tony, Robyn and Brandon, also Flis and West Coast Dawn :-)
Saturday 4th October - Cheap Trick at Arrowfest, Irvine CA
After getting some morning Krispy Kreme donuts (mmmm, still warm!), we headed to Robyn and Tony's, as Tony had kindly offered to let us ride with him down to the Irvine festival show (rather than take two vehicles). We reached Irvine early lunchtime, and met a crowd of CT friends in the Yardhouse Bar at the Spectrum shopping plaza. A large, interesting bar and microbrewery, one whole wall was just plate glass allowing a view of lots of vats and other brewery equipment. And the bar had a huge range of beers from around the world, enough to satisfy most beer drinkers I think. One of their specialities was the "yard of ale" in a 3 ft long glass with a large bulb at the end. Only Randy was man enough to go for this option, a couple of others went for the wimpy "half-yard"! The sight of Randy manoeuvring this somewhat suggestive looking beer vessel led to numerous jokes about length and his "big knob". Well, I "think" the jokes were relating to the glass anyway! ;-)
In the 80 degree sunshine, we parked at the Verizon Amphitheatre parking lot around 2pm, and walked the long walk up to the actual venue. The place was already crowded, and we heard (and later confirmed by seeing a small notice at the Tower Records booth) that some of the bands would be doing short autograph sessions, with Cheap Trick scheduled at 4pm. The stipulation was that you had to buy something from the Tower booth to be able to get something signed, which led to many regular CT fans buying another copy of Special One or Dream Police or whatever else was available. The band arrived somewhat later than 4pm, I missed their arrival as I had hurried to the edge of the amphitheatre just to catch a couple of minutes of Eddie Money! By then he was on his "hit" - "2 Tickets to Paradise". I returned back to the signing, which was taking place on a small stage next to the Tower Records booth, and Tom, Rick and Robin did a quick 15 minute signing session as they were due on stage at 5pm. After they departed, us fans went into the amphitheatre to find our seats. Elliot, Victoria, Laura and I were high in the seating section furthest from the stage, a little to left of stage centre. Behind us the large lawn area was very crowded with people still enjoying the late afternoon sun (as well as a lot of beer!) Despite the distance, we had a fine view, and there was a Jumbotron right behind the drummers position on stage, also another on top of the large stage marquee. The stage was huge, and flanked on either side by large banks of speakers.
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 5.06pm to a warm welcome from the large but not full crowd.
RN - Black suit, black t-shirt
RZ - White suit, white shirt, shades
TP - Black suit, green shirt
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
Hello There, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, Ain't That A Shame, I Want You To Want Me, Never Had A Lot To Lose, The Flame, 70's Song, Surrender // (encore) Scent Of A Woman, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
The band played a good, 50 minute "greatest hits" set, and were warmly received by the crowd. As with these type of shows, it was the big hits that really woke up the crowd. "If You Want My Love" was introduced by Rick (with tongue firmly in cheek) as being from "that great, great movie, Joe Dirt!" Robin is always such a star performer that it's noticable when he makes the smallest of mistakes, and he missed the first couple of lines of "Ain't that a Shame". The crowd went nuts for "I Want You to Want Me" as expected. The sound for CT's set was good but not great (in my opinion) and it was weird during "Lot to Lose" to hear Tom's backing vocals being much louder than Rick's, though I later heard that Rick was coming out with a bad cold so wasn't singing his backing vox as loudly as usual. I didn't hear Rick's backing vox at all during "Surrender", another crowd pleasing song. The band paused but didn't leave the stage before starting their encore with "Scent of a Woman". I have to admit that I missed much of "Dream Police" as my attention (and of many around me) was caught by security coming along to remove and eject a drunken lout from further along our row. All the time we'd been in our seats he'd been drinking, yelling and taunting people on the grass lawn behind us, and had even took to throwing items of rubbish at them. Got to love all day rock festivals!
The other bands on the bill were Foreigner ("featuring Lou Gramm" so the advertising said), then Yes, then the headliners, Journey (huh???). Victoria, I and Tony had decided to stay through Yes, though other CT fans left after CT's set, or during/after Foreigner.
