It’s no great secret that Cheap Trick are self-confessed Anglophiles, if not Europhiles. In fact one early incarnation of the band was called “Sick Man of Europe” (featuring Rick, Tom & Bun). Whilst trips to Europe have not been frequent since the early 80’s, the UK has been pretty lucky to get the band over a few times over the last decade, most recently two shows in the summer of 2006 supporting Def Leppard.
In the spring of 2010, the band was invited by the UK’s Classic Rock magazine to perform at their annual “Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards” event in London in November. Happily for the bands group of loyal fans over here, Cheap Trick’s management used this opportunity to arrange a number of dates in Scotland and England around the awards show. Thus, over four years since their last visit to this side of the Atlantic, British and European fans had a number of shows to look forward to.
shows were booked across six days in the first half of November - in Glasgow,
Wolverhampton, Manchester and London. In addition, the Classic Rock Awards show
fell in between those dates, so a busy time was guaranteed for the band.
Saturday 6 Nov
An early start for me to what promised to be a busy week. Girlfriend Patricia was flying over from Chicago for the tour, and was due to land at Manchester at about 7am so I needed to be up around 5:15am to drive the 70 miles to meet her. Her flight ended up delayed by 45 minutes, time which I spent stuck in a diversion through the east Manchester suburbs due to several miles of the M60 motorway being closed for maintenance. Just what I needed. Anyway, I picked her up just after 8am and we drove back to Leeds. The morning was chilly but bright, and the hope was that the sunshine would remain for the coming week. The rest of our day was spent in and around Leeds, changing dollars into pounds, doing some shopping for the road trips ahead, and packing. The schedule meant short stops back here at Leeds, so the more we got ready now, the more time we’d save later! Trust me, you’ll understand as we go along!
Sunday 7 Nov – Cheap Trick in Glasgow
Not a bad morning weatherwise, dry and cool but mostly bright. We left Leeds at 8:45am and drove north on the 220 mile drive up to Scotland. Some of the English scenery was nice, particularly crossing desolate English moorland on the A66 from the A1 over to the M6. However, some of the scenery in southern Scotland was beautiful, with rolling hills and moors on the M74 before dropping down as we approached the outskirts of Glasgow. It’s a big city, but the M8 motorway took us very close to the city centre and, with the aid of our SPS/satnav unit we easily found the car park close to our hotel before 1pm. As it was too early to check-in, we walked down to Sauchiehall Street to view the venue. We walked into a nearby bar to find some CT friends already there having drinks! We chatted awhile before all getting some lunch at a nearby Italian place opposite the venue. Pat & I went off soon after 3pm to check into our hotel and change, before going back to the venue.
Around 5pm inside the O2/ABC, final set up was taking place, both on stage and by the venue staff. The stage was nice and wide, with about 40 ft of main floor in front for standing. There was a raised area with bar to the rear, with a small balcony above that. There was also a small, raised floor area to the right (Tom’s side) of the main floor. The capacity is around 1,500 or thereabouts I believe. Oh, and above the main floor was a huge glitter ball! I hope that was securely connected, I’d hate to be below that if it ever fell! The walls were black, with the stage flanked by deep red velvet curtains, and the venue was up on the first floor of the building.
The band arrived around 6pm, and soundchecked from 6:30pm. Interestingly they were joined by an accordion player, who I found out to be Mick MacNeil, a founder member of Simple Minds. The band played “Didn’t Know I Had It”, “Miss Tomorrow” (with accordion), “Miracle” and “Worlds Greatest Lover”. A very nice indication of tonight’s set list.
Doors opened soon after 7pm, and the band met a number of British and European fans (in a very crowded corridor) before the show began. The venue was pretty full by the time the audio montage started at 8:38pm. That was followed by that polite, American female voice announcing “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please welcome to the stage the best fucking rock band this town has ever seen… Cheap Trick”, with the band taking to the stage at 8:40pm to a very enthusiastic welcome.
black/white/red striped jacket, black shirt with multicoloured Beatles logos,
Hello There, Come On Come On, ELO Kiddies, High Roller, Cry Cry, IWYTWM, These Days (with accordion), Didn’t Know I Had It, I Can’t Take It, I Wish You Would, Miss Tomorrow (with accordion), Miracle, Southern Girls, Worlds Greatest Lover, Sick Man of Europe, Closer, Surrender // (encore) Need Your Love, Dream Police, Goodnight Now
The band started off with three classic songs – “Hello There”, “Come On Come On” and “ELO Kiddies”, each enthusiastically greeted by the large and enthusiastic Glasgow crowd. Rick was still nursing the bad cold/chest infection that he’d had when I saw the band the previous weekend in Michigan, but he wasn’t letting that stop him give his all. As usual he commanded the stage, flicking picks and goofing around, whilst delivering killer guitar chords. Early on it was clearly evident that the rest of the band was equally pleased to be playing back in the UK, and Glasgow in particular. Robin gave a masterclass in the art of singing, whilst Tom was rock solid on bass. The three original band members were very ably supported by Daxx Nielsen on drums (replacing the currently non-touring Bun E) and Magic Cristian on keyboards and backing vocals.
