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CHEAP TRICK - CALIFORNIA/VEGAS, JULY 2001

In what seems to be becoming an annual ritual, I was off to see CT play multiple dates in California for the third summer in a row! This time it was 7 shows, spread across California and also in Las Vegas.

I was first spending some time in the Midwest, so flew out of Manchester on Friday 6 July on a British Midland International (BMI) flight to Chicago. With my United Airlines/Star Alliance Frequent Fliers card in hand, I managed to talk the cabin director into allowing me to upgrade into the "Economy Plus" cabin. That was something I could get used to, there was only one other passenger in the 48 seat cabin, and one flight attendant to serve us both, and no Hugh Grant movie! After some amazingly clear views over Greenland, I arrived on time at O’Hare and caught an early evening bus up to Madison, Wisconsin.

Saturday morning saw me up early, to attend the wedding of Trick fans Mike Bunting and his bride Jennifer in CT’s hometown of Rockford. A hot and humid day, but a beautiful wedding at St Peters Cathedral, followed by the reception, which included CT tunes being played. Holland Zander also sang at both the church and reception.

The following three days were relaxing, and included watching a local baseball game in Madison – the new local team were the Mallards, hence the Mallard Ale was coloured green! It tasted OK though, and I gathered that beer is often coloured green in the States for St Patrick’s Day. Watched various All Star baseball events on TV, took a boat ride on the scenic Wisconsin Dells, and a trip into Milwaukee to visit RonPBG and visit that famous independent store, Atomic Records!

Wednesday (11th) saw me heading down to O’Hare to catch a lunchtime flight over to Los Angeles and the start of a 10 day touring marathon! After such a good journey over the Atlantic, my 100% reliable travel curse kicked in, as I sat in the plane for 90 minutes before we finally took off. A mechanical problem had to be investigated. The 4 hour flight was uneventful other than giving some magnificent views over the Grand Canyon! Picked up my hire car OK, and crawled up congested 405 (what’s new?), arriving at my north LA "home from home", Tony & Robyn H’s in time for a quick shower before going out. It was Tony’s birthday, so we were celebrating at Sierra’s Mexican restaurant with many of the other LA Trick fans. As always, a pleasure to be meet up with them all :-) After the meal we headed back to Tony’s for another "Speck-jam" (with of CT tribute band, Speck, in attendance). I was encouraged to open up the proceedings with California Man, before the various musicians and singers (a term which really doesn’t apply to myself!) played through a whole catalogue of CT songs! Felicity cooked singing "I Can’t Take It", though Rusty (in from Atlanta) stole the evening with his Mick Jagger impressions whilst singing Honky Tonk Women and Start Me Up! All in all, a really fun start to the West Coast jaunt.

Thursday 12 July - SAN DIEGO, CA

On a typically hot and sunny CoCal morning, Tony and I drove down to San Diego, arriving at Humphreys around 3.15pm. The venue was the same as a year ago at the famous hotel, with an outdoor stage and seating area flanked on one side by a marina and on the other two sides by low hotel room blocks, colourful flowers and shrubs. Met up with a number of other fans, including from the SF Bay area, Chicago, Scotland and Japan, and most fans stood at the rear terrace to watch soundcheck. It started at 4pm, at first without Robin. First was a snippet of something new, then Oh Claire with Rick doing some of the vox. Bun E left and Daxx Nielsen took over on drums, and That 70’s Song was played with Rick’s other touring son, Miles, doing vocals. That was followed by an instrumental part of Downed, before Robin arrived and 8 Miles Low, Southern Girls and It All Comes Back to You were performed.

After dinner, we all headed back to the venue, and were able to buy the limited edition double DVD of Silver. I guess I still need to buy a DVD player then! Harmony Riley from Rockford IL opened up at 7.30, the band includes the Nielsen boys, Daxx on drums and Miles on guitar/vocals. Back to being a 4 piece, they played a solid 35 minute set. It was interesting to note that the numbers of boats on the marina side of the seating area had swelled, with many people taking to the water to enjoy the show for free.

Cheap Trick took to the stage at 8.30, to a sellout crowd of 1300.

