Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Talking Stick Resort – Ballroom (https://www.talkingstickresort.com/ )
Date: Saturday August 14, 2021
A large crowd of about 2000 fans came together at Talking Stick Resort in the Grand Ballroom to see one of the great rock n roll bands from the 70s, Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick is from Rockford, Illinois that was formed in 1973. Three of its founding members are still part of the current band, guitarist Rick Nielsen, lead singer Robin Zander and bass player Tom Petersson. Daxx Nielsen, Rick’s son joined the band in 2010 as the drummer. Also, Tom Petersson just had surgery so Robin’s son, Robin Taylor Zander has joined the group on bass and is helping with background vocals. The band has performed over 3700 times in their almost 50-year history. They have over 20 albums including their 1978 Live Cheap Trick at Budokan album which helped launch the band into stardom. It is one of the greatest live performances of the 70s.
This was about the 5 or 6th time I have seen Cheap Trick over the years. I initially saw them perform in the late 70s and again in the early 80s. Most of the shows were in small venues where the band got to interact with the crowd. Rick was always the showman with his constant changing of guitars and his constant movement around the stage. Robin as lead singer command the audience with his dynamic voice. Every time I saw them, they were amazing. There is even a story about how local Phoenix promoter, Danny Zelisko got Cheap Trick to perform at a small bar in Tempe for about 700 people. They actually did 3 1-hour sets that night. I might have been at that show but can’t remember (it was the 70s).
Tonight’s show was no different. Rick and Robin were still masters of the stage and the audience. At one point Rick was joking with a member of the crowd and after playing a song handed the guitar to the gentleman. The guitar tech got the guitar back a little while later. I am not sure but I believe that Rick played at least 7 different guitars tonight including his classic (and outrageous) 5 neck guitar (a personal joke for all of the bands that had 2 or 3 neck guitars). Robin voice is still magnificent. He belted out each of the songs like it was the first time he sang them. Both Daxx and Robin Taylor added backing vocals. The band was just solid and their performance was terrific.
If you get to see one of their shows on this tour you will not be disappointed. They included some of their greatest hits along with a new song off their latest album In Another World released this year, 2021. They end the main set with two of their biggest hits, “I Want You To Want Me” and “Dream Police”. Everyone in the crowd was standing and singing along with Robin. After a short break, they came back for a 2-song encore that ended with “Surrender”. This is the time that Rick came out playing his 5-neck guitar. However close to the end of the song Rick had a guitar malfunction with the strap and had to bend over to play the guitar as he slid it around the stage. Rick was impressive in that he didn’t get upset and never seemed to miss a note.
If you love 70s and early 80s Rock n Roll, then I would highly recommend seeing Cheap Trick. You don’t get fireworks or dancing people, but you get a band that gives it their all and plays some outstanding music. Personally, I loved the show and from the reaction of the audience they all loved it too.
Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved
Cheap Trick Setlist: (Album)
Hello There (In Color)
Lookout (Cheap Trick at Budokan)
Big Eyes (In Color)
Hot Love (Cheap Trick)
He’s a Whore (Cheap Trick)
Ain’t That a Shame (Cheap Trick at Budokan)
California Man (Heaven Tonight)
Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll (In Another World)
Need Your Love (Dream Police)
Voices (Dream Police)
Top Of The World (Heaven Tonight)
Downed (In Color)
Cry Cry (Cheap Trick)
Borderline (Next Position Please)
Flame (Lap of Luxury)
I Want You To Want Me (In Color)
Dream Police (Dream Police)
Never Had a Lot to Lose (Lap of Luxury)
Surrender (Heaven Tonight)