There was a short pause after “ELO Kiddies” when Rick said “So far so good”. The band then went into “High Roller”. The next song saw a false start before the band launched into a wonderful “Cry Cry”, a first album song that is rarely played live. That featured a long ending too which was pretty cool to hear. “I Want You to Want Me” was the perennial crowd favourite, with a huge reaction and singalong by the crowd. I think they liked it.
After that, Rick addressed the crowd “Yeah! Thank you very much! It’s wonderful to be back in Glasgow… I caught some of that flu down south – good news for you!” Pointing out the accordion player who’d come onto Tom’s side of the stage, he continued “We found this guy, Mick MacNeil, he’s more rehearsed than we are! This is our first show of the tour in the UK… I’ve been informed it’s been too long since we were last here and I fucking agree! We’re going to do some old stuff, new stuff, in-between stuff… party on!”
The band then launched into “These Days”, complete with accordion. Afterwards Rick announced that the song was from the recent “The Latest” CD, adding that the CD would be available free with the upcoming issue of “Classic Rock”. He continued that the album was on CD and 8-track, noting that “the 8-track has been the number 1 selling 8-track in the world for the last 7 months! It can be bought from our merch table, and please, no fighting for the last copy!”
The set continued with “Didn’t Know I Had It”, again a bit of a rarity in the setlist. That was followed up by the jaunty “I Can’t Take It”.
After that, Rick again addressed the crowd, despite the effects of his cold. He mentioned the band was doing 4 shows in the UK, then a show at the Classic Rock awards in London with Alice Cooper. “Is he scary?” The band then played the Yardbirds cover “I Wish You Would”. This had debuted the previous weekend in Harris, Michigan, though tonight there was far less “You’re All Talk” in it than I’d heard last weekend. This version was equally as cool to hear, and the Yardbirds were certainly a big influence on the band members when they were starting out. Afterwards Rick confirmed ”That was our interpretation of a Yardbirds song”. He continued by introducing Magic, Daxx, then “… the inventor of the 12 strong bass guitar, Mr Tom Petersson”, followed by “… my favourite lead singer in the whole wide world Mr Robin Zander”. He continued “Every mistake we make is real… we’re not like U2 with 20 guys under the stage and 4 on top! … Did I just say that?” That brought a big laugh. The band then went into “Miss Tomorrow”, again with Mick MacNeil on accordion and an interesting Irish/Scottish reel mid-song!
Afterwards Rick noted people “… from Deutschland… France… Dublin? Is that in Illinois? … Australia… Italy… New Zealand… and believe it or not, some people from GLASGOW!!” That of course brought a big cheer from the majority of the crowd. He continued “Remember, I don’t feel so good, so any sympathy…” to which the crowd gave him the sympathetic “Awwwww” that he sought!
The band continued this fine set with “Miracle”, followed by “Southern Girls” which hasn’t had an airing in quite some time. That was followed by a wonderful “Worlds Greatest Lover”, another live rarity, with all vocals done by Robin. This song has been part of this summers “Sgt Pepper Live” show at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, so it’s not like they haven’t played it live recently. However, at Cheap Trick shows, I don’t think it’s been played more than a handful of times (if that) since the Silver show in 1999.
“Sick Man of Europe” followed, very apropos with Rick feeling pretty crappy, but you wouldn’t guess from his playing. As ever, Tom’s quicksilver bass playing was amazing to witness. “Closer: The Ballad of Burt & Linda” was next, and for me is becoming a highlight. This Beatles-esque song highlights both Robin’s vocals and Rick’s guitar, and is just great. The main set closed with the quintessential CT song, “Surrender”, though mildly alarming to see Rick struggling with his coughing when facing rear stage. The man was a trouper, totally. Meanwhile, the crowd loved it, and at the end Robin said “Thank you for coming out to see Cheap Trick tonight, hope to see you down the road apiece”.
Rick soon came back on to a big cheer, and said “Thank you… I feel sick and don’t want to play any more… but fuck it, I AM!!” The band then went into a monster “Need Your Love”, followed by “Dream Police” and “Goodnight Now” – which featured a long intro as Rick’s guitar wasn’t on at the start. Sorry, I forgot to note how many endings that song had, probably 3! Or maybe 4!
The show ended at 10:10pm, and despite Rick obviously feeling under the weather, it had been a triumph. The band had enjoyed a rapturous reception from the Glasgow crowd, and had given a wonderful set. One show down, four to go. One could only hope that Rick would feel better before both tomorrow nights show, and particularly by Wednesday’s performance at the Classic Rock Awards.
Pat and I hung outside the venue with some of the fans, before having a drink nearby with friends from London, the US and France. Back to the hotel, and before bed I took off some of my pictures to send for use on the official website. So although there are pictures here, you can find more of my shots in the “Pictures” section of www.cheaptrick.com
Got to bed after midnight.