RN – Black suit, black "4 great guys, 3 great chords" t-shirt

RZ – Patterned gold suit, sparkly bronze t-shirt

TP – Red t-shirt, black pants, big straw hat

BEC – Orange flowered shirt, black pants

Ain't That a Shame, I Can't Take It, Hot Love, Downed, I Want You To Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, 8 Miles Low, Voices, Flame (short version), Southern Girls,  Surrender / It All Comes Back To You, California Man, Dream Police, Never Had A Lot To Lose, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight Now

After Hot Love, Rick mentioned that one month ago Bun E celebrated his birthday in London, and that "over there they don’t sing so good!" (cheek!). Well, they didn’t sing Happy Birthday at all in San Diego! After IWYTWM, Rick mentioned that this was the bands first time in California since he’d shaved off his "12’ !! Not THAT 12!" he explained! He then introduced Tom to sing IKWIW – Tom had sat down at the rear of the stage behind and to the side of Bun E’s drumkit while Rick was talking to the crowd! He waved for a couple of moments before finally coming out to sing. After Voices Rick explained that Bun E was due to have an operation on his back in September, which caused the "Bun E" chant to start up. During the Flame, several lighters were held up in the crowd. Daxx took over from Bun E on drums after this song, as he had near Phoenix a couple of nights earlier. Bun E’s back problems meant that he was in too much pain to drum for the whole set. Upon returning to the stage after Surrender for the encore, Rick pointed out San Diego fan Brads CHPTRK licence plate, a tradition of many years. The encore was longer than first planned, as only Ghost Town, Dream Police, Lot to Lose and Goodnight were listed on the setlist. However, Ghost Town was changed to It All Comes Back to You, and a surprise California Man was then begun. More surprisingly, during the song Robin did the "yeah yeah"s audience participation piece, which the band haven’t done for at least a decade to my knowledge. After Lot to Lose it was a buzz to hear Tom lay down the bass intro to Auf Wiedersehen! Daxx is an accomplished drummer for his 19 years, and whilst lacking some of the finesse and licks of Bun E, he filled in very smoothly for the drum-master at this and subsequent shows. The show ended at 9.55pm, and it was a long drive back up to north LA afterwards.

Friday 13 July - SANTA MARIA, CA

Another hot day, as Tony & I drove up on 101 to Santa Maria for the Santa Barbara County Fair. We arrived at 3.30pm, found the stage, and staked some spots. There was a big stage, with a crush barrier in front, and a little further back was a sea of seating for probably 800 people, and at the rear some small raised bench seating too. We took turns to find food (in my case, an overpriced tri-top sandwich, Pennsylvania Funnel Cake (a deep fried web of donut mix), and later, my first corn dog!) and check out the Fair. It was the typical mix of funfair midway, and agricultural show. From our spot in front of the stage, we had a great sight of Bun E’s new Ludwig drumkit – the design was a streaked red and dark green, which Bun E has described as "frog in a blender!". About an hour before the show, security told us that we couldn’t stand at the crush barrier but had to sit in the seats. Unfortunately by this time the front rows were mostly filled – we ended up way off on Ricks side, sitting in front of the bank of speakers.

There was no support, and the band come on at 8.05pm.

RN – Long black jacket, black pants, "Silver" t-shirt

RZ – Black suit, black t-shirt

TP – Long beige jacket, light blue denim shirt, dark grey jeans, cowboy hat

BEC – Pale blue plain shirt, black jeans

Ain't That a Shame, I Can't Take It, Hot Love, Downed, I Want You To Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, Flame (short version), Southern Girls, Surrender / Dream Police, Never Had A Lot To Lose, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight Now

Security was lax and uncoordinated, with a fan suddenly running across the stage from stage right during the 70’s Song. Luckily he had no design to greet any of the band, but just to impress his buddies in the crowd, and he jumped straight off the stage back into the crowd. It took some time for security to finally escort him away. Daxx took over on drums after The Flame. For a County Fair, it was a really good show, which finished at 9.20pm. By now the midway was all lit up with flashing coloured lights, but that didn’t stop us feeling the chill breeze blowing in from the nearby Pacific Coast. Tony and I headed home soon after the show, followed by many of the LA/SF fans who were going to party the night away on Sunset Strip. No partying for us, as we had a long drive next day to Las Vegas.

