CHEAP TRICK IN CALIFORNIA -
Hot on the heels of their July shows in California, the band returned there just 12 weeks later for five scheduled shows. And so it was that I found myself setting out on Saturday 28 Sept to return to the West Coast. The first show wasn't until Tuesday, but it seemed a good idea to fly in a couple of days early and get in some sightseeing as well as some rest beforehand. It was to turn out be an eventful trip
The usual long journey saw my leaving home just after 6am, to get an early bus into Leeds to catch an early train to Manchester Airport. It was a dry and mild autumn morning following a cool and damp summer, so I was really looking forward to getting some hot sunny weather in California. I was lucky enough to get into the "New Economy" cabin of the British Midland flight to Chicago, so had a little extra legroom and better service. A nice flight, except that we arrived 20 minutes late (at 1.40pm), which reduced my connection time to just 80 minutes. I managed to be one of the first through Immigration and just when I wanted to see my suitcase come off the luggage carousel first, it was nearly last. It was 2.20pm by the time my case appeared, and I then had to battle for 10 minutes through the crowds waiting to get past Customs. And so I gave my case to United Airlines at Terminal 5, not expecting it (or possibly myself) to make the 3pm San Francisco flight from Terminal 1. That travel curse kicking in again?
I got to the Gate with just 12 minutes to spare after running most of the way. Luckily United had kept my upgrade seat, which I'd requested some weeks ago, so at least the next 4 hours were to be in comfort. I chugged down a beer in about 30 seconds, even before the cabin door had closed! The flight in Business into San Francisco was fine, and it was cool to watch us descend close to the blue waters of the Bay before touching down in the late afternoon sunshine. Luckily my travelling companion for the next 10 days, CT fan Victoria from Northern California, was there to meet me, and big surprise, my case had made it onto the flight! We endured heavy traffic on 101 north, but managed to get across the Golden Gate Bridge and to the Marin Headlands in time to get spectacular views of the city and the Bridge as the sun set and twilight set in. We drove back across the (by now) lit up Bridge, windows down and Mandocello playing loud! The night was spent in Sunnyvale.
Sunday 29 Sept
After a good buffet breakfast, we drove down to Santa Cruz, walking downtown and on the pier, before heading down to Carmel and walking there. I'd bypassed Carmel on my previous drive up Route 1, so it was nice to get to spend time strolling around this pleasant, pretty, but very upmarket town. Even got to see some original Grace Slick paintings in one of the numerous art galleries. We rounded off the day by doing the famous "17 Mile Drive" along spectacular coastline, famous golf courses and some very expensive real estate. The coastline was breathtaking and it was well worth visiting. We didn't get to do the whole drive in the light, but I think we saw the best of it, including the Lone Cypress, before watching the sun set behind Bird Rock.
Monday 30 Sept
Time to head south towards Anaheim and the start of the CT trek. We headed south from Carmel down Route 1, which took us along the magnificent Big Sur coastline. It was warm and sunny, and the scenery was amazing. Words can't describe the beauty of the sharp cliffs, rocky coastline and crashing surf, and its definitely a drive worth making time for when travelling between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Although we stopped briefly at Hearst Mansion, their tour schedule didn't fit with our travel schedule, so we skipped visiting the house. We made it to the San Fernando Valley late in the afternoon and had a great Mexican meal at Sierra's with wonderful LA friends, Tony, Robyn, Nichole & Brandon. Drove on down to Anaheim, arriving at our modest (but cheap) Days Inn at 9.30pm. Headed over to the weirdly deserted Hilton Hotel to try to find friends Patricia and Elliott, but no luck. It was bizarre, this huge hotel lobby was almost empty and there was only one bar open but it was deserted. Tried the nearby Marriott, no sign of them there either, though did run into some other friends so stayed and had a couple of drinks. That hotel was very quiet too, apparently occupancies were down to around 15% at this very quiet time of year.
