Hard Rock Casino
The legends from Rockford, IL, rocked out at the Hard Rock Casino, Vancouver to close out the year.
After a few days of R’n’R, following a successful European tour supporting Def Leppard, consummate entertainers, Cheap Trick were in town to play a one-off date at the Hard Rock Casino, Vancouver.
There probably isn’t a better band to help work off the excesses of Christmas, and to get fired up for the New Year celebrations. The 2016 Rock and roll Hall of Fame inductees, have been playing together since the early seventies, and it is fair to say that by now they have their performance down to a fine art. This isn’t to say the band are dialing it in, in fact, far from it. Throughout the show the band displayed not only their musical talent, but their sense of humour with an easy rapport with their fans, which is testament to their ability to know what the crowd wants to hear.
Starting the set with the natural opener, Hello There, everyone was quickly on the same page as singer Robin Zander – “are you ready to rock?” – we sure were, and so were the band. Not only were they ready to rock, but they were in the mood for handing out presents. There is a reason why Rick Nielsen has so many guitar picks stuck to his mic stand. Before Big Eyes had even got going he was flicking them out to the crowd, pinging them at photographers, and placing them on the security guard’s head 😊
For the next hour and half the band powered through a great selection of hits including California Man, Borderline and On Top of the World, drawing heavily on their earlier work, and peppering this with some great covers, and a few of their newer songs.
In addition to being great songwriters in the own right, Cheap Trick are not averse to doing a few covers, and when they do them, they do them well. Daxx Nielsen on drums provided a great intro into a raucous version of Fats Domino’s Ain’t That A Shame, the first of three back to back covers.
After a bit of banter with the crowd Rick Nielsen mentioned he had been playing a few nights earlier with Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera before the band launched into In Crowd, which had also been a hit for Brian Ferry.
The last of the covers was a real change of pace, with Tom Petersson opening with a great bass solo (on 12 string bass), before taking the lead vocals on one of my favourite tracks of the night, Velvet Underground’s Waitin’ for the Man.
After this the band ramped up the nostalgia a notch, with eternal crowd pleaser, I Want You to Want Me, which seemed to bring a few more of the seated patrons down onto the floor.
It was a good time to get down on the floor as well, with Dream Police in full swing Rick’s guitar pick distribution turned into a shower, and with Robin Zander joining in the festivities by signing albums, and them into the crowd. After Never Had A Lot to Lose the band closed out the night with two of their classics, Surrender, and Goodnight – during which Rick brought out his outrageous five neck guitar, a perfect way to end the night, and send the fans home with a smile on their face.
Photos: Stewart Johnstone