Saturday 14 July - LAS VEGAS, NV

Up early, and left north LA soon after 9am. After picking up Speck’s Tony P, we headed onto the freeways and drove through the 100 degree heat of the beautiful but desolate Mojave Desert to Las Vegas, arriving at 2.10p.m. En route we listened to an amazing CD that Rusty had brought Tony, by a band called AC/Dixie (or Hayseed Dixie as I think they are now). Covers of AC/DC songs, done in a bluegrass style! Hilarious, and proof that the devil indeed went down to Georgia! Checked into the pyramid shaped Luxor hotel, who’s "inclinators" (elevators) travel up on an angle – which felt very odd. Later headed next door to The Mandalay Bay hotel, and the outdoor beach area where the show was being held (as last year). Whilst in line it was good to meet many more friends, from as far away as Chicago, Ohio and New York. The venue was the large sunbathing beach, which sloped into a shallow pool. The stage was about 15 feet above the water level. It was still very warm into the evening, so it was refreshing to stand in a foot or so of water to watch the show. The pool area in front of the stage was crowded, though most people were on the sand a little further back. There was no support act , and the band came on at 9.15pm.

RN – Black suit, red t-shirt

RZ – Sleeveless white t-shirt, black pants, blue denim jacket

TP – Red t-shirt, black pants

BEC – Orange flowered shirt, black pants

DN – Black sleeveless t-shirt, black pants

Ain't That a Shame, I Can't Take It, Hot Love, Downed, I Want You To Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, Voices, Ghost Town, Flame (short version) w/Daxx, Southern Girls w/Daxx, Surrender w/Daxx / California Man w/Chad Smith, Dream Police w/Daxx, Never Had A Lot To Lose w/Daxx, Auf Wiedersehen w/Daxx, Goodnight Now w/Chad Smith

After Voices Rick explained about Bun E’s back problems, prompting the "Bun E" chant. At this time no one was aware that this would be his last show for awhile, as he’d be flying home for his surgery which had been brought forward. Daxx took over on drums after Ghost Town. Throughout the show picks rained down upon the fans in the water, causing people to splash around trying to find the picks as they submerged! For the start of the encore, Rick introduced Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers onto the stage to play drums on California Man. I’d not seen him before, and he pounded the hell out of Bun E’s new drumkit – Chad is certainly an aggressive drummer! He even broke a couple of drumsticks and they flew into the crowd as Chad picked up replacements without missing a beat. Daxx returned for Dream Police onwards, until Chad returned for Goodnight Now. He was grinning broadly throughout and obviously didn’t want things to end, as he kept on doing drum lick endings, even after Rick had taken off his guitar!

Afterwards a whole group of us fans went to the blue ceilinged bar and socialised. I and a couple of others went off to find food, and returned to find Bun E sitting in the bar surrounded by fans. He mentioned then that he was returning home for surgery later in the week. Ended up going to bed around 2.30a.m, though others had more stamina than me and stayed up much later!

Sunday 15 July

After breakfast, I drove the two Tony’s first down to the Hard Rock Hotel for souvenir hunting, then back to Los Angeles across the Mojave Desert. Like last year, I was struck by the desolate beauty on either side of the strip of tarmac, the joshua trees, the scrub, and the occasional rocky hills and outcrops. Got back to north LA around 6pm, and Tony H connected up his birthday DVD player. We sat and watched some of the Silver DVD, including the bonus footage from Trickfest 3, behind the scenes at the Silver show and more. Nice to see snippets from the TF3 covers show, the band clinics and the Battle of the Bands winner, Cheap Track from Tokyo! There were even a couple of short fan interviews too – the Aussie was fine, though I reserve judgement on the Englishman! Nice to fall into bed after another long day.

Monday 16 July - SANTA ANA, CA

Time to do a little sightseeing before heading down to Santa Ana with Tony. Went briefly to a couple of malls before heading to Dodger (baseball) stadium. The team were on the road, but I could still drive up the hill to the entrance as the souvenir shop and ticket office were open. I was able to walk into the top spectator level of the stadium and look down into the impressive ballpark, which was a thrill. Afterwards I drove up to the Observatory in Griffith Park, passing the famous outdoor Greek Theatre on the way up. The Observatory and its grounds offer a wonderful panoramic view of the sprawl of LA, smog permitting. Worth a visit.

We left Tony’s at 3.30p.m and got caught up in the usual heavy traffic on 405 on the way down. We eventually arrived at the Galaxy Theatre shortly before 5pm, to find many fans already there and we could hear snatches of soundcheck as side doors were briefly opened by security. I only heard unfamiliar material, though others had heard You’re All Talk before I’d arrived. Doors opened at 6.15pm, and after having to wait in the lobby for Harmony Riley to finish their soundcheck, it was good to be able to get a decent spot in front of the stage. The venue was an intimate affair, with a modest sized stage, a semi circular dancefloor in front, and then semi circular 4 levels of dinner seating, with lamps at each table, nightclub style.