Cheap Trick at Anaheim - Tuesday 1 October
A strange day for Southern California, cloudy and cool. Brrr! We headed to Disneyland where we'd scheduled a few hours playing tourist in the Magic Kingdom (come to think of it, I never saw Mickey or Minnie but saw two Pooh Bears what was THAT about?!). As we were starting to walk to the main Disneyland entrance a few minutes before 10am, we had our first Cheap Trick shirt alert of the day! It was a nice surprise to find that it was West Coast Dawn, waiting for the same folks as us! Elliot and Patricia soon arrived, and the 5 of us headed into the Magic Kingdom unfortunately finding that part of the "magic" (such as The Matterhorn) was closed for maintenance. Still, we had a fun three hours, literally walking straight onto the rides that were open. By about 1pm we'd done everything, which surprised me. I guess you get a full day when its busier, since you have to wait longer plus more is open. Anyway, we gopt to the House of Blues at the end of Main Street Disney around 1.10pm, to find about 15 die hard fans already in line. As always, good to catch up with old and new friends (including the ladies of Cheap Chick!) both then and later in the day as more people arrived. We ate in the HOB restaurant during the afternoon in order to get our meal receipt, which would allow priority entry into the venue when doors opened.
The band arrived late afternoon for soundcheck, starting seriously at 5.45pm. They played "Special One" a couple of times. The arrangement had changed a little since I'd last heard the song, and featured more intricate guitar work by Rick (seated on a stool for this song). "I-95" was played through twice, this being a short, uptempo instrumental. The last song was "My Obsession", which again featured a different arrangement later in the song than I'd previously heard. It was certainly interesting to hear that they'd be playing some of the new songs during these two shows.
The HOB at Anaheim was similar in layout to the other HOB venues. The stage was deep though not terribly wide, with a large HOB logo to the rear. The stage was about 4ft higher than the main floor, with no security barriers. The main floor was flanked on both sides by bars, and there was an upstairs balcony on 3 sides. The décor featured a lot of old, painted wood, and the whole feel was very rustic.
Doors opened at a little after 7pm. I didn't manage to get my usual spot between Rick and Robin, and after spending some time deciding whether to have an extremely restricted view by standing at stage front but right in front of Ricks steps (I could barely see anything of the stage), I ended up going to Tom's side where I was a couple of people from the front but could see most of the stage. An important thing when keeping notes to write a review! The show was opened by SR-71, a young band from Baltimore. They were quite entertaining, and their young lead singer had a good stage presence. They finished at 8.50pm, so a 25 minute break before CT were due on.
Soon after SR-71 ended, a group of five women were led through the crowd to the front of the stage, and some of the fans who'd been in line for up to 12 hours were made to make room to allow actress Jeri Ryan to get to stage front. Things got understandably heated for a few minutes, with many of the fans upset at having to step back or crush up. In the end Jeri was up front and her friends were behind her. I know of at least one fan who walked out of the venue at that point, having made to get behind that group.
Cheap Trick took to the stage at 9.16pm, being introduced as usual by Rick's tech, Dave Rule.
RN - Shiny bronze suit with thin black pinstripe, black t-shirt
RZ - Black suit, black/white striped shirt
TP - Black leather jacket, black jeans, black v-neck t-shirt
BC -Black jeans, black t-shirt
I-95, Hello There, Big Eyes, If You Want My Love, He's A Whore, I Want You To Want Me, California Man, My Obsession, Scent Of A Woman, Lookout, High Roller, Special One, Tonight Its You, Take Me To The Top, Ain't That A Shame, Surrender // Voices, Dream Police, Auf Wiedersehen
What a wonderful setlist! The show started off with new tune, "I-95". An short, uptempo instrumental opener, it was a nice bonus, though a little odd to then get the traditional opener, "Hello There" right afterwards. As usual, some of the stage banter was fun - after "Whore" Rick was talking about the band being from Rockford and as he asked each band member, none of them lived in Rockford anymore! Bun E has just moved to Boon County, and Tom said he lived in New York followed by his comment "Poor Angels" (reference to the baseball playoffs, Anaheim had lost to the New York Yankees earlier in the day). Rick then mentioned that he was a (Chicago) Cubs fans, to which Tom dryly responded "Are they some sort of expansion team?". Rick then noticed Allies sign saying that it was her birthday, and since she couldnt make it onto the stage, he eventually kissed her hand. He then commented "That was a strike, later therell be first base, second base, third base and HOME RUN!!". But seriously, a nice birthday gift for Allie, whod travelled all the way from New Jersey. After "IWYTWM", Rick did a series of "Yeah Yeahs" with the crowd, Im not sure what that was about. "My Obsession" sounded great, and "Scent of a Woman" rocked. If youve read some of my previous reviews, youll know I already love this song from last summer, but it really does seem to be the standard bearer for the new album. As at soundcheck, Rick sat on a stool to play "Special One". Before they started, they got young fan Candace from stage front and onto the stage. Rick did his usual "and whos your favourite band?" spiel even though he realised that Candace had done this several times before! But in a nice touch, he got her to sit and watch the rest of the set from sidestage. He also mentioned that it was his second anniversary of quitting drinking, before the band launched into "Special One".