Monday 8 Nov – Cheap Trick in Wolverhampton
Monday morning in Glasgow was grey, damp and drizzly. Chilly too. We had breakfast in our hotel before leaving at 9:45am for the 280 mile drive down the M6 to Wolverhampton (near Birmingham). A few miles south of Glasgow we saw snow on the hills and around the barrier dividing the north and south lanes. The road was very wet but luckily not icy, and we probably drove for 15 miles seeing snow before the hills became green again. It rained all the way down to Wolverhampton, on and off. We reached our hotel, near the impressive Wolverhampton Wanderers football stadium at 3:10pm, right on time to check-in.
Our hotel was walking distance from the Wulfrun Hall/Civic Centre venue, and we met an old friend in a nearby bar from a drink and meal. Mike Hayes is, and I have to be careful how I word this (!)… my oldest Cheap Trick friend. I think I first corresponded with Mike back in 1981, so I’ve known him for nearly 30 years. Actually, aside from family I can barely think of anyone I still know from 30 years ago. It’s always great to catch up with Mike, and it was nice to meet his girlfriend too. Good to meet some other new Trick-friends in the bar.
The band arrived for soundcheck at 6:45pm, and hurried straight onto the stage as doors were meant to open at 7pm. The first three songs – “Lights Out”, “House is Rockin” and “Looking Out for Number 1” were all done without vocals, though the last song, “Downed” was sung.
The venue was a rectangular room with wood panelling and blue walls. The stage was mid-sized, not big but enough for the band to work with.
The audio montage started at 8:28pm and the band came on at 8:30pm to another enthusiastic welcome from the nearly full venue. There were probably 1,000-1,100 in attendance.
black suit, black shirt with white Beatles logos, bow tie
Just Got Back, California Man, Lights Out, IWYTWM, These Days, Borderline, Looking Out For Number One, I Wish You Would, On Top of the World, Don’t Be Cruel, House is Rockin’, 70’s Song, Ballad of TV Violence, Baby Loves to Rock, Sick Man of Europe, Closer, Surrender // (encore) Downed, Dream Police, Clock Strikes Ten, Goodnight Now
From the start it was obvious that we’d be getting a quite different setlist from last night in Glasgow. The show started with the pulsating “Just Got Back”, followed by “California Man”. That was followed up, very appropriately given where we were, by Slade cover “Lights Out”, and then “I Want You to Want Me”. Wow, the crowd needed a breather after that start, and so I suspect did the band. Rick seemed a little better than last night though was still struggling with his cold. After “IWYTWM” he addressed the crowd “Thank you very much, it’s great to be here. Hope you didn’t mind our version of that Slade song… we hoped Noddy would be here but… fuck him! We’re glad YOU’RE here! We have our new album out on Wednesday in Classic Rock… we actually have 28 albums… here’s one from the Latest”.
The band went into “These Days”. That was followed by two live rarities, “Borderline” and “Looking Out for Number One”, both of which were pleasing to hear. By this point I was already starting to think ahead and wonder what they’d pull out in Manchester and London.
After “…Number One”, Rick announced “We’re doing the Classic Rock music awards on Wednesday. It’s quite an honour, they brought us over. We were asked to learn a Yardbirds song, so with your blessing…” and the band went into another great performance of “I Wish You Would”.
Next up was “On Top of the World”. Rick again addressed the crowd, and started to talk to them without the mic, which may have made it difficult for those at the very back to hear. He introduced the band, first Robin, then Magic Cristian – “It’s his first trip over here, so if you have anything bogus to sell him…!” That was followed by Daxx, then “… Tom Petersson on the 12 string bass guitar” and last but not least, “… my favourite lead singer in the whole wide world, Mr Robin Zander”. He then asked “Why are we the only band in the world to have a Top 5 with an Elvis Presley song? ‘Cos they’re fucking hard to do! The band naturally went into “Don’t Be Cruel”.
After that Rick asked “Do you want to hear a song that really rocks?”, and starting up the glorious “House is Rockin”. That one hasn’t been heard live in a while either. That was followed by his usual intro, “Every time you watch That 70’s Show, that’s Cheap Trick doing That 70’s Song” and the band playing the very same song. Afterwards Rick noted “I guess you’ve never seen that fucking show? Anyway, It’s an honour to be in England, after 40 years of stealing ideas from you!”
That was followed by that pleasant little ditty, “The Ballad of TV Violence”, then “Baby Loves to Rock”, “Sick Man of Europe”, “Closer: The Ballad of Burt & Linda” and then “Surrender”. The audience were cheering and calling for more as Robin thanked the crowd, adding “Thanks for coming out to see Cheap Trick tonight, we appreciate you all”.
Rick soon came back on to ask “Does that mean you want to hear some more?” He got a big roar of “YES!!” in return. “Are you SURE you want to hear some more?” Again the big “YES!!” response. “Thank you very much , you’re a great crowd”. The band started the encore with “Downed”, followed by “Dream Police”, “Clock Strikes Ten” and an energetic “Goodnight Now” with 4 endings. The show ended at 10:01pm, with another very happy crowd who’d witnessed a great show and a great setlist.
