Palais Theatre, Melbourne VIC
October 15th, 2018
Support: Dallas Crane
It has been argued that the 1970s were when icons were born; the single decade of the 20th century when music was most central to culture. And as music evolved, it’s hard to believe there was more variety than ever before. Evocative, entertaining and highly reflective, the sounds of the seventies were inescapable then, and more-so now.
Known as one of the best live bands of its era, very few are as consistently engaging as Cheap Trick. With a swag of unquestionable hits and classic jams, the American four-piece returned to Melbourne to rock an excited Palais crowd.
Opening with the high energy track ‘Hello There’, the iconic rock legends had a distinct spring in their step as they dove headfirst into ‘You Got It Going On’ and ‘Big Eyes’. Continuing at a blistering pace, quirky party starter ‘California Man’ followed swiftly, having the entire audience rise to their feet without hesitation.
Frequent visitors to Australia for over four decades, it was humbling to see the three founding members of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen & Tom Petersson look as genuinely excited to see us as we did to see them. Sure, it had been a long three years between drinks, but Nielsen’s golden tomfoolery and technical talent paired with Zander’s astonishing vocals are just too charming and remarkable to stay mad at.
Lifting tracks off their more recent albums, new cuts ‘Blood Red Lips’ and ‘The Summer Looks Good on You’ were warmly welcomed, thanks to their vintage Trick undertones and raw 70’s-infused roots.
That being said, spiritual lighter-raiser ‘The Flame’ is and will forever be one of the finest power-pop ballads ever created – only further justified tonight. Another from the back catalogue, and my personal favourite, the catchy, clever, pop-rock hit ‘If You Want My Love’ melodiously blended emotion with exceptional musicianship. It is astounding that Zander’s voice has not lost any of its power even after all these years.
Baby boomer anthem ‘Surrender’, arguably Cheap Trick’s most well-known song, obviously received the loudest reaction of the evening, whilst the instantly recognisable chords of ‘Dream Police’ and crowd singalong of ‘I Want You to Want Me’ still stand the test of time, cementing them as some of the all-time greatest songs written. Surprisingly, covers of The Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, a long-time band favourite, and Fats Domino’s ‘Aint That A Shame’ provided the most musically transcendent moments. Hurling fistfuls of guitar picks into the front row, it seemed only fitting that the band closed the evening with ‘Goodnight Now’, a blatantly obvious closer that actually makes you want to stay for more.
As recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, it’s not hard to see why Cheap Trick’s unique brand of hard-nosed, guitar-driven swagger has become classic-rock radio mainstays. Currently enjoying somewhat of a commercial renaissance, following the well-deserved inclusion to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack, the Rockford, Illinois, quartet are as absolutely magnificent as uniformly tight.
While other bands of the same era may be lazily dragging themselves around the nostalgia circuit, Cheap Trick has miraculously maintained a following beyond throwback appeal, all whilst recruiting a new generation of supporters. Here’s hoping it doesn’t slow down anytime soon.
We’re all alright…
Gig Review by Jimmy Russell @jamco17
Cheap Trick – Australian Tour 2018
with Dallas Crane
17th Oct @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney
18th @ The Tivoli, Brisbane