The sun had set and clear early evening was getting chilly as Foreigner took to the stage a few minutes after 6.30pm. I have to admit that I was really disappointed with them, I'd expected better. Lou Gramm made his entrance a full minute after his band had started playing, and I was shocked to see how much weight he'd put on in comparison to the image I had of him from the video's in the early 90's. I later heard that he'd been seriously ill and his medication had really messed up his body, though I'm afraid his voice had deteriorated too. They played a couple of songs I knew, such as "Head Games" and "Waiting For a Girl Like You", though there were several hits that people in the crowd called for that they didn't play (such as "Cold As Ice, "Jukebox Hero" and "I Want to Know What Love Is"). I guessed they'd save one or two of those until the encore. During the set I could see Gramm gesturing angrily towards sidestage several times, and after playing their 50 minute set, they left the stage. The lights stayed down, and despite the somewhat poor performance, the crowd waited for an encore, wanting their money's worth. But after a minute, the venue lights went up and the stage hands started clearing the stage to set up for Yes. The whole crowd, by now probably approaching 15,000, booed loudly in protest at Foreigner not returning.
The increasing drop in temperature made the wait for Yes seem even longer, and I cursed having left my sweatshirt in the car (and the venue allowed NO re-admittance once you stepped outside the main entrance). By now Elliot and Laura had left, Tony was seated elsewhere, so Victoria and I shivered as the stagehands took around an hour to set up Yes' elaborate stage set up and instruments. During this time video clips of things such as The Who playing "Baba O'Reilly" got a far better reception than Foreigner had.
Yes finally came on, and it was weird to hear a Prog Rock band play in amongst several Rock bands. But the full crowd really enjoyed their 80 minute set, and despite being cold I was glad to have stayed to see them (and got my money's worth!). They played a tight set, their sound was great, and it was cool to see what is regarded as the "classic" Yes line up of Anderson, Howe, Squire, White and Wakeman. However, many of their songs went on and on and then they got into giving each band member a solo slot too! By this time I just wanted it over so I could leave and get warm! Anyway, they got a fine reception when they finished at 9.30pm. We waited down near the booths for Tony, and with the show now overrunning, it didn't take the stage techs long to set up for Journey. Probably less than 30 minutes after Yes had finished, we heard a HUGE roar from the crowd to welcome Journey onto the stage. We finally met up with Tony by his car, and headed back to north of LA, stopping at Tommy's for the traditional post show supper (with chilli!) Late to bed, around 12.30am.
Sunday 5th October - Cheap Trick at Bakersfield CA
Another hot and sunny day as Victoria and I left Woodland Hills around 10am to drive up to Bakersfield. Instead of heading north up I-5 and then 99, I thought we'd take a different route since we had the time and it would be nice to see some different scenery. So we cut across north east on 14 to Mojave before picking up 58 back towards Bakersfield. The scenery was pretty in that Southern Californian way, with small canyons, scrub and joshua trees. But the weird thing about this drive was when we approached the town of Mojave. From several miles away we could see what looked to be an air base or airport with lots of parked planes. Well, I'd driven past an aircraft "junkyard" in the past on my way through Arizona to the Grand Canyon, but this didn't seem the same thing. And as we got closer, I could clearly see that it wasn't, since many of the 100 or so airliners parked in this gigantic aircraft parking lot had very recognisable livery from the worlds major airlines, including a 747 in the peacock blue of my main carrier, the Dutch airline KLM. As we drove past I realised that this must be where many of the worlds aircraft had been mothballed following the huge slump in air passenger numbers following 9-11. I wish now that we'd stopped to get a couple of photos, as it was a pretty eerie sight.
We reached our hotel in Bakersfield at lunchtime, and it was sunny and mid 80's, grand weather! We had lunch and then went down to the County Fairgrounds for mid afternoon, to find some CT fans already sitting outside one of the entrances to the Budweiser stage. An event was already going on in there, so they had to wait until that entire crowd for that was cleared before being allowed in. I had a quick wander around the Fair, and enjoyed some typical fairground food, funnel cake!