As usual, the few minutes afterwards were spent chatting in the venue. I’d invited some of my family to come and see the band that had been so much of my life these past 30+ years, and I think they were impressed! Spoke to other fans too, and everyone had enjoyed the show. A few of us went back to the nearby Yates’ bar to have a drink and celebrate Lisa N’s birthday. Pat & I got back to our hotel about midnight. More work with tonight’s show photo’s before bed.
Tuesday 9 Nov
Today was the non-show day of the tour, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t busy! After breakfast at the hotel, we left Wolverhampton at 8:50am and drove the 132 miles in the rain up to Leeds, arriving at 11:10am. Had an hour and a half at home, unpacking and then re-packing, before getting a bus into Leeds centre and an early afternoon train down to London. Then caught a tube to near our hotel, dinner, and catching up later that evening with a couple of friends. It was chilly but dry in London.
Wednesday 10 Nov – Cheap Trick in London (Classic Rock Awards)
The morning was bright but very chilly, brrr! Pat & I did a long walk from 9:45am through to about 4:30pm. Changed at the hotel, and then caught the tube up to Chalk Farm, and the nearby “Roundhouse”, the venue for tonight’s “Classic Rock Awards”. We met up with Mike & his girlfriend in the bar next door (definitely warmer than standing outside!), and through the large windows to both the outside and inside to the Roundhouse lobby, we watched a few celebs arrive. Pat & I had missed Rick, Robin & Tom arrive, also a few others, but we did see Slash, Geddy Lee and Ronnie Wood arrive and brave the mob of photographers.
Guests were finally allowed in at 8:35pm, more or less after the celebs and industry suits had finished their meals on the main floor of the venue. We were escorted up to the balcony, half of which was closed off. There were 5 rows of seating and only about 75 guests allowed up there. We were lucky enough to get in the front row with a near straight-on view of the stage. The venue was, as its name suggests, circular. It was an old railway turning house, and in the centre was a ring of metal pillars. Luckily they didn’t impair our view too much. The stage was big and wide, with a large “Classic Rock Roll of Honour” logo suspended at the centre and banks of lights. We started seeing what celebs we could recognise, though at 8:43, Alter Bridge came on to play. Slash joined them for their second song, and they were done by 8:53pm.
The award ceremony started at 9:10pm, presented by the inimitable Alice Cooper and TV presenter Sarah Cawood . They rattled through the awards fairly quickly, with no listing of the nominees in each category, they just announced each winner. The public had been invited to vote in half a dozen categories, including Best New Band, Band of the Year, Album of the Year (for which Cheap Trick’s “The Latest” was a nominee) and Event of the Year. However, there were quite a few more categories, with the winners decided by Classic Rock magazine & sponsors. After seeing Neil Schon accept an award for Journey, Ronnie Wood accept an award on behalf of The Rolling Stones, a video message from Brian Johnson on behalf of best band AC/DC and Slash accept the Best Album award, we were pleasantly stunned to hear that the Classic Album Award went to Cheap Trick for their breakthrough album “At Budokan”! Woo hoo! Well, the four of us were excited, as were those on CT’s table! Rick, Robin and Tom went up to accept the award, with Rick joking “We’ve never had an award before!” and adding “We’re too dumb to quit!” He also thanked Classic Rock for putting a CD of The Latest in every one of the new issue, “… so we’ve sold 100,000 copies in the UK!”
I’ve never been to one of these award ceremonies before, and I have to say it was quite odd. Most of the attendees were music industry people, and many were chatting throughout the ceremony. Most of the award recipients, including Cheap Trick, were greeted with lukewarm applause, with only the likes of Jimmy Page and Ronnie Wood getting applause from the majority of the venue. A little strange. Anyway, we saw others, such as Rick Wakeman, Glenn Hughes, Wendy Dio (widow of Ronnie James Dio), Michael Schenker, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Roy Wood and John Paul Jones either present or receive awards. The final award of the night, the “Living Legend” award went to Rush, and was prefaced by a cool 2-3 minute video. That award was accepted by Geddy Lee. The awards finished around 10.15pm, and a 10 minute break was announced before Cheap Trick would take the stage.
The audio montage started at 10:24pm but was quickly stopped. Then a voice announced Cheap Trick, and the montage restarted at 10:25. The band hit the stage at 10:27pm.
black suit, white shirt, black bow tie
Dream Police, Sick Man of Europe, Closer, Surrender, IWYTWM, Goodnight Now
The band opened with one of their trademark songs, “Dream Police”. Being so used to seeing a melee in the crowd at shows when Rick throws out the pick showers, it was weird here to see the picks thrown out and barely anyone bothered to even pick one up. For the second or third shower Rick even came down the steps from the stage and threw them right at Geddy Lee’s table! Someone did then start picking picks up off the floor and looking at them, and that encouraged others in the crowd to come look for picks AND stand up for the show. By the end of the song pretty much everyone was on their feet.
