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Cheap Trick came into London following 5 shows in Germany during the preceding week (set lists for those and the Dublin show hopefully to be added to this review within a few days). The German shows were in different cities, though the setlists changed quite a bit each night as the band reacquainted themselves with certain songs for the London "album" shows.

The three nights at London’s intimate "Garage" venue at Highbury were billed as being "Songs from…" the first three albums, along the lines of the album shows in various US locations during 98/99. As it turned out, the band played the whole of their debut album on night #1, the whole of In Color on night #2, and the whole of Heaven Tonight on night #3!

The stir about the London "album shows" spread far and wide, with fans coming to London from all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. And to make this an international affair (as many of the album shows in the US were), visitors travelled to London from Holland, France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Japan and from various parts of the USA (and there may have been fans from one or two other countries too…). I went down to London two days before the shows, to meet up with some of the people from overseas, and the morning/early afternoon of each show day saw my going sightseeing with some of them.

Monday 11 June

The day dawned dry and mostly sunny, so ideal for going to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, then walking back up Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus, then up Shaftesbury Avenue to London’s small Chinatown.

We got to the venue during the afternoon. Set close to a busy main road, the outside was small and incongruous, with no headline board or marquis to announce shows. The band arrived between 4.30 and 5pm to soundcheck, the only day they did so. We only heard snatches of one song from outside, Cry Cry.

Doors opened at 7.30, and we entered to find a small, intimate club. The ceiling and walls were all painted a very dark blue, making it extremely dark, and the ceiling was very low. The stage was to the left as we entered, with a slightly raised bar area at the rear (to our right). The opening act was Chicago’s Nash Kato, who I’d seen open for CT in Colorado 10 months ago. How they fitted onto the small stage in front of CT’s kit I don’t know! Nash played a 30-35 minute set, finishing around 9pm. As before, it was interesting to watch King Richard playing drums in the style of the legendary Keith Moon. Those at stage right (Tom’s side) had to squeeze in at the end, as the opening band’s equipment had to be taken off the stage at stage right, through the crowd and out of the doors on that side. And apparently Elastica’s Justine Frischmann was spotted amongst the crowd.

Cheap Trick came on at 9.35pm to a venue-filling crowd approaching 500 enthusiastic souls!

RN – Shiny black suit, black t-shirt with white-on-white embroidered Japanese characters

RZ – White suit, black & white hooped shirt

TP – Black & turquoise "Get A Long Little Doggie" shirt, black pants

BEC – Dark patterned shirt, black pants

Set List:

ELO Kiddies, Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School, Taxman, Cry Cry, Oh Candy, Hot Love, Speak Now, He’s a Whore, Mandocello, Ballad of TV Violence, Fan Club, an impromptu two verses of Who d’King, I Can’t Take It, Surrender/ Voices, Dream Police, Lot to Lose, Goodnight Now

The band played a terrific set, though there was little stage banter during the "album" part of the show. Rick played up to the crowd as usual, but it looked like Robin and Tom were concentrating on the show. Bun E was… well, Bun E, the usual powerhouse on drums. At the end of Oh Candy, Rick joked about it now being time to flip over the record, and that they were now going to play side 1 or side A, whichever it was! He noted that the album was so good, it didn’t have a side 2! After He’s a Whore Rick noted some of the visiting fans, some of whom had been to the shows in Germany too. Tom broke a string during Mandocello, which led Rick at the end to proclaim "Tom Petersson on the 11 string bass!" After Fan Club, Tom was having some technical problem fixed, which caused various fans to shout out song titles during the pause. One shouted "Who d’King", of which Bun E promptly picked up the beat, and Rick led 2 boisterous verses, which sadly stopped shortly before we could all sing the "hula hula’s"! Definitely a nice and unscripted bonus! Surrender saw an unplanned false start, with a CT97 flat thrown out. Only 4 of the new Rick "R’s" picks were attached, and Rick was sparing in flicking out picks during the shows too, due to a very limited supply. The show finished at 11pm, and it was certainly an excellent opener for the 3 night run. As British pubs mostly close soon after 11pm, and the London Underground closes soon after midnight, we soon headed out and back to respective hotels. Roll on night #2!

