The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s incredible concert venue, played host to one of the biggest and most successful acts of the 70’s and 80’s, Cheap Trick.
Cheap Trick is one of those bands that you either are a fan, or you can’t stand them. As I was telling people about this show coming to the Tulsa area and my impending excitement about covering them, I was met with both sides. (Which blew me away to be honest.) If ever there was a working man’s group of under-achievers it is Cheap Trick.
The Joint filled nicely for this concert, I would say easily more than ¾’s full, all there to see one thing, a throwback to the golden days of rock and roll, done the way it should be, full throttle, no drag.
Although the sound was a little weak to start the show, it kicked into high gear quickly and didn’t slow down for the hour and 4o minutes the band from Rockford, Illinois took to the small, intimate venue. It proved to be the perfect grouping.
Starting the show with a few standards, a spoken word intro by a petite sounding, ladies voice tells us, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the best (expletive) rock band you have ever seen, Cheap Trick!” This lead into the show opener, “Hello There.” “Hello there ladies and gents, are you ready to rock, are you ready or not.” The song that has served as an opening set song since it’s inception in 1977. It came about due to the sometimes “lack of a soundcheck for the band and served as a good warm up instead of one of the more melodic songs.” as lead guitarist, Rick Nielson has stated.
From “Hello There” it is an unbridled gallop through some of the greatest straight ahead rock-n-roll ever created. There is truly not a lot of fluff in Cheap Trick’s music. It is solid songs that have amazing guitar, bass and vocals as well as pounding drumlins courtesy of Bun E. Carlos, who sadly does not tour with the band any longer, but is still sited as a member.
Vocalist Robin Zander brings his amazing voice to life throughout the set of party anthems and one, two punch legends, “I Want You To Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Ain’t That A Shame,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” The last of which Nielson points out is the only time and Elvis Presley song has reached the Top 10 by another group. Hamming it up, “Do you know why no other band has ever had a Top 5 hit with an Elvis Presley song? Because it is freaking hard to do, that’s why!”
Zander is clean and crisp in his delivery. It is as if his voice hasn’t aged a bit. He could give lessons to some better known and higher grossing acts lead singers. This is how you keep your voice and use it to charm and entertain fans. I found myself saying over and over, “Man, he sounds incredible.”
The entire show was tight and well done. I dare say there is no current industry band that can touch the sound and charisma of Cheap Trick. Must be why they have influenced countless acts over the years and still seem content to do what they do with little or no flare. This is a band that may be overlooked, but has never been under appreciated.
You owe it to yourself to see these guys live. You will not be disappointed, that is a promise.
Clock Strikes Ten
Ain’t That a Shame
On Top of the World
Don’t Be Cruel
… I Know What I Want
Need Your Love
Stop This Game
I Want You to Want Me
In The Street (That 70’s Show Theme)
Sick Man of Europe
Gonna Raise Hell
Photos provided courtesy: Anna Montgomery