“Sick Man of Europe” was next, followed by another new song, “Closer: The Ballad of Burt and Linda”. Cool to see swirly light patterns projected during this, very much in keeping with the mood of the song. There was a shorter ending to this song, as the band had obviously been given a time limit for their set. Next up was “Surrender”, and cool to see many in the crowd dancing along to this. No album flat was thrown out.
After “Surrender”, Rick briefly addressed the crowd. “Thank you so much for having us. To commemorate our award from Classic Rock, and to be involved in the current issue… I think you’ll know this one, here we go”. The band went into “I Want You to Want Me”, which of course went down very well. They closed the set with “Goodnight Now”, and wowed the crowd with 3 endings. The suits obviously weren’t as used to multiple endings as we are! Rick quickly closed with “Thank you, goodnight!” and the set was over at 10:47pm.
The band couldn’t have done better. They played a flawless 20 minute set, with a nice balance of two songs from “The Latest” as well as three classic hits and “Goodnight Now”. Rick showed no signs of being affected by his lingering cold, Robin sounded amazing as always, Tom’s bass filled the venue, and as ever the 3 original members were ably supported by Daxx and Magic. They cannot have failed to impress the industry suits.
We headed back to our hotel, just managing to get a late MacDonalds takeout before it closed at midnight! More photo work before bed!
Thursday 11 Nov – Cheap Trick in Manchester
After the brief “lull” for the award show, it was back to normal business, with the next two shows of the tour.
Thursday morning was dull, damp and breezy in London. We caught a train just after 9am, getting to Leeds at 11:25am. Two hundred miles north of London it was very windy, as well as grey and rainy. We got the bus from Leeds centre to my house, and left again at 2pm. This time it was just a “short” drive, 50 miles over to Manchester. The drive was tough going at times, with strong winds cutting across the highest stretch of motorway in England. We parked near Manchester University at 3:20pm.
The venue was on the first floor of the Students Union building, the “Academy 2”. The venue was another rectangular room, smaller than Wolverhampton, with a maximum capacity of no more than 1,000. The lower part of the walls was red, with the upper part dark, with dark curtains. The stage was, uhh… cosy… the smallest on the tour. There was hardly any sidestage room for the techs, and the stage monitor board had to be located in a small side room off to the side of the main floor. That would make the show very challenging for the stage monitors-tech. In fact, the stage was so small that barely 50% of the normal backline could be fitted on. Most stayed on the truck outside. The technical crew certainly had their work cut out to make everything happen in this tight venue and kudos to them for ensuring the show went ahead.
With the crowd just outside and waiting to get in, the band sound checked with “Big Eyes”, “Fan Club”, “Hot Love” and “The Flame”. Things were pretty rushed after that, but the audio montage started up at 9:24pm, with the band coming on at 9:27pm to an enormous roar of approval from the crowd.
Before I get into the performance, I must say that the show was sold out, and that was evident when I tried to get in at the back and literally could not get more than a leg into the room. It was packed solid, like sardines in a can. I ended up going to near the monitor soundboard off to the side of the stage, with barely a sightline because of the speaker stack on Tom’s side! However, I did creep in front of the security barrier a few times during the show to get some shots for the official website! One great thing about the small venue and packed crowd was that it really condensed the atmosphere. The crowd was fantastically enthusiastic and their energy really hit the band, which in turn helped the band pour out their energy back. Wonderful atmosphere.
red/white/black striped jacket, black shirt with multicoloured Beatles logos,
Way of the World, Hot Love, Big Eyes, He’s a Whore, If You Want My Love, IWYTWM, These Days, She’s Tight, Voices, Auf Wiedersehen, Fan Club, Sick Man of Europe, Never Had a Lot to Lose, Closer, Surrender // (encore) Taxman Mr Thief, Flame, Dream Police, Gonna Raise Hell
The band made a high energy start, with four classics back-to-back – “Way of the World”, “Hot Love”, “Big Eyes” and “He’s a Whore”. The band took a deserved breather (as did the crowd, probably!) when Rick took to the mic. He looked and sounded somewhat better than earlier in the week, and seemed to be finally shaking off his cold. “Yeah! Thank you for coming. I still have a bit of a cold… if you know this song, sing along… if you DON’T know this song, sing it louder!” The band went into “If You Want My Love”, and most of the crowd did know it as they sang along. That was followed by “I Want You to Want Me”, with the crowd again joining in lustily.