Harmony Riley came on at 8.30pm and played what was pretty much their standard 7 song set for their support slot on this tour. Their set list tonight (copied from the setlist!) was:- Still standing, Don’t Get Off, G-Song, Cowbell, Too Late, Falling Away and Lose Your Mind. Again, a nice performance by the 4 piece, with Miles especially impressive on vocals and guitar. A good young band, worth seeing.

Daxx’s workload increased from this show, as he was now playing both Harmony Riley’s 35 minute opening slot, AND the whole of Cheap Tricks 90+ minute shows too! But he’s young, and the extra work didn’t seem to affect his performance any.

Whilst the tech’s were setting up the stage for Cheap Trick, we at the front caught sight of the setlists being stuck down on the stage. OH MY GOD! The set list was shaken up, and there were 3 new songs! Could this be true? It turned out to be better… CT came on at 9.45pm.

RN – Black suit, white shirt with Japanese characters

RZ - Sleeveless black t-shirt, black pants, blue denim jacket

TP – Pale green long sleeved t-shirt, black pants

DN – Black pants, black sleeveless t-shirt

8 Miles Low drone intro, On Top Of The World, ELO Kiddies, Give It Away (new song), High Roller, I Want You To Want Me, Clock Strikes Ten, Words (new song), She's So Bad (new song), Oh Candy, Mondoraga (no vox), Mandocello, 70's Song, You're All Talk, Heaven Tonight, Surrender / Voices, Dream Police, California Man, Gonna Raise Hell, Goodnight Now

Give It Away was the first of the new songs, and it was an uptempo rocker with a big ending. In fact, the sound was almost "too" loud for a few songs in this fairly small venue, there were times when we were just hit with a wall of sound. Or maybe it was because I was down front? However, the show sounded great nonetheless. After IWYTWM Rick explained that Tom had written the setlist so we could blame him if we didn’t like it! He also then explained about Bun E being away for surgery (in 3 days time) and introduced Daxx on drums. Rick missed the start of "Words" initially, so that was quickly stopped before they had another go. This new song was softer with a slightly uptempo rhythm and a brief RN guitar solo. Robin had lyrics for this pasted on stage, and Tom had a sheet of chords pasted down too. She’s So Bad was another new song, uptempo and heavy! Before Oh Candy, Rick invited a 7-8 year old girl onto the stage from her spot in the front. He asked her name, and it was Candice. Rick then said that the next song was especially for her… This was one of those weird pieces of fate, as Rick had never met the young girl before (as testified by her parents), and the next song scheduled on the setlist was… Oh Candy! Weird, but cool! And nice of Robin to sing the first line as "Oh Candice…". After that song, Felicity gave Tom a beanie rabbit (bunny… Bun E… geddit??) which he put on his amps. Rick started the next song, Mandocello, but the others weren’t ready. He then stopped, said he’d written a new song on his mandocello and proceeded to play an impromptu instrumental solo for about 2 minutes! This was later played with vox at Merced, and was titled "Mandoraga". Rick broke a string early on during the 70’s Song and had to change his guitar after verse one. During Heaven Tonight, Rick gave his guitar to Candice in the front row. Rick’s mic fell over towards the end of Surrender, so he ended up finishing off his vox parts sharing Robins mic. There was some confusion over the start of California Man, with Rick seemingly waiting for Robin to do the "Going to a party" vocal, whilst Robin seemed to be expecting Rick to start the heavy "Brontosaurus" intro. Robin won! Gonna Raise Hell was awesome, though the final jam (as on the Metro CD) wasn’t done. Instead the band had talked on stage before starting GRH and seemed to have decided to add Goodnight Now, which wasn’t on the setlist.

The crowd were very enthusiastic, and an amazing and surprising show ended at 11.15pm. The show was a little looser than usual, though that was to be expected where the setlist had changed so much and new songs were being played for the first time. The band all seemed relaxed yet excited by the show, and there were plenty of smiles in the crowd too.

On the way home Tony and I stopped at what he told me was famous in the LA area, a Tommys burger joint. Where every burger comes with chilli… Actually, the burger and the home style fries were excellent! Got home at 1.10a.m, tired but still buzzed from the show.