The outdoor venue was nice, and quite intimate for a fairground. There was a good sized, covered stage with around 10-12 rows of seating in front. Behind those and angled to either side were three grandstands of banked bleacher seating, and really, no one would be too far from the stage. It was a general admission show, hence the CT fans were in line. They got let in late in the afternoon, but first on stage was the resident hypnotist, who I think had been performing twice daily throughout the Fair. He was on stage from 6.50pm, performed for an hour and overran by 20 minutes. I didn't see any of his act as I was helping to set up and sell merchandise (until CT show time) and the booth was underneath one of the grandstands. We could hear the crowd laughter but couldn't see a thing! However, it was interesting to see huge lines build up at both entrances to the venue, and I wondered if security would make everyone leave after the hypnotist finished, or whether the CT fans already seated could stay where they were. I saw quite a number of families leave during the break, but thankfully the CT fans already inside stayed in. However, it wasn't until 2-3 songs into CT's set that security started letting the people waiting outside in, so it was somewhat disruptive as they were finding seating, mostly in the grandstand bleachers.
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 8.13m.
RN - Black suit, black t-shirt
RZ - Brown suede shirt, black pants, black cowboy hat, shades
TP - Dark jeans, dark polka dot shirt, big white cowboy hat
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
(acoustic) Fan Club, I Can't Take It, It All Comes Back To You, Lookout // (electric) Just Got Back, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, Pop Drone, Too Much, I Want You To Want Me, Best Friend, I Know What I Want, Words, Never Had A Lot To Lose, The Flame, 70's Song, Surrender // (encore), Scent Of A Woman, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
This turned out to be the highlight of this little run of shows. It was a pleasant, warm evening, a nice and intimate setting, and the crowd were really into it. After "Big Eyes" Rick announced that it was "great to back in Bakersfield" which produced a huge roar from the crowd. "IWYTWM" as usual got the crowd rocking, and Rick looked like he was having fun despite his cold getting worse. He made a point of mentioning after "Best Friend" that the Chicago Cubs had won - the race to reach the World Series was ranking right up there with the California Governor campaign as the big, current news. Due to Rick's cold, he and Robin used separate mic's for the backing vox of "I Know What I Want" instead of singing at the same one as normal. After that song Rick did a couple of introductions from the stage, including announcing that I'd be buying everyone a drink after the show! Luckily no one claimed their "free" drink from me afterwards! After "Lot to Lose", Rick mentioned the upcoming election, asking the crowd if anyone in the crowd had been "Schwarzeneggared"? Good to see lot's of arms swaying during "The Flame", and cool that after "Surrender" Rick gave his 5 neck guitar to Shoandra and Ricks son, Chris. Chris and his sister Candace had been brought sidestage to watch the show, which was a nice touch. When Rick returned to the stage for the encore and asked "Do you wanna hear some more?" the response was a deafening "YES!!" It really was a nice show, great atmosphere and great crowd!
After the show, a large group of fans hung around for awhile, and since I was working I didn't get to see Danny Saint do the freefall from the high tower! That looked scary, and I have no idea how Danny got talked into that! I joined up with the group soon afterwards, and we headed to a Denny's near 99 for a late night group meal.
Monday 6th October - Cheap Trick at Fresno CA
It was at on our arrival at Fresno exactly a year ago that we discovered Robin was ill and that the Fresno (and subsequent shows) were cancelled. But thankfully there was to be no such occurance this year.
We left our hotel in Bakersfield at 10.30am, driving in a convoy with Laura from Colorado, followed by Sandra and Sherman from Utah. We lost a little time finding a Starbucks before heading north up 99. However, we were not going straight to Fresno. Instead, we'd all agreed to divert along the way and drive through the Sequoia National Park, which on paper didn't look too far out of our way. It was another bright, hot and sunny day as we drove into the mountains and forest, and almost immediately started climbing up an extremely winding road. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed and at times the drop beside the road was pretty scary! The views were stunning though, and we stopped for a quick break at a rest area near the Sherman Tree, surrounded by a forest of giant Sequoia trees. Those things are HUGE! And tall! If we'd had more time it would really have been fun to have taken more time to enjoy the scenery, maybe trek through the forest a bit, but unfortunately time was running and it had taken us a lot longer to get where we were than we'd expected. So we headed on the road again, and continued climbing (reaching over 7,000 ft) before starting the long descent. Victoria and I reached the Fresno Fairgrounds at 5pm and headed to the concert venue, the outdoor Paul Paul "Theatre".
The venue was larger than at Bakersfield, and much less intimate. The large, covered stage was framed by trees behind, and in front were around 50 rows of metal bench seating sloping up and away from the stage in this purpose built, concrete venue. To the immediate front of stage and off to Rick's side was priority seating, and there were jumbotron screens high above sidestage as well as front stage.
