Cheap Trick - Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall - 8th November 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Rob 'The Doctor' Watkins   
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 05:00

CT_2"Hello there über ladies and gentlemen, hello there über ladies and gents. Are you ready to rock, are you ready or not?"


I've certainly waited a while for this and as I rise the steps into the Wulfrun Hall, along with Über Röck head honchos Johnny 'World's Greatest Lover' H, and Gaz 'He's A Whore' E we are immediately greeted with the sight of legendary UFO bassist and ligger Pete Way mingling amongst the masses. So it would seem I'm not alone in my love of tonight's live spectacle, all the way from Chicago, Illinois, the one and only maestros of the power pop genre, the mighty Cheap Trick.


Billed as "An Evening With.........." we have no support acts tonight, leaving the close to capacity crowd to saunter around until 8.30 and then suddenly it's showtime.


The intro tape that heralds the band's arrival onto the stage is a strange mixture of snippets from Trick classics along with voice overs from legendary characters such as Apu from The Simpsons singing the chorus to 'Dream Police', then as the lights dim an announcement over the P.A. system declares the arrival of  "The Best Fuckin' Rock Band You've Ever Seen......Cheap Trick."


'Just Got Back' certainly opens things up in style, before the next two songs illustrate the influence that musicians hailing from the Midlands has had on this bunch of Yank rockers over the years segueing The Move's 'California Man' straight into Slade's 'When The Lights Are Out' from Cheap Trick's most recent album 'The Latest'. Judging by guitarist Rick Nielsen's post song comments a certain large side burned frontman was invited to participate in proceedings tonight but hadn't turned up. Shame really as that would have been a real show stopping moment.


CT_3As usual Cheap Trick set about mixing up their set list and it's great to hear album tracks like 'Borderline' and 'Lookin' Out For Number One' standing alongside more established tracks such as 'I Want You To Want Me'. Perhaps my one criticism of tonight would be the inclusion of too many cover versions with Billy Boy Arnold/The Yardbirds' 'I Wish You Would' (apparently introduced to the set for the Classic Rock Awards later that week) and of course the adopted 'Don't Be Cruel'. In fact this is especially cruel on us fans when you think of the vast array of self penned songs the Trick possess within their back catalogue that perhaps seldom get a look in these days.


Rick Nielsen's banter between songs is still as funny as ever with the guitarist declaring mid set that "it was great to be back in England a country they'd been stealing ideas from for over forty years now." Next to him stands the ever present mean and moody but uber-cool vocalist Robin Zander legs akimbo guitar/mic stand in hand strutting his stuff like a man half his age. And let's not forget the classic 12 string bass sound of Tom Petersson looking like a cross between Tim Burton and John Taylor from Duran Duran but still as cool as ever. The classic trio are ably backed up by keyboardist Magic Christian and drummer for touring purposes only Daxx Nielsen making the experience of a Cheap Trick Show in 2010 totally unforgettable.


CT_1So just let me also quickly run through the other reason Cheap Trick are so utterly unforgettable live...the music.  Tonight we got 'The House Is Rockin', 'That 70's Song' (which was a more than welcome inclusion for all of us at Über Röck), 'Ballad Of TV Violence', 'Baby Loves To Rock' and of course the aforementioned 'I Want You To Want Me', which with 'On Top Of The World' sitting rather neatly in the set with tracks from 'The Latest' like 'These Days', 'Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda' and the simply awesome 'Sick Man Of Europe'.


As per usual Nielsen flicks plectrums galore and frisbees 'Kiss Alive II' to his adoring public during 'Surrender', (Thank you to Gaz for my plectrum, by the way. He ended up with about 48) which closed the main set down tonight. The encore ending things with a  flurry of 'Downed', 'Dream Police', 'Clock Strikes Ten' and 'Goodnight' and an obvious appearance of the five neck guitar. Then just as quickly as it had started the the lights go up and all you can see are punters scrambling around for any plectrums which had managed to actually make it to the venue's floor.


Look you don't need me to tell you this but if you get the chance catch Cheap Trick before you can't anymore.....'Auf Wiedersehen'.