Tuesday 17 July - ANAHEIM, CA

Headed back down to Orange County again mid morning, popping in to visit Trick fans Robyn and Carole en route to Edison Field. Whilst visiting the girls, I heard that Mindy and Mari had been involved in a car accident on their way back up to LA after last night’s show. Luckily neither were particularly hurt, though Mindy’s car was a write off. What a day for Mari… she arrived from Japan in the morning, saw an amazing CT show in the evening and ended up in hospital in the middle of the night with minor whiplash. Bottom line, glad both Mindy and Mari escaped pretty much unscathed. Sounds like it could have been far worse.

I headed out to the ballpark soon after noon, parked up in the massive parking lot, and was surprised to see Fainting Lisa J at the entrance, as I’d only arranged to meet her husband Tim to see the game. She’d changed her mind about coming to the game, so that was a nice bonus. She gave me some good news which was very welcome after the car crash news I’d heard, that she was pregnant! Congratulations guys! Tim got us all some great seats in the shade near first base, so we settled in for the afternoon of Angels v Padres ball. Given my following of San Diego, I was pleased to see the Padres run into a 7-2 lead, and a bonus to see future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn down in the dugout. In the middle of the 8th, both Lisa and I were getting twitchy and wanted to get over to the House of Blues, so with San Diego 7-4 up, we left Tim to see the game out. Oh, one bizarre thing – whenever Anaheim have the bases loaded, they play a video of the "Rally Monkey" dancing around in an Angels jersey, the crowd roar encouragement and many wave beanie toy monkeys in the air, weird!

Lisa and I eventually reached Disneyland, just about 3 miles away, and parked in a lot the size of a small European country. Walked through an impressive Downtown Disney to the House of Blues, to find quite a line already. We got told that eating a meal in the HOB restaurant (and keeping the receipt) would entitle you to be allowed in 15 minutes before the rest of the crowd. So despite the takeout style Chinese I’d had during the ballgame, we went and ate. Robyn H persuaded me that the one accessory I "had" to have for the show was a set of mouse ears with my name embroidered on the cap! So off we went to hunt them down, and so I was set for the show! Downtown Disney was impressive, and whilst Disney has never appealed to me in the past, I think I’ll come back for a full day next time. Good to see Mindy and Mari before doors opened, both seemed OK. And I was devastated when Tim turned up to inform us that we’d missed an exciting finish to the game - a 3 run tying hit in the bottom of the 8th by the Angels, followed by a winning run in the 9th. Angels won 8-7, D’OH!

The venue was similar to the HOB in New Orleans, and probably the others too. Decent sized stage but high, good sized square dance floor flanked by raised area to the sides, and a balcony to the sides and rear upstairs. Lots of wood, pillers, and tapestries hanging on the walls upstairs. Harmony Riley came on at 8.50pm and included a new song in their set, following Cheap Trick’s lead! We saw a brief fight in the crowd on Rick’s side near us, shortly before CT finally came on at 10 p.m.

RN – Black suit, black CT logo t-shirt

RZ – Black suit with fine white piping on jacket, black sleeveless t-shirt

TP – White cowboy hat, long white shirt, black pants

DN – Black pants, sleeveless black t-shirt

8 Miles Low drone intro, Stop This Game, Give It Away (new song), Stiff Competition, Downed, I Want You To Want Me, Scent Of A Woman (new song), Big Eyes, Didn't Know I Had It (electric), House is Rocking, You're All Talk, Words Can Never Say It (new song), She's So Bad (new song), I Can't Take It, If You Want My Love, She's Tight, Surrender / Dream Police, Never Had A Lot To Lose, Auf Wiedersehen w/Chad Smith, Goodnight Now w/Chad Smith, He's a Whore w/Chad Smith, California Man w/Chad Smith

