Classic rockers Cheap Trick rolled into Windsor on Thursday (Jan. 17) with fans either loving the show or hating it and walking out early. The 46-year-old band was loud and lively when they took to the stage at The Colosseum, diving deep into their classic catalog early on.
After their traditional Hello There opening, the band kicked into You Got It Going On, a favourite of theirs from the 2017 album We’re All Alright – and that’s when the catalog jumping became. They dove into 1977’s In Color for a few, including Big Eyes, pulled out a couple from 1978’s Heaven Tonight like California Man, yanked out some from 1979’s Dream Police such as Need Your Love and threw in Ain’t That A Shame from the 1979 live album At Budokan.
By the 12th song, some fans were getting a little restless with the deep album cuts. It wasn’t until late in the show they played their first hit single of the night, Voices from Dream Police. That’s when the cheers got a little louder and the arms started waiving a bit more. From that point on the band played three more hits (I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police and Surrender) before calling it a night with Goodnight Now.
The band has noticeably aged, but vocalist Robin Zander still pulled off some great vocals and drummer Daxx Nielsen (son of guitarist Rick Nielsen) was right on the money all night, although a bit too fast for the glorious drum parts of Ain’t That A Shame. Robin’s son Robin Taylor Zander was also there on second guitar.
Bassist Tom Petersson seems to have aged the best. His 12-string bass solo was fascinating and his vocals on their cover of The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For The Man was simply the highlight of the show. He’s got a deep Leonard Cohen feel to his voice that gave the show a little bit of a smoky break from the usual Cheap Trick pizzazz.
Cheap Trick’s 70-year-old iconic guitarist Rick Nielsen was a bit like a young kid with ADHD. Throughout the show he was swinging his arms, bouncing around and consistently tossing handfuls of guitar picks into the crowd. There was a sense that he still loved being the rock star on stage. As with most showmen though, the big arm movements and flashy jesters hurt his playing a bit.
Having seen the original band rock Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in 1980 I had a certain image in my head that 39 years later, they’d never be able to live up to. Visually, the show was stunning with plenty of lights, lots of stage movement and Rick’s incredible collection of guitars. Sonically, the show lacked a clean sound, but at least we can credit them with keeping it honest and still putting on a good show. As for song selection, the 85-minute set was a bit short and had less than a handful of recognizable songs for anyone other than deep fans. It wasn’t a bad show, it just felt incomplete and quick.
I’m up for another Cheap Trick adventure in the future, I’d just like to hear all those great songs we grew up with.