Rick again addressed the crowd – “Yeah! Besides looking great, you sound great! Thank you very much! Manchester! We’re just happy to be here… we had some trouble this afternoon… I was arrested for protesting against student fees!” That got a big cheer, and Rick was being very topical as there had been huge demonstrations in London the day before against large rises in university fees. And of course this venue was in a university! Rick continued “I got arrested and thrown in jail, and just got out!” Robin then briefly said “This is for Sharon, from Manchester” and the band went into “These Days”. That was followed by another crowd pleaser, “She’s Tight”, and this was yet another song getting its first outing of the tour! After, Rick actually said “We’re changing our sets every night, so if you hate our sets… tough!” He continued “We’re playing in London tomorrow. Did I mention we won an award last night? But the best album of the year went to Slash?? I think it was rigged… since we didn’t win all categories! Classic Rock comes out today with a free copy of “The Latest” – if you steal the magazine you still don’t pay for it!
The band continued with “Voices” followed by “Auf Wiedersehen”, and again I must remind you of the terrific energy and reaction from the crowd. Rick again took to the mic – “Tom Petersson on the 12 string bass… Tom, do you want to say anything? … He cares so much that he cares not to say! Magic Cristian on the keyboards… it’s his first time in England… the Eiffel Tower is right outside!” There was a little back and forth between Rick and Magic on stage, Rick continuing “He went to Spain once but he never went to England? It should be the other way round! Daxx Nielsen on drums. And my favourite lead singer in the whole wide world, Mr Robin Zander”, which of course brought a big cheer. Robin did the next introduction – “The next song is for all of you out there” and the band went into a wonderful “Fan Club”, another live rarity.
That was followed by the high energy “Sick Man of Europe”, with Rick reminding us at the end “That’s on The Latest”. That was followed by “Never Had a Lot to Lose", with Robin being very animated. The main set ended with “Closer: The Ballad of Burt & Linda” followed by “Surrender”. At the end Robin said “Thanks for coming out to see Cheap Trick, we’ll see you down the road apiece.”
After a short break, Rick came back on to a big cheer, and I needn’t tell you the answer to his question “Do you want us to play more?” He continued “We’ll not play one more lousy song… not two more lousy songs… we’ll play a LOAD more lousy songs! We have friends from Germany, the US, Sweden, Holland, France… Halifax? … London…” – the London mention met with a chorus of boo’s! He continued “We also have people here from MANCHESTER!” which of course brought a big cheer. He added “This reminds me of that student protest I saw…”
The band played a terrific “Taxman, Mr Thief”, after which Rick briefly said “Did I mention the greatest rock singer in the world?” That very same singer then made a fine job of “The Flame”, ably supported by the rest of the band of course! That was followed by “Dream Police”, and then “Gonna Raise Hell”. The set ended a minute or so after 11pm, curfew time. We didn’t get “Goodnight Now” which GRH normally segues into, but of course the band hit the time cut-off. However, no one could complain. It had been another wonderful set and a fantastic atmosphere.
A couple of things I must mention. “I Wish You Would” was originally in the set, but pulled before the show started. It would have been between “Voices” and “Auf Wiedersehen”. Also, the original setlist had “Goodnight Now” following “Dream Police”. However, at the end of the main set (during the encore break), the amount of time to curfew was noted and it was decided to replace “Goodnight Now” with “Gonna Raise Hell” which would take the band nicely to the curfew time. So that was a very nice, impromptu bonus for the crowd, even if they didn’t know.
As usual, fans chatted after the show in the venue and downstairs in the building foyer. We finally got away about 11:45pm, and it was another wet and very windy drive back over the Pennines to Leeds. Another late night to bed, 1am.
Friday 12 Nov – Cheap Trick in London
Another early start, as we had a morning train to catch back down to London. It was still very windy out, got to love the UK in November! We got the bus into Leeds centre and just caught out 9:05am train to London. We reached Kings Cross at 11:30am and had to run a quick shopping errand before getting back to Euston station to meet our long time Scottish CT buddy, Elliot. We grabbed some lunch near Kings Cross before checking into our nearby budget hotel. Hey, I wasn’t complaining at £29 for a hotel room in London! Good deal.
We all took the tube to Shepherds Bush, getting there at 3:50pm. It was cool, breezy and raining. We ran into a number of fans/friends outside the venue and in the Walkabout bar next door. Went into the venue at 4:40pm, a very cool, old theatre where the band had played in July 2004. It’s beautiful inside, with red walls, a large stage and large main floor (all standing). There was a raised area and bar at the rear of the main floor. Above that were three fairly shallow balconies. There were beautiful, ornate cream & gold details on the balconies, walls and above the stage. Spectacular.
Soundcheck started at 5:30pm, with Tom, Daxx and Magic playing (with no vocals) “Smile”, “Oh Candy”, “A Day in the Life” and “Lookout”. They were joined by Rick and Robin for “Cold Turkey” (no vox), “Stiff Competition” (with vox), “Best Friend” (parts, then the second half of the song, with vox), “Anytime”, “Wrong All Along”, “Tonight Its You” and “Cold Turkey” (all with vox) and finally “Rock’n’Roll Tonight” (no vox). The soundcheck finished at 7pm, just in time for doors to open. That was without doubt the most amazing soundcheck I’ve been privileged to see. The range of songs promised a setlist to make the most diehard fan melt with glee, and it was cool to see the band work so hard to ensure that things would be seamless and perfect during the actual show. After having given the fans three wonderful setlists already, this show looked like it would be the cherry on the cake. And lest anyone think I’m blasé… I was both excited and totally amazed at hearing what would be played tonight!