After Stiff Competition, Rick informed the crowd about Bun E and introduced Daxx, and Tom informed us that Rick had chosen tonights setlist. Scent of a Women sounded good, it rocked and had a strong drum beat. Rick broke a string at the end of it. There was a strange "ending" to Big Eyes before the actual ending. After the song Rick mentioned that he’d heard about the car crash and hoped those involved were OK, which was a nice touch. House is Rocking started with a guitar drone, over which Rick chanted his advertisment for the Silver DVD. He broke a string during the song, and after it, Tom disappeared for a couple of minutes and returned having changed into his white bowling shirt with embroidered wording on the back. During I Can’t Take It, Rick mopped his brow and flicked a stream of sweat at Lisa J who was standing next to me, yeeuck! After the song the band had a short discussion and must have decided to drop the next two songs on the setlist – Borderline and 8 Miles Low. Chad Smith was again brought on after Lot to Lose, seemed he was joining the Trick tour too! He screwed on his own symbol and brought his own drumsticks, obviously both were stronger than Bun E’s and would cope with his style. Robin looked surprised as Rick started Goodnight Now, as the setlist showed Cal Man! Great Chad ending to Goodnight, he was grinning like a Cheshire Cat throughout, and was obviously delighted to be playing with CT! Rick took off his guitar, but Tom and Robin gestured him back, and I think Chad was calling for "one more" too. So they launched into Whore, then Cal Man. For the latter, Rick gestured Miles onto the stage from his place in the wings, and Miles helped with backing vox.

Another great show and more new songs. We milled around outside for a bit, before lot’s of goodbye’s and photo’s, and the late night drive back up to north LA.

Wednesday 18 July

Another early morning after the late night before, and not enough sleep! Flis brought Mari and Mika to the house before 9am, and after a 7-11 stop, I drove Tony H, Mari and Mika north towards San Francisco. We made good time, so were able to drive along the Embarcadero and across the Golden Gate Bridge! At last, my first full view of the bridge on my third visit! It was very windy on the far side as we took photo’s of the bridge and city skyline. Back into SF where we found the bar where we’d arranged to meet Lisa and Elsa with whom Mari and Mika would stay for a couple of nights. Good to see Rhonda too, at whose apartment I’d stayed for a night last year with the Fabulous Wheeler Girls!

We all finally left the bar at 7.30p.m, the girls heading back to their apartment and Tony and I walking the short walk to Pac Bell Park. We’d missed little in the first two innings (the game between San Francisco and Colorado started at 7am), and the score was 0-0 when we found our seats in the centre field bleachers, between the giant Coke bottle and the scoreboard. The Park is right on the bayfront and it was CHILLY! We didn’t realise it would be, though regulars were wrapped in jackets, gloves and hats! Cups of hot chocolate helped slightly. Highlights of the game were seeing Barry Bonds homer, not once but twice! The place erupted each time! Tony and I finally gave up our fight against the cold after the 7th Inning stretch (the game was safe for SFO, they led 7-0… no Angels type miracle comeback for the Rockies was likely!), and left. Drove the 45 minute drive to Palo Alto, where the Kelly’s had kindly offered us a place to sleep.

Thursday 19 July - SARATOGA, CA

After a nice home breakfast, I headed into San Francisco, driving around a little (up and down some of the famous hills), down famous zig-zag Lombard Street, before ending up in beautiful Golden Gate Park. It was tough to park near some of the main attractions, such as the Japanese Garden, but what I saw of the park was really nice, and it was a welcome oasis of green amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city. Back to Palo Alto early afternoon before we all headed off in one vehicle to Saratoga. We caught the first shuttle up from West Valley College to the Villa Montalvo, rather than pay their on-site $30 parking charge (ouch!). Cheap Trick played in Saratoga last year, but at the Villa’s Mountain Winery venue 3 miles away. This outdoor amphitheatre was close on the Villa grounds, and was a nice setting. The stage was wide but low, and the seating banked up in an amphitheatre, flanked on 3 sides by trees and grassland. Very pleasant. The refreshments reflected the high class venue, high priced locally produced wine and fairly exotic food. No burgers or hot dogs here!

Harmony Riley opened up at 7.30 and played a 6 song acoustic set. Cheap Trick came on at 8.30p.m and having seen their set lists stuck onto the stage before they came on, it looked to be another exciting evening!

RN – Black suit, black CT logo t-shirt

RZ - Black suit with fine white piping on jacket, black sleeveless t-shirt

TP – Black leather jacket, black pants, black turtle neck shirt

DN – Black suit, fuschia/deep pink shirt with wide lapels

Set 1

Hello There, Come On Come On, Lookout, She's Alright (new song), Give It Away (new song), Didn't Know I Had It, Had To Make You Mine, Love Comes, Borderline, Tonight Its You, California Man

Set 2

Cold Turkey, Fan Club, Waiting For The Man, I Want You To Want Me, Special One (new song), Mandocello, Tell Me Everything, Flame (short version), Surrender