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 7.35pm to a warm welcome from the 2/3 capacity crowd.
RN - Black suit, black Piece t-shirt
RZ - Brown suede shirt, black pants
TP - white lightly striped shirt, dark pants, white cowboy hat
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
(acoustic) Fan Club, I Can't Take It, It All Comes Back To You, Lookout // (electric) Just Got Back, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, Pop Drone, Too Much, I Want You To Want Me, Best Friend, I Know What I Want, Words, Never Had A Lot To Lose, The Flame, 70's Song, Surrender // (encore) Scent Of A Woman, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
It was a nice show though it didn't have the enthusiastic intimacy of last night in Bakersfield. During the acoustic opening, Rick teasingly played the first bar of "California Man" before launching into the scheduled "It All Comes Back To You". Before "If You Want My Love" Rick again played a bar of "Cal Man", before announcing that the next song featured in a movie that should have won an Academy Award! Yep, you guessed it, Joe Dirt! After "IWYTWM" Rick made a few announcements, including pointing out Elliot, the fan from Scotland. When asked, Elliot shouted out that he was from Inverness, prompting Rick to reply "Where the HELL is Inverness?" But cool of Tom to come to Elliot's rescue and state that he knew where Inverness was! So that made two people at the show who knew where it was! :-) After "I Know What I Want" it was funny to see Rick toy with a woman at stage front, even trying on her Elton John style shades! The coolest moment for me I think was during "Words", when Rick came down the steps to the side stage priority seating area (all the time still playing his guitar), and hugged and then gave a quick kiss to the sweet young African American security guard standing there, which brought both a blush and a big smile to her face! A Kodak moment! After "Lot to Lose" it was time for the election banter, Rick mentioning that " 20 years ago, Arnold fondled me! So I kicked him in the ! But no matter who you vote for, go out and vote 'cos that's what counts". The crowd were enthusiastic for more when the band came on for the encore, and Rick teased with a bar of "Day Tripper" and then something else, before going into the intro to "Scent". Hmmm, I wonder if he was really wanting to play stuff like "Cal Man" and "Day Tripper" tonight? Anyway, the show finished at 9.08pm, and after goodbye's to a few friends who weren't making the trek up to northern Cal next day, Victoria, Laura and I went and had a late supper at the Denny's next to our hotel.
Tuesday 7th October - Cheap Trick at Redding CA
I was up early and took advantage of the Best Western's outdoor pool and spa before we went and had breakfast. A very cool surprise as we were checking out, we spotted a family group getting their vehicle ready to leave, but one of the men was wearing a CT 2001 European tour shirt! Now you don't see many of those in Fresno, so being the pain that I am, I went to say hello. And it was a pleasure to find that they were an Italian family who'd been at the show last night. They were just starting a two week vacation, had arrived at San Francisco yesterday and driven straight up to Fresno to catch the only CT show they would be able to get to. It fun to flick a few picks into their car before we left to head north.
It was another hot and sunny day, and another photo moment was missed as we passed a heavy plant hire yard next to the highway, with a long row of bulldozers lined up facing the main road all with "Arnold" painted onto their scoops! A bizarre sight! Victoria and I had brief stops in Merced and Sacramento before zooming up I-5 towards Redding. Just before we turned off for the casino, it was cool to see a huge billboard advertising tonight's CT show (a photo of that and a few other sights during my trip can be found in Photo Gallery #5 on my website). We reached the modest Win River Casino just south of Redding at 4.15pm.
The venue was a large hall to the rear of the casino, possibly its normal use was for bingo. The room was large and rectangular, and to the sides and rear was a gallery and doors to offices. The ceiling was fairly low with exposed ducting and roof beams, and there were 35 rows of flat seating from the stage to the rear. Doors opened at 6.30pm, and I was at the merchandise booth in the entrance lobby until just before the early show started.
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 7.33pm to a warm welcome.
