So, most people that know me already know this; I am a really big Cheap Trick fan. I have seen them at least 60 times since the early ‘80s and every time, without a doubt, I get the excited-to-see-a-concert butterflies in my stomach that I always get. It was no different as I waited for them to take the stage this past Wed. night Oct. 16 at the Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair.
What does change for me is how much I love their set lists. I recall a few years ago, when they played the Long Beach Grand Prix, I was a little bummed at the choices, other times I am so happy that I can barely stand it. I’d say this show was closer to ‘happy’ for me. The band played a good chunk of my favorites and seemed to have an extra kick of jamming rock in them that night.
I do think that when a band that tours as much as Cheap Trick and has a roster of so many songs, they have to vary their set lists just to avoid boredom for themselves, but also there is some ebb and flow in their energy levels. Having seen so many shows, I can say the energy was way high for the Phoenix fans—and I think in part because of them.
The set opened and with the traditional “Hello There” and closed with “Goodnight;” and in between we were treated to an array of hits, newer tunes and fan favorites.
Some highlights were “Tonight It’s You,” “If You Want My Love,” and “She’s Tight,” the only song besides “PlayThat Funky Music” by Wild Cherry that I will dance to in public (while sober that is!)
A song that I normally feel like I get too much of, “The Flame,” was particularly good at this show—Robin Zander’s vocals were spot on and the acoustic, solo-vocal lead-in of the first verse made a nice show moment. I was also really happy to hear them do “Never Had a Lot to Lose,” – it’s been a while…
Also of note was the great performance of the Tom Petersson-sung “I Know What I Want.” Petersson has progressively come more and more out of his shell over the years and his performances, whether singing lead or not, really stand out.
Rick Nielsen seemed particularly on fire with his guitar jams, while his son Daxx rocked the house with some stellar drum jams including a solo that even Neil Peart would stop and notice. Rick seemed particularly fired-up when his five-neck came out, jamming on it and with it a little more than usual.
And lest you think I am forgetting the consummate rock lead-singer; Robin Zander sang his heart out. It’s impressive that the 60 year-old can still hit the higher notes and that his voice is strong and clear, not everyone can retain these vocal qualities as they age. And it still must be said – he’s hot.
Great job Cheap Trick, thanks for bringing Phoenix fans a terrific show!
Set List: Cheap Trick - Oct. 16, 2013
Tonight It’s You
If You Want My Love
I Can’t Take It
Ain’t That A Shame
I Know What I Want
That 70s Song
I Want You To Want Me
Sick Man of Europe
Never Has Lot to Lose
Clock Strikes Ten
Gonna Raise Hell (added song, not on set-list)