Rick came on and played a dark green acoustic guitar for most of the night. He did the obligatory Bun E and Daxx announcement after Come On Come On. She’s Alright was played for the first time since it’s debut at the last New Years Eve, and fitted into this type of show better than I think it had at the NYE show. After Didn’t Know I Had It, Rick said that Robin had penned tonight’s set. Whilst talking he kept flicking out picks and remarked that the crowd at the show were all millionaires yet all they wanted was a guitar pick! True enough, the front rows were sold out to patrons of the venue well before going on general sale, and they were fighting over themselves for every pick being flicked out! During Had To Make You Mine (a welcome surprise in the setlist), Rick changed to his transparent yellow guitar and kicked over his stool, to leave only Robin seated. Love Comes was played with quite a country feel, and sounded very fresh for it. Before Tonight Its You, Rick looked back at Daxx and remarked "Hey Daxx, are you having fun?". Daxx shook his head to which Rick remarked "Hell, he’s getting paid". He asked again, and this time Daxx nodded, smiling. The band took a very short break after California Man, literally 3 minutes, which caught out a lot of people who’d gone out to refill their drinks or use the bathroom.

Cold Turkey saw a false start, and Robin was having feedback problems before starting Fan Club. Waiting for the Man absolutely cooked, after which Rick jokingly remarked that Tom was probably the only person on stage who could relate to this song! After, some banter, Tom replied that he’d only seen about it on the Discovery Channel, which cracked Rick up for a minute or two. Many of the crowd suddenly livened up for IWYTWM. Special One, a new song sounded slow and mellow. Sadly Words and I Can’t Take It were next on the set list but the band deliberated and dropped them, going into Mandocello instead. I later heard that the venue had a 10p.m curfew on bands, so it seems like CT had to radically cut songs from Set 2 which was a real shame. They then played Tell Me Everything, although the set list said Everything Works (which was dropped), and Don’t Love Her (as written on the set list – was this a new song or I Don’t Love Here Anymore) and Say Goodbye were dropped after the Flame. The band still ended up finishing at 10.10p.m, after curfew. Ricks 5-neck was on the side of the stage, but not used. Please to see SF fan Margie snag the album flat during Surrender.

It was a nice show, with some very welcome surprises in the setlist. However, I personally found the show a little less satisfying than last year. It was annoying to hear people chatting during songs, which was really noticeable since it was a acoustic show. Having seen the planned setlist, it made me wonder about the wisdom of having an opening band too, since CT had to cut 5 songs. They didn’t have any support at last years show at the Mountain Winery. Having said that, we still heard a great show, which I’m glad to have been at.

After much milling about, an impromptu post show get-together at the Kelly’s was arranged, so we all caught the last shuttles back to the College and drove back to Palo Alto. On the way back we stopped at another local legend I’d been advised to try, Krispy Kreme donuts! Hmmm… donuts… <drool!> There were probably 20 people at the house by the time we got back, and we ended up watching parts of the Silver DVD on the huge TV. The donuts were amazingly good, and it was a fun get together, though I was glad to get to bed at 2.40a.m!

Friday 20 July - MERCED, CA

The day of my final show. We all woke up early, so went out and had breakfast in the Peninsula Fountain and Grill, a real old fashioned diner in downtown Palo Alto. Great! Back at the house we relaxed for a while, which was very welcome after several hectic days. Tony and I finally said our goodbyes and left at 2.20p.m to drive the 2 hrs inland to Merced. We crossed over Dumbarton Bridge, up and onto 580 where we encountered very heavy, slow moving traffic. Very frustrating. Much of the blockage seemed to have no cause, though we hit another jam just past the intersection with I-5, which was caused by a fender-bender. We eventually reached the County Fair at Merced at 6pm, nearly 4 hours after we left Palo Alto… <sigh>. The venue and seating were similar to the Santa Maria County Fair, and many of the front seats were already taken. Again Tony and I ended up in the front row but off to the left on Rick’s side, in front of the speakers. My gourmet dinner this evening was the traditional County Fair corn dog (forgettable) and a cinnamon roll (yummy!). It was hot and sunny when we arrived, still 88 degrees. Phew!

There was no support act this evening, and Cheap Trick came on at 9pm.