RN - Black suit, red t-shirt
RZ - Black suit, white shirt, tie, black hat
TP - White lightly striped shirt, black pants
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
Hello There, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, Pop Drone, Too Much, I Want You To Want Me, Best Friend, I Know What I Want, Words, Never Had A Lot To Lose, The Flame, 70's Song, Surrender // (encore) Scent Of A Woman, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
Rick still had his cold, and he was coughing throughout the show though still performed as usual. After "Big Eyes" Rick announced that they'd "sold out in Redding, California. Thank you!". However, he noted a number of scattered seats that were unoccupied and speculated that those people were still at the polling booths (today was finally polling day for California Governor). His question of "And your new Governor is ?" got a large response of "Arnie!" And they later proved to be right too, Schwarzeneggar winning by a large majority. He then announced the next song (If You Want My Love) not as being from Joe Dirt, but as having been #1 in New Zealand, Australia and he just reeled off a totally improbable list of countries and continents such as Belgium, Poland and South America, before ending up " and it did lousy here!" After "I Want You To Want Me" Bun E needed a cymbal changing, so Rick took the break to make a couple of announcements, including pointing out Adrian Chandler in the crowd. She and her husband from nearby Chico make the Chandler bass guitars that Tom plays. At the end of "I Know What I Want", Rick gave his guitar to a fan in the front row, I haven't seen that in a while. Whilst I went to receive it, Rick announced that his temporary tech had been lucky with a big win in the casino earlier, so he'd be buying the drinks for everybody! Phew, that got me off the hook tonight! One woman then came boldly up to stage front to ask for a pick. Leaning down, Rick made her re-ask into the mic before flicking a pick right into her face!
The show ended at 8.50pm, and had been a nice end to both the run of California shows and to a long stretch of several straight weeks on the road. I'm sure everyone was looking forward to going home for a well deserved break. Victoria, Elliot, Laura, good friend Lee from Reno and I drove into Redding a while later to find somewhere still open to eat at. Unlike most American towns, it looked like Redding closed down early, and we were lucky to find an IHOP still open at 10.15pm. Afterwards Victoria and I headed back down to her home at Red Bluff, where I got to see some of her very cool collection of CT stuff.
Wednesday 8th October - Monday 13th October
Time to leave California, though I wasn't returning home just yet. I was stopping off in Chicagoland to visit with girlfriend Patricia before heading home to the real world. Victoria kindly drove me down to San Francisco Airport where I caught a lunchtime flight to Minneapolis and I then connected with a flight to Chicago O'Hare. Cool that Northwest Airlines had upgraded me on both flights, so it was a relaxing few hours getting to the Midwest.
On Thursday it was nice to drive up to Milwaukee, passing some beautiful stretches of autumn colours on trees alongside I-294. Met up with good buddy RonPBG, he kindly showed me CT's recent appearances on Conan and Kilbourn before we headed out for lunch. We then drove by Harley-Davidson's famous Juneau Avenue HQ before a brief visit to HD's plant at nearby Wauwatosa.
Friday saw Patricia and I drive to Columbus, Ohio. Last time we did this back in June, we'd experienced a heavy rainstorm that cancelled CT's outdoor show. No such weather problems today though, and it was interesting to visit the American Quarter Horse Congress at the fairgrounds both on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning before we headed back to Chicago. Saturday evening saw us meet up with CT friends Carmie and George for dinner in the north Chicago 'burbs, and cool to hear frequent cheering in the bar next to the restaurant area as the Cubs were winning tonight's big game against Florida. (However, needing only one more win to reach the World Series and lay the famous curse to rest, the Cubs subsequently managed to lose their next 3 games and ensure another season of disappointment for their long suffering fans.)
Sunday afternoon saw me flying out of O'Hare again, on the long overnight haul to Amsterdam, and no upgrade on this occasion. Strangely, the woman seated next to me was allowed to bring on board a small white dog which remained in a carry bag beside her seat for the entire flight. The crew were fine with that, though I'd never experienced anything like it before! Otherwise, the flight was long and uneventful, and I only managed to doze before we reached Amsterdam. Connected OK for my flight home to Leeds, my suitcase arrived safely there, and as usual I caught the bus into the city centre and straight into work to start off another Monday morning!
As always, no trip or review is complete without a few "Thanks" to end up with. First and foremost, BIG thanks to Victoria for all her kindness, in offering me a seat in her Trickmobile as well as for buying some of the show tickets! Thanks also to Tony for the ride to Irvine, and to the many friends I met at all the shows for making it a fun visit to California as usual! And as ever, last but not least, thanks to Cheap Trick, Carla and crew, always good to see you!
Kim Gisborne(They persecute me right here in Leeds, England) - 27th Oct 2003 (yep! It took a while to write!)
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