As noted earlier, a couple of the new songs had slightly different arrangements to what Ive heard before, and interesting that the arrangement of "Tonight Its You" has changed again too. I missed the big drum beats during the lines "so stop what youre doing start on something new " etc, as had been done in the past few months. I know Bun E has said that he occasionally makes subtle changes to how he drums certain songs. After this song, Rick mentioned that the band had yesterday shot a scene in a new movie with Eddie Murphy. Ricks Uncle Dick guitar was featured, and the band played "Surrender". Rick didnt mention the title of the movie, though Tom came over to me, leaned and said all deadpan, "Godfather 4" gotta love his sense of humour! I think he still thinks Im gullible! "Take Me To The Top" was an interesting inclusion, not having been in the setlist for some time. When the band came on for the encore before "Voices", Candace (now back in the crowd at stage front) gave Tom a new Chairy toy for his amps, his previous one having disappeared a couple of years ago.
The set was well received, and ended at 10.45pm. The band had looked and sounded tight, in part due to the fact that these two Anaheim shows were being recorded by Westwood One for future broadcast. Rick mentioned that theyd be playing a mostly different set tomorrow night.
Many of the fans hung out in the HOB bar until after midnight, at which time we walked back through the deserted but prettily lit up Main Street to the shuttle back to the huge parking lot. It seems wed kept several employees late and waiting for us, ours was the only vehicle left there, oops!
Cheap Trick at Anaheim - Wednesday 2 October
The day started out the way SoCal days are supposed to, sunny and warm! Elliot and Patricia kindly drove me to nearby Edison Field, to visit the Anaheim Angels baseball store. I ended up just buying a t-shirt, they refused to sell me a fully embroidered replica player shirt which had been mispriced by $60. Damn! We went back to the Days Inn, picked up Victoria and headed down to Newport Beach where we saw the CT displays in the Hard Rock Café there. We ended up back at the House of Blues around 3.15pm, ate in their restaurant again and got back in line.
The band soundchecked at 5.30pm, starting with part of new song "If I Could", which Id heard just once before, in soundcheck in Iowa in the summer. They then played the whole of that mid tempo song, before playing "Words" and then "Pop Drone". Id heard the latter before in soundcheck, and its a cool, dark slow tempod song. Again the arrangement had changed a little. Bun E left after that, but the others continued to work on parts of "8 Miles Low", "Stop This Game" and "Lot to Lose". Sounded like tonights set would be another interesting one.
Doors opened at 7.10pm, and again I ended up on Toms side, at the front but with the speaker by my right ear. I needed to use my earplugs carefully this evening. Jeri Ryan and friends turned up again, but this time were shown to a booth at the front of the balcony. Opening tonight was Wayne Kramer, of the legendary MC5. A few of us were aware beforehand that his band was opening, but most people didnt and he never said who he was. He played an interesting 50 minute set, some of his songs had very unusual lyrics! Cool to see Rick watching much of the set from his techs sidestage position. About halfway through the set, Wayne tried to introduce one of his/MC5s signature songs with the cry "Its time to ?". He did that about 3 times, though as most of the crowd didnt know who he was, he sadly didnt get the right response. He finally ended it himself "Its time to KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERF***ERS!!". A very cool rendition of the MC5 classic.