RN – Black suit, black t-shirt

RZ - Sleeveless black t-shirt, black pants, blue denim jacket

TP – Cowboy hat, white shirt, black pants

DN – Black pants, black sleeveless t-shirt

Oh Claire, I Want You To Want Me, I Can't Take It, She's Tight, Lookout, If You Want My Love, Give It Away (new song), She's So Bad (new song), Words (new song), Mondoraga (new song w/vox), 70's Song, You're All Talk w/Miles Nielsen, Voices, Flame (short version), California Man w/long Brontosaurus intro, Surrender / Just Got Back, Dream Police, Goodnight Now

Tom played a brand new green-marbled Chandler bass for almost the whole show, it looked and sounded terrific! Security kept people away from the front of the stage throughout the show, which was OK as Tony and I had a decent view. After Lookout, Rick spotted someone on a mobile phone, so asked who they were calling? "Mom" was the reply, so Rick got the crowd to shout "Hello Mom" not once but twice! He then mentioned that Bun E had his surgery yesterday and introduced Daxx. After She's So Bad, Rick said that it was a "true" story about one of his girlfriends! Robin had the lyrics for Mandoraga pasted on stage, and the song was fairly uptempo with a slightly Eastern rhythm at times. It segued into the 70’s Song, after which Rick mentioned that it was his son Miles’ birthday today, and he got Miles to play guitar on You’re All Talk. During Surrender Rick threw out the usual signed flat, which arced back towards the front on Tom’s side. For the rest of the song Rick was laughing, pointing and gesturing to somebody over there. I later found out that it was Junko from Japan, who had dived forward full length to catch the flat, only to have someone steal it from her hand as she landed flat out on the ground :-( The show ended at 10.15, and other than a brief problem at the start when we couldn’t hear Robins vox for part of Oh Claire, the sound was great. It was certainly the clearest that I’d heard the new songs played.

After many goodbyes to various friends (including an impromptu group hug and rendition of "Yesterday" on the street outside the Fair – you "had" to be there to appreciate it!), Tony, Mari, Mindy and myself set off to drive the long journey south to LA. The main reason being that I had to collect my case, pack and be at LAX by lunchtime to fly home. The roads were fairly quiet and I stayed pretty alert throughout the drive, and we got back to Tony’s at 3.20 a.m. Time for a few bonus hours of sleep!

Saturday 21 July/Sunday 21 July

Time to go home. Left Robyn & Tony’s mid morning, and crawled south through the bumper to bumper traffic on 405 almost all the way to LA Intl Airport. Dropped off the hire car and checked onto my flight(s) OK. Calculated from the car mileage that I’d driven nearly 2,300 miles over the past 9 days, as well as mileage whilst a passenger to/from San Diego and Santa Ana. My back confirmed the travel marathon…

My travel curse kicked in with a vengeance, as late afternoon thunderstorms in the Chicago area caused my flight from LA to have to circle for an hour before landing late at O’Hare. It was a rush to get from Terminal 1 to the International Terminal 5 to catch my Manchester bound flight, but I (and a few others) just made it. I feared for my suitcase though. Sure enough we pushed away not long after schedule… only to sit on the tarmac for nearly an hour until we got a take off slot. No upgrade this time, though the economy cabin was OK and I had two seats to myself. We landed a little late too, and I wasn’t surprised to find that my suitcase hadn’t made it onto the flight. Caught a train through to Leeds, only to be informed that Leeds station was closed for Sunday engineering maintenance so I’d have to get a bus service from Huddersfield to Leeds. And another bus home on top of that. I was glad to finally arrive at my house mid afternoon, and I was in bed by 5 p.m! I was absolutely exhausted, and had to be at work early the next morning! And don’t worry, I was reunited with my suitcase 48 hours later!

BEST WISHES!

Daxx Nielsen was/is a fine stand-in for Bun E whilst Cheap Trick’s drum master is away having surgery on his back and recuperating. However, all Cheap Trick fans look forward to Bun E returning, "leaner and meaner" as Rick put it. To Bun E, hope the surgery is successful, and that you’re back (pardon the pun) better (and more comfortable) than ever very soon!

THANK YOU!

It was wonderful as always to see so many old and new friends along the way, and there’s no way I can name them all for fear of accidently missing someone out. So, you know who you are, and it was a pleasure! Many thanks to Rhiazann as ever for her hospitality in Wisconsin; to Robyn, Tony, Nichole and Brandon in LA for their hospitality again and for putting up with me; and to the Kelly’s in San Fran for their kind hospitality there. And last but never least, thanks to Cheap Trick and Carla as ever.

Kim  (They persecute me right here in Leeds, England – 27 July 2001)

 

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