Review by Diana MacDonald, photo by Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Niagara Falls, NY - This past Saturday evening, Cheap Trick found time in between their tours with Aerosmith, to headline a sold-out show at the Events Center, inside of the Seneca Niagara Casino. The band played a nice mix of classics and fan favorites from their extensive catalog of music. Their somewhat mellow 95 minute set was a crowd pleaser for sure, as the group and it's fans in attendance celebrated the band's almost 40 year history.
Going into the concert, I wondered what type of 'show' Cheap Trick would be able to muster, playing on the smaller Events Center stage, considering the band as of late has been playing amphitheater sized venues, which have much bigger stages. Although the stage was adorned with a nice array of customized "Cheap Trick" stage gear, it really wasn't anything special to look at. As mundane as the stage might have been, there was a great deal of excitement right off the bat, with fans coming to this show from all over the world. One lovely lady in the audience was pointed out as being one of their 'super fans,' whom has been to 187 shows, with her first being at the famous Budokan concert. Everyone seemed to find it very cool, and it's great that Cheap Trick recognizes their loyal fans like that. As usual, guitarist Rick Nielson did most of the talking, and I thought it was pretty cool and funny for Rick to say how "lucky" we all looked. Makes me wonder how many people had to run out and gamble after that comment. I'm sure that the casino didn't mind the subtle prompting!! Nielson once again showed his funny side when he told his story about meeting Elvis Presley, and having a #1 hit with his song, "Don't Be Cruel," right before going into a great version of the classic bluesy number. He said that Elvis either said to them "I like you guys" or "Get the %#Bleep out!"
One of the highlights of the show was vocalist Robin Zander's mesmerizing spot on vocals during "Need Your Love," and of course Rick's great array of vintage and unique guitars being used all throughout the night was pretty special. And speaking of guitars, when bassist Tom Petersson took center stage for a short solo spot, he was adorned with an amazing 12 string bass, an instrument that he invented in the mid seventies. After a cool bass solo, Petersson took lead vocals on "I Know What I Want," a gem from the "Dream Police" record. I'd have to say that one of the most popular songs of the evening turned out to be 1985's MTV Classic, "She's Tight," which started out with a really sweet guitar feedback intro. Also, after playing a few of their slower songs, although "I Want You To Want Me" got the well deserved standing ovation, it was the song "Dream Police" that really got everyone moving again (and happens to be one of my personal favorites).
The encore portion of the concert included the song "California Man," where Rick Nielson brought out his trademark 5 neck guitar. It seemed that everyone in the audience, that had their camera phone, started taking pictures of this monster guitar. But for me, and a lot of other women out there as well, who love acoustic guitar driven songs like I do, "The Flame" was the true standout moment of the show. Nothing is better than a band getting down to the basics with an acoustic part in the show and still kicking our asses just the same.
Some people may consider Cheap Trick an 'oldies group' or a 'nostalgia act,' as Nielson pointed out earlier in the night, these gentlemen may be "so old" that they have been around long enough to have actually talked with Elvis (HA!). However, no matter how old they are, Cheap Trick is not an act to be missed, and I for one, hope that they keep touring and come back to rock it out with us fans for many years to come.
Way of the World
I Can't Take It
If You Want My Love
That 70's Song
On Top of the World
Don't Be Cruel
Need Your Love
Tonight It's You
I Know What I Want
Stop This Game
I Want You To Want Me
Special Thanks to Tony Astran for making it all happen for this show!