Cheap Trick came on at 9.20pm, by which time the crowd had swelled to fill most of the venue. Looking back earlier and during Wayne Kramer, Id thought the crowd looked a lot less than the previous night, but it was pretty full by the time the lights went down.
RN - Black shiny suit, red t-shirt
RZ - Black sequined shirt, black trousers
TP - Beige suit, black shirt
BC - Black t-shirt, black jeans
Just Got Back, ELO Kiddies, Downed, Hot Love, I Can't Take It, Never Had A Lot To Lose, Too Much, Pop Drone, I Want You To Want Me, 70's Song, 8 Miles Low, Words, Scent Of A Woman, Surrender (with actor Jeff Garlin) // Dream Police, Stop This Game, TV Violence, Goodnight Now
As at last nights show, Rick had the "RBNZNDR" licence plate on his amps. After "Hot Love" he noticed Victoria holding up her licence plate (which wed taken off her van during the afternoon!) and took it to hold up. And when she said he could keep it, he added it (it states <heart>CTRICK) to his amps, very cool! The first major surprise to the set was the new song "Too Much", which Id never even heard the title of before, let alone heard played. A cool, mid-tempo song, but I cant remember much more than that. "Pop Drone" sounded great, though Rick had to prompt the new soundtech to play the drone tape at the start! "IWYTWM" had the crowd going as usual, even Jeri Ryan was on her feet and dancing around up in the balcony. "Oh Candy" was on the setlist after "IWYTWM" but sadly crossed off. After "IWYTWM" Rick pointed out the Joe Perry tattoo that one of the fans up in the balcony had on her arm, and someone else threw a t-shirt for Archies Ice Cream on stage, with a rip off of the CT logo.
The "70s Song" sounded good and nice to hear that again after quite a while, and Rick gave Lisa J his guitar after "8 Miles Low". After "Words", Rick again mentioned the movie theyd done a scene for on Monday. Starring Eddie Murphy, its titled "Daddy Daycare". Later Rick mentioned that his Uncle Dick was first requested to be in the movie, and it was only later that the band were invited! "Surrender" saw a big, burly guy come out and jointly sing the song with Robin. We had no clue who he was, but he was really giving his all and in between verses was doing weird moves and dances! At the end he lay writhing on the stage whilst Robin held the mic stand on his stomach! Rick introduced him as Jeff Garlin, a "well known" American improv actor who is in the "Daddy Daycare" movie. Well, it was certainly interesting to see him co-perform Surrender
When the band came back on for the encore (starting with "Dream Police"), Rick mentioned that the band will be "back out next year to kick some major league ass". "Goodnight Now" featured a big Bun E ending, which it seemed would never stop! Always cool when Bun E lets go and shows off his drum skills.
The show ended at 10.41pm, an 80 minute set though it had seemed longer. Some of the fans whod been affected and upset by the Jeri Ryan incident the previous night had been given After Show passes prior to CT taking the stage, so they got to go upstairs on the balcony and Rick came out to do a short meet and greet. A nice gesture after the incident had upset a number of fans.
Again many of us hung out until kicked out! It was again around 12.20am as we made our way back to get the parking lot shuttle. As we reached the plaza entrance to Disneyland on one side and the California Adventure on the other, the show song "Hooray for Hollywood" started playing through the speakers! I couldnt resist it was warm, deserted and beautifully lit with tree lighting and so on, and I was compelled to do an impromptu Gene Kelly-type dance in between the giant, 15 ft high letters spelling C A L I F O R N I A !! OK, so it sounds dopey written on paper, but believe me it was just one of those "moments"! Or maybe I just had a brainstorm, who knows? It felt like fun anyway!