Tuesday 12 June

Another fine day, and the morning’s sightseeing took us to Leicester Square, down Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch, and down Whitehall, taking in Horseguards Parade and Downing Street en route. Finally, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, and into a very crowded Westminster Abbey.

Doors again opened at 7.30pm, with opening band Of Arrow Hill going on at 8.20 and receiving a lukewarm response. Cheap Trick took the stage at 9.30, to another vociferous crowd, many of whom attended all 3 nights. Apparently Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden was amongst the fans for the show.

RN – Suit with fine black & white check (looked light grey from a distance), black "Bialystock and Bloom" t-shirt

RZ – Black suit, black shirt, white cowboy hat, shades

TP – Red t-shirt, black pants

BEC – Blue flowered shirt, black pants

Set List:

Hello There, Big Eyes, Downed, I Want You to Want Me, You’re All Talk, Oh Caroline, Clock Strikes Ten, Southern Girls, Come On Come On, So Good to See You, Ghost Town, I Know What I Want, Just Got Back/ Shelter, Dream Police, Look Out, Goodnight Now

The band seemed a little more relaxed with night #1 out of the way, and the show reflected this. Night #1 had been very solid, but tonight took things up a notch further. As Bun E took to the stage, the crowd started singing "Happy Birthday", not all in the same key, but nonetheless a moment appreciated by the drum king I think! Rick had reminded everyone the previous night that it would be Bun E’s birthday today. Again, not too much banter from the stage during the album set, though after You’re All Talk, Rick held out the mic into the crowd and invited comments on the album. After Clock Strikes Ten, Rick read out a fan letter, a real tale of woe from a British fan whose ex had destroyed the guy’s entire CT collection upon their parting, including trashing his computer upon which he had CT photos stored. The letter asked if he could get a photo with the band after the show. Despite a few wisecracks during the reading, the tale was certainly a sad one, and Bun E invited the fan backstage after the show to "share a brew…" I don’t know if it happened, but I hope it did. After So Good to See You, Rick introduced Australian tennis player (and Wimbledon winner in ‘87) Pat Cash onto the stage, where Cash confessed where he’d got the idea for a checkerboard bandanna from! He wasn’t given a guitar to play, though Rick tied a checked bandanna around Pat’s head… then one of his prized (and rare) checkerboard guitar straps too. The appearance of the tennis star was enough to send one Australian fan into a frenzy of excitement! Both Ghost Town and Shelter were particularly well performed, but in truth, the whole evening was memorable. The band would have to work hard on night #3 to top this…

Wednesday 13 June

A slightly duller morning, but still dry and warm. The morning saw a trip to St Paul’s Cathedral, and we (breathlessly) climbed the five hundred plus steps, first to the Whispering Gallery (it works, we sent messages of "Heaven Tonight", "Take Me To the Top" etc around the walls of the dome!), then to the higher outside viewing gallery, and finally to the small viewing gallery at the top. Spectacular views of London in every direction. After that, down to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and fish and chips. The end of 3 whistle stop mornings of some of the main tourist sites of London.

There were no posters or announcements of any kind outside the venue that CT were playing, and after frequently being asked by passers by who we were waiting to see, one enterprising fan used a lot of Post-it notes to put up her own imprompu "Tonite – Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight – Sold Out" message at the venue entrance.

Again we got in around 7.30pm, and the place soon filled up – tonight was officially a sell-out. The openers were two guys from The Quireboys, who played a 25-30 minute acoustic set. Cheap Trick were on a little later, just after 9.35pm, and proceeded to play what I heard many fans later describe as one of the best shows they’d ever seen…

RN – Black suit, black t-shirt

RZ – Black suit, white shirt

TP – Blue shirt with white piping, blue jeans

BEC – Back & White patterned shirt, black pants

Set List:

Oh Claire, Surrender, On Top Of the World, California Man (with Roy Wood on guitar and co- vocals), High Roller, Auf Wiedersehen, Taking Me Back, On the Radio (with British rock DJ Tommy Vance), Heaven Tonight, Stiff Competition, How Are You, Walk Away (with Chrissie Hynde on backing vocals), Stop This Game, Lot to Lose/ Voices, Dream Police, Gonna Raise Hell

