June 19 2018
This was always going to be an odd one for me.
As soon as the tour was announced, I was conflicted. Yes, I wanted to see Cheap Trick live but I sure wasn't thrilled that (yet again) they were merely the opening act for a considerably lesser band (in this case Poison, but it could have been almost anyone and I'd feel the same). So I had been thinking of grabbing a cheap lawn ticket just to see CT and then get the hell outta there.
Things got interesting when my pal Suzi contacted me during the day of the show (when I was still on the fence about going or not) and let me know that she had a spare lawn ticket I could use. Then things got real interesting when at the venue I was told that because of poor ticket sales (capacity is 16,000), the lawns were closed and everyone was getting upgraded! My new ticket was for a seat in sec 203 where I was pleasantly surrounded by empty seats all around me.
Before CT took the stage I killed time at one of the waterfront patios talking to fans and showing copies of my book. One poor guy had paid for the pre-show Meet n Greet and was so dejected about the minimal contact he had with the band that his spirit was crushed. As he told it, he literally had less than one minute with them for a quick photograph and they were not autographing anything at all. While he was telling me his tale, new CT touring member Robin Taylor Zander briefly walked around the patio area before returning to the backstage area.
This was to be the band's first appearance at the Budweiser Stage but of course they have been the opening act at this venue many times when it was known as the Molson Amphitheatre.
As for the show itself, I thought Cheap Trick were surprisingly strong sounding and it was good to see them again. Robin Zander was in pretty fine form although his son RT Zander is there to help with some of the vocal heavy lifting, which i don't have an issue with. The band played a 65 minute fourteen song set although they could have sacrificed the bass solo to fit another tune in there. At least it wasn't exactly an all 'greatest hits' show (something I abhor) with the appearance of two songs ("You Got It Going On" and "Long Time Coming") from their 2017 We're All Alright! album and the new single "The Summer Looks Good On You", which works way better live in an outdoor amphitheater than the studio version.
This is the set with appropriate notes on the guitars used (if you've read my book, you know that this is important to me. And if you haven't read my book yet, get started!) :
"Hello There" RN =Mahogany Dommenget Explorer Jr TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"You Got It Going On" RN =Gibson Explorer TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"California Man" RN = 'Rockford' custom TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"If You Want My Love" RN = Fender Jeff Beck Esquire TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"Long Time Comin' " RN =Gibson Historic Firebird 1 TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"Never Had a Lot To Lose" RN= Gretsch 'Billy-Bo' TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"The Summer Looks Good On You" RN = 'Disco Dick' TP =Gretsch White Falcon
bass solo TP =Gretsch White Falcon
"Waiting For The Man" RN =Gibson Brian Ray Signature SG TP =Gretsch White Falcon RZ = Guild F-512 acoustic 12-string
"The Flame" RN= 'Uncle Pepper' TP = quad 12-string RZ =acoustic
"I Want You To Want Me" RN= Gibson Les Paul TP = quad 12-string
"Dream Police" RN = checkerboard Standard TP = quad 12-string
"Auf Wiedersehen" RN = 'Uncle Dick' TP = quad 12-string
"Surrender" RN = 'guitar picks' Standard Matt DiRito from opening act Pop Evil= 'Gonna Raise Hell' Standard
"Goodnight Now" RN = checkerboard 5-neck TP = quad 12-string