Thursday 3 October
Another bright, sunny day, we ended up leaving the Anaheim area around 11.30am, for the 4 hr journey up to Fresno, for the Fair show that evening. We arrived at the hotel at 3.45pm and were in the process of checking in when Elliot and Mika (from Japan) arrived and asked if wed heard that the show was off. I thought he was kidding, but he convinced us that it was true. The grapevine down in LA had been working, and other fans, including the Swedes (Nilsson and Pettersson!) had heard in time not to travel. Elliot had heard on the radio a few miles from Fresno, with Robin reported to have food poisoning or similar. He and Mika cancelled their booking and headed back to LA, whilst Victoria and I stayed in Fresno as wed checked in and paid. The hotel (Best Western Garden Court) was a pain, they managed to lose Victorias driving licence (after being adamant that hed given it back, he finally found it down the back of the copier), and we had to change rooms because the TV didnt work. Well, it had looked great online We later went down to the Fresno Fair to try to get ticket refunds, and saw the signs at the gates announcing CTs cancellation and that they were being replaced by WAR (memories of Ventura back in July). A shame to see many people wearing CT shirts arrive, see the signs and turn right back around. Later in the evening, got a call back at the hotel from Rhiazann to inform me that the Coachella and Bakersfield shows were also cancelled. Hmmm, hope Robins OK, and some hasty rearrangements to be made for the rest of the trip.
Friday 4 Oct saw Victoria and I driving back down to LA, having cancelled the hotel booking in Palm Springs and making a new reservation in LA for a couple of nights. We stayed near Woodland Hills, and attended the now traditional "Speck-Jam" at Robyn and Tonys that evening, always a lot of fun! Saturday 5 Oct saw us go with Tony to the Hollywood Vintage and Custom Drum Show, where Bun E gave a clinic a couple of years ago. We saw an interesting lunchtime clinic by Ed Shaughnessy, whod been the resident drummer on Johnny Carsons "Tonight" show, as well as appearing on over 600 LPs. The evening saw us go to the City Walk at Hollywoods Universal City, to have dinner with many of the LA fans as well as Lisa and Elsa from SFO and Mika from Japan. We ate at the Hard Rock Café and a good time was had by all.
Sunday morning, 6 Oct saw Victoria and I head north, but not before having breakfast of warm Krispy Kreme donuts unbelievably good! Mmmmm! <insert Home Simpson quote here!>. We drove back up boring I-5 to the Bay area, stopping in Berkeley for a great Mexican meal before going on up to cosmopolitan Telegraph St, close to the University. Found two very cool record stores, Amoeba and Rasputin, both recommended for collectors! In Amoeba I found a real rarity, the elusive European vinyl LP of the 1990 "Greatest Hits"! Monday morning, 7 Oct saw Victoria dropping me at San Francisco Airport to start my long journey home. Somehow I had managed to fit all my trip purchases into my suitcase, so I checked in and took the 9am United flight to Chicago. I was on a waiting list to upgrade, but unfortunately the flight was fairly full so I ended up in Economy. I had almost 3 hours at Chicago OHare before my overnight British Midland flight to Manchester. Again a busy flight, so I stayed in Economy with little legroom, and got not one wink of sleep. Got into cool, overcast Manchester around 7.30am, and eventually got home in Leeds at 10.40am.
And so ended another interesting trip, more so because of the two wonderful Anaheim shows followed by three cancelled shows. This was the first time that Id lost any shows at such short notice and whilst on a trip. However, things worked out OK and it was worthwhile for the shows I did see, for the friends I got to catch up with, and to get some sunshine! Hopefully Robin will be back in the best of health before the next time I travel for shows.
As always, thanks to Carla, the band and crew. Big thanks to Victoria for being a great travelling companion and for the use of her "Trick-mobile"! Thanks to Tony and Robyn for hosting the Jam and for being the focus of things in LA, as usual! And finally (but not least), thanks to the wonderful people I met during the trip, mostly (but not exclusively) at the Anaheim shows. I havent named everyone in the review, but you know who you are and as always it was a pleasure!
Kim Gisborne 10 October 2002
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