There had been speculation for a day or so as to whether Roy Wood would make an appearance. As it was, he passed through the packed venue around 10 minutes before CT were due on stage, and sure enough, he took centre stage for a wonderful rendition of his song, California Man. He was all dressed in black, and he and Robin shared the lead vocals, and as in Nottingham in July 98, the mutual respect and warmth that CT and Roy have for each other was very evident. But the fun didn’t stop there. Rick introduced "On the Radio", and it was national rock DJ Tommy Vance who supplied the DJ spiel in the middle, to much delight from the crowd. He did a terrific job! In case he didn’t make it, the band did have a substitute lined up… but I didn’t need to take to the stage! Before Heaven Tonight, Rick apologised that the London Symphony Orchestra couldn’t be there, but that we’d have to just imagine them! During the song Rick handed his guitar to a fan up front.

It was hot and humid in the intimate venue, so it must have been even worse for the band under the stage lighting, but there was no let up. The major surprise was of Chrissie Hynde being announced to help perform Walk Away. Dressed in a pink sweater and scarf and white trousers, she did backing/harmony vocals, though I heard later that she was struggling to read the lyrics pasted onto the stage. She was standing at a mic on Tom’s side of the small stage, but the lyrics were pointed towards Robin… However, a tremendous "duet," which was one of the highlights of the 3 night run. And the night, and the London run, was ended by a fantastic, climactic rendition of Gonna Raise Hell, and more than one fan later confessed to have been in tears during it. It honestly rivalled the version performed at the legendary Metro shows and which appears on the "Music for Hangovers" CD. The roar of the crowd at the end almost took the roof off… the band had given everything tonight, and at least one of the American fans there who had been to possibly close to 100 shows remarked that this was probably one of the finest two shows she’d ever seen CT perform, coming close to the Rockford "Silver" show.

And so ended a successful return to London for the band, and we can only hope that they will return to Europe in the not too distant future, and be able to tour more extensively.

I was lucky enough to have met so many old and new friends, from all over Britain and the world. There were too many to list (and I’m sure I’d miss off some names too), so I’ll just say to everyone I met, it was a real pleasure to see you and spend time (long or short) with you! And of course, particular thanks to Cheap Trick, Carla and the crew! Hope to see you back here again soon.

Other setlists:

4 June - Berlin - Ain't That a Shame, ELO Kiddies, I Can't Take It, Downed, I Want You to Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, The Flame (short version), Southern Girls, Surrender/ Ghost Town, Dream Police, Lot to Lose, Goodnight

5 June - Munich - (Soundcheck: So Good to See You, Stiff Competition); Ain't That a Shame, Hello There, I Can't Take It, Downed, I Want You to Want Me,  I Know What I Want, Wrong All along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, The Flame (short version), Southern Girls, Surrender/ Ghost Town, Dream Police, Lot to Lose, Goodnight

7 June - Ludwigsburg - (Soundcheck: Mandocello, Cry Cry, Daddy, Takin Me Back, How Are You); Ain't That a Shame, Hot Love, I Can't Take It, Big Eyes, I Want You to Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, The Flame (short version),
Southern Girls, Surrender/ Mandocello, Lot to Lose, Goodnight

8 June - Hamburg - (Soundcheck: Fanclub, Loves Comes Around, On The Radio, Stiff Competition, How Are You, Takin Me Back, Auf Wiedersehen, Fanclub, Mandocello); Ain't That a Shame, Hot Love, I Can't Take It, Takin Me Back, I Want You to Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, The Flame (short version), Southern Girls,
Surrender/ Mandocello, Dream Police, Lot to Lose, Goodnight

9 June - Cologne - (Soundcheck: Cry Cry, Daddy); Ain't That a Shame, Stiff Competition, Daddy, Takin' Me Back, I Want You to Want Me, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, The Flame (short version), Southern Girls, Surrender/ Mandocello, Dream Police, Auf Wiedersehen

15 June - Dublin, Ireland - Ain't That a Shame, Hot Love, I Can't Take Tt, Downed, IWYTWM, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, 70's Song, If You Want My Love, Voices, Flame (short version), Southern Girls, Surrender/ Ghost Town, Dream Police, Lot to Lose, Goodnight Now

(Thanks to Lars & Rosie in Sweden for the German setlists, and Andrew in Dublin for the Irish setlist)

Kim  (They persecute me right here in Leeds, England – 14 June 2001)


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