The place was almost full as showtime arrived. From my limited view, I could only see a few empty seats up on the third/top balcony. Everywhere else was full, with a packed crowd on the main floor, and several different European flags draped/displayed on the front security barrier as fans sought to show where they’d come from. The audio montage started at 8:32pm, with the band coming on at 8:35pm to a big welcome.
black suit, black shirt with multicoloured Beatles logos
Oh Candy, Speak Now, Stiff Competition, Best Friend, Lookout, Tonight Its You, IWYTWM, I Know What I Want, These Days, Wrong All Along, Smile, Anytime, Magical Mystery Tour, Cold Turkey, Sick Man of Europe, Closer, Surrender // (encore) Ain’t That a Shame, Rock’n’Roll Tonight, Dream Police
The set opened with three classic and high energy songs – “Oh Candy”, “Speak Now” (the first of many live rarities tonight) and “Stiff Competition” (which hasn’t been heard live in awhile). All received a cheer and big applause. After “Stiff Competition”, Rick took to the mic – “Yeah! Thank you very much, thanks for coming. This is the last night of the tour.” Then looking back at the band he asked “Ready Robin? Tom? Rest of you guys?” And with that they went into “Best Friend”, which has been out of the set for probably a year. A dark, brooding monster, that was really cool to hear again. The band then went into “Lookout”, which isn’t often heard live.
After that Rick reminded the crowd (in case anyone REALLY didn’t know) – “Just in case you’re not sure, we are the opening and closing band… we are the band Cheap Trick, thank you!” They went into “Tonight Its You”, followed by the ever crowd-pleasing “I Want You to Want Me”.
The band was sounding terrific, really tight and at the peak of their game. Rick was certainly healthier tonight than at any time during the tour. It’s hard to say that the band were any better than the opening night in Glasgow when they’d played a wonderful show. It just seemed that they’d improved slightly (if that is possible) with each show, and that this showpiece final tour show in London saw them at their best yet.
After “IWYTWM”, Rick briefly introduced Magic and Daxx, then added “Right now a song we haven’t played in awhile, but we’ve got Tom Petersson…”. The band went into “I Know What I Want” with Tom on lead vocals, and Robin was now wearing the black police cap. Afterwards Rick reminded the crowd, “Tom Petersson, the inventor of the 12 string bass guitar”. He continued “Hello to a few friends – you’re ALL our friends… we have people from all over… Germany, Italy, Japan, Israel? Estonia? Spain? France. Believe it or not some people from the US…” He also pointed out a couple of “celebrity” friends up in the first balcony. He continued “We got an award the other night from Classic Rock magazine. Inside the new issue is a copy of The Latest for everyone”.
The band continued with “These Days”, one of the only 6 songs that stayed in each set list through the tour. After that came the short but high tempo “Wrong All Along”, after which Rick again addressed the crowd “Cool! Our favourite lead singer in the whole wide world, Mr Robin Zander! Here we go, here’s another from The Latest”. The band went into “Smile”, another live rarity at CT shows though it had featured in the summers “Sgt Pepper Live” shows in Las Vegas. Very nice to hear. Afterwards Rick noted “We are Cheap Trick, we fear nothing!”
That was followed up by another from the self-titled 1997 album, “Anytime”. Very cool to hear this one again after many years. Rick again briefly spoke “Hey! Earlier this year we were asked to do something special…” He paused and noted “…the volume in this place is too quiet…” Maybe they were hanging on his every word? Anyway, he cupped his hand to his ear and got a big cheer in return. The band went into another infrequent visitor to the setlist, “Magical Mystery Tour”. As always, the band does a wonderful job covering The Beatles. The song had a long ending, and after the loud applause afterwards, Rick noted “Oh, so you’ve heard that one…!”
Next up was “Cold Turkey”, which hasn’t been played live in a lot of years. A glorious Lennon cover, which again the band nailed to perfection. That was followed by “Sick Man of Europe”, a wonderful “Closer: The Ballad of Burt & Linda” and the main set closer “Surrender”. The latter saw not one but two album flats thrown out – the first was a “signed “Dream Police” LP cover I believe, festooned with Rick picks; the second was a KISS album cover in keeping with the lines of the song and which had been bought in London just that morning!
The band left the stage to rapturous applause and cheering, and Rick soon came back on to check if the audience wanted to hear more. Very loudly they confirmed “YES!!” Rick responded “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts”.
