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Live Review: Cheap Trick, Big Return

Cheap Trick live at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkson, MI.

My love of Cheap Trick's music is pure. It is genuine. It is an unspoken family tradition. You see my cousins and I were raised -groomed if you will- to be fans of Cheap Trick, a rock band that shot to fame when our fathers were in high school, because of a random location and coincidental happenstance. My father actually spent his teen years living two doors down from the family home of Cheap Trick's lead singer Robin Zander in Rockford, Illinois.

Growing up I've heard stories about my father driving with his father and seeing what they thought was a pretty blonde chick sunbathing on a lawn chair only to realized, upon closer viewing, it to be Zander with his long blonde hair rolled around orange juice cans. I've lost count of all the stories my Aunt Margo and Aunt Denise have told me about Zander coming over to my grandparents' house to play the piano whilst my father kept a look out for my grandpa to come home.  I have listened to Cheap Trick's music my whole life as a result of them being my father's "hometown heroes." I've had the privilege to see them live before.  You would think that because I am so familiar with their music that the excitement would dim, but that's not the case. 

Lead singer Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson, & drummer Daxx Nielsen.

When the opportunity to see them came up earlier this month in Michigan, I jump at the chance.  I happened to catch the Trick in Clarkston, a quaint town with a great outdoor venue nestled within it. The sun was out and the weather was perfect. The band appeared on schedule, precisely the time that the ticket stated the show would start.  They opened with "Hello There," the opening track to their sophomore album In Color (1977).  Upon hearing Rick Nielsen ripping guitar riffs and Zander's electrifying voice boom "Hello there ladies and gentlemen. Hello ladies and gents, are you ready to rock?" you are instantly amped and ready for one of the best rock shows you'll ever attend.  

Lead guitarist Rick Nielsen playing one of the guitars from his 400+ collection.

The hits continued, punctuated by Tom Petersson on bass and Nielsen's son Daxx on drums.  The band saved their best known classics "I Want You To Want Me," "The Flame," and "Dream Police" for about three fourths of the way into the concert. One of their biggest hits, "Surrender," and the band's go to closer "Goodnight Now" served as the encores.

While Cheap Trick are no longer radio mainstays and haven't released a studio album in six years, they've continued to fill venues each year.  See the thing about Cheap Trick that keeps them going -in an industry that chews up and spits out bands as fast as they hit it big- is that THEY ROCK!  The band has been performing almost continuously for close to 40 years. Their shows are full of excitement and great music. The music is instantly recognizable due to its use in movies, commercials, and of course as the theme for That 70s Show. They are a band that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime - if not for the only reason being they are the epitome of what a great rock concert is and should always be.

Daxx Nielsen, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, & Robin Zander taking a final
bow at DTE Energy Music Theatre in  Clarkson, MI.

The band is currently on tour: 

Jul 24RAGBRAICoralville, IATickets
Jul 28Sands Bethlehem Event CenterBethlehem, PATickets
Jul 29The Paramountw/ Peter FramptonHuntington, NYTickets
Jul 31Tropicana ShowroomAtlantic City, NJTickets
Aug 01Blue Hills Bank Pavilionw/ Peter FramptonBoston, MATickets
Aug 02Foxwoods Resortw/ Peter FramptonMashantucket, CTTickets
Aug 05Molson Canadian Amphitheatrew/ Peter FramptonToronto, CanadaTickets
Aug 07Velter Stone AmphitheatreMankato, MN
Aug 08Celeste CenterColumbus, OHTickets
Aug 09The Rose Music Center at The HeightsHuber Heights, OHTickets
Aug 11Ferguson Center for the Artsw/ Peter FramptonNewport News, VATickets
Aug 12Regency Parkw/ Peter FramptonCary, NCTickets
Aug 14Beau Rivage TheatreBiloxi, MSTickets
Aug 15Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheatrew/ Peter FramptonPeachtree City, GATickets
Aug 16Ascend AmphitheaterNashville, TNTickets
Aug 21Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatrew/ Peter FramptonTucson, AZ
Aug 22The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel Las VegasLas Vegas, NVTickets
Aug 24Antelope Valley Fairgroundsw/ Peter FramptonLancaster, CATickets
Aug 25Wente VineyardsLivermore, CATickets
Aug 27Oregon Zoo Amphitheater w/ Peter FramptonPortland, ORTickets
Aug 28Marymore Parkw/ Peter FramptonRedmond, WATickets
Aug 29Wrigley Fieldw/ Foo FightersChicago, ILTickets
Sep 06Walworth County FairElkhorn, WI
Sep 11Eastern ID State FairBlackfoot, IDTickets
Sep 12Madera District FairMadera, CATickets
Sep 17Spokane County Interstate Fair Spokane, WATickets
Sep 19Spyglass Ridge Winery Sunbury, PATickets
Sep 20The Fillmore Silver SpringSilver Spring, MDTickets
Sep 22Keswick TheatreGlenside, PATickets
Sep 23Count BasieRed Bank, NJTickets
Sep 25St. George TheatreStaten Island, NYTickets
Sep 26The Capitol TheatrePort Chester, NYTickets
Oct 22Hard Rock Live @ Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoHollywood, FL
Oct 23Capitol TheatreClearwater, FL
Nov 06Fun Fun Fun Fest 10Austin, TX
Nov 07Bomb FactoryDallas, TX
Nov 20Baxter ArenaOmaha, NETickets
Nov 21Coronado Performing Arts CenterRockford, ILTickets

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