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Cheap Trick Delivers A

Nearly Eponymous Concert

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Several Hundred Fail To Even Partially Fill Veterans Memorial Coliseum To See 1970s Rockers Cheap Trick In Concert At The Arizona State Fair, But Diehard Fans And The Band Didn’t Seem To Care  


By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 19, 2013 —  For some reason, it feels like the amount of people who showed up to the Cheap Trick concert Wednesday at the Arizona State Fair was about the amount of people it would have taken for last Sunday's ZZ Top concert to be a sell out.

It certainly seemed like everyone at the concert was having a good time — all dozen or so of them — and Cheap Trick definitely played like a band who deserves to be seen by about 18 people.

But seriously, there is a reason why Cheap Trick, the No. 25 band on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, are playing State Fairs, on Wednesday nights, to about 600 people.

Cheap Trick is not relevant anymore. But that’s cool because they are happy with that. They do not mind.

There were two kinds of people in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum: members of Cheap Trick’s fan club and people who got in for free. Maybe one or two people stumbled upon the concert while attending the fair and decided to stay. For these two kinds of people, Cheap Trick had two kinds of songs to play: overplayed hits and songs no one has ever heard before.

Honestly, Cheap Trick is the perfect band to be playing a State Fair set on a Wednesday night. They are perfect cannon fodder for a writer like myself to rip into and deconstruct. But pot shots aside, I really feel as though Cheap Trick enjoyed what they were on stage doing. I do not think the fact that they were doing it in an empty 14,500 person venue bothered them at all.

Their musicianship and showmanship was mediocre at best, but not for any lack of caring on their part. That is just how it is when you’re an aging rock band performing songs that most people know as “the song from that one movie,” or “the theme songs from That ‘70s Show.”

Oh, and there’s one category of fan which I forgot, those who missed their chance to see the “American Beatles,” in their hey-day. These people were easily identifiable by their clapping along to the slow