The encore started with another classic, “Ain’t That a Shame”, followed by probably the most surprising song of the tour, at least for me. I’d been lucky enough to hear the first outing of “I Wish You Would” a couple of weeks ago in Michigan, so that hadn’t been a surprise to me earlier in this tour. But hearing “Rock’n’Roll Tonight” was a major, and very cool surprise. The closing song on 1990’s “Busted” album, I don’t know if it was ever even played live back in the early 90’s, certainly not more recently. I’ve never heard it live before. Anyway, the London crowd heard this “Move” cover for the very first time tonight, and from where I was standing, I could see the look of delighted shock on some of the diehard fans in the front row as they realised from the first few bars what this was!
The set closed with “Dream Police” which saw a couple of funny, unusual moments. Just leading up to Rick’s piece in the middle, Robin picked up Rick’s mic stand to move it to mid stage… only for him to be holding the top half whilst the bottom half remained at stage left! Rick’s tech hurriedly ran on and got the thing right just before Rick started his spiel. And that in itself was unusual, I didn’t understand a word of what he said!
Anyway, the show ended at 10:06pm with the band getting an overwhelming reception from the crowd, and deservedly so. It had been a breathtaking show. There was even the rarity of a group bow just before they left the stage.
After show was much as ever, with friends of the band crowded upstairs by the dressing rooms, whilst fans congregated on the main floor and later outside in the light drizzle to discuss the show. Some braved the weather for awhile outside, and were rewarded by Rick, Robin and Tom all coming to the barrier (restricting access to the stage door area) to briefly sign autographs and pose for pictures. For those who’d patiently waited, a perfect end to a wonderful night. By 11:15pm they were gone, and the tour was over.
Pat and I hung for a short while longer before saying our goodbyes and walking with Elliot to get the tube back up to our hotel near King’s Cross. To bed again after midnight.
Saturday 13 Nov
The Cheap Trick tour may have been over, but the travelling wasn’t! Many of the American and European fans were travelling home today. For us, it was back north. We were up at 7.30am to have breakfast before catching the 9.10am train back up to Leeds. Then a rush back to my house on the bus to dump bags and quickly change, before heading out again into the cold (but thankfully dry) day to meet up with some of my family. Of all days in the year, today saw my team, Bristol City, come to play Leeds United for the first time in 13 or 14 years. Hence our catching the early train up from London. So half a dozen of us drove to near Elland Road and joined nearly 25,000 others (mostly Leeds fans of course) for the afternoon match. I’d love to report a Bristol win, but we lost 1-3 to Leeds. A wonderful family evening meal followed, before Pat & I headed back to my house for Pat to pack for her flight home.
Sunday 14 Nov
Up early once more. Pat’s flight was at 10:30am, so we had to be up around 6.30am so I could get her to Manchester Airport in time to check in a couple of hours before departure. Unlike our travels to Manchester a couple of days earlier, the weather this early morning was far more benign. I dropped Pat off at about 8.40am. She had an 8 hour flight home to Chicago ahead of her, whilst I drove back to Leeds to catch up on some rest after a hectic week. By the time I got home I found I’d driven over 1,000 miles in the 8 days since last Saturday, as well as travelling 800 miles on rail journeys to/from Leeds. But of course every mile and minute had been worthwhile, with an amazing tour it had been! As the advert might have said: “The Cheap Trick 2010 UK Tour? Priceless. For everything else, there’s Mastercard”.
What can I say? It had been a fantastic week, with 5 fantastic shows from the band, and wonderful setlists with 60 different songs played across the 4 public shows. I’ve been lucky enough to see many runs of shows over past years; with Trickfests, the legendary Metro shows in 98 which spawned “Music For Hangovers”, tours in Japan and Australia… yet this run of 5 performances in 6 days is probably the best run of shows I think I’ve experienced. To think of the travelling the band had to do all over the country, the variety of venues, the enthusiastic crowds, plus the changing and surprising setlists (which couldn’t have been foreseen, even by the most optimistic of fans)… and not to mention the superb performances by each band member, particularly Rick struggling with a nasty cold for most of the tour… This mini-tour really has to be right up there for me.
HUGE THANKS must go to Rick, Robin, Tom, Daxx and Magic for those amazing shows. Stunning work from everyone to deliver what they did, flawlessly.
HUGE THANKS must also go to the bands road management team and to the stage crew. Without the hard work behind the scenes, the shows don’t happen. And believe me, all of these people earned their money during the week. Particular thanks to Carla as always.
Many THANKS also to Patricia for being such great, supportive and helpful company during the week. She didn’t see as much of me as she’d have liked (I think!) but she accepted all that without complaint. And thanks for helping out before the London show!
And last but by no means least, THANKS to the many old and new friends I met during the tour. I’m sorry that I didn’t get more time with most of you, but it was good to see you, however briefly. It was particularly nice to meet many fans from all over Britain and Europe, as well as old friends from the States. I have deliberately tried to avoid naming people in this review, because I know I’d miss people off and I’d hate to do that. But it was great to meet everyone, whether named or not! You know who you all are!
Phew! That’s the end? Thanks to you, dear reader, for sticking with this
marathon to the end. You deserve a tour medal of your own! Or a blast of The
Kim Gisborne, Leeds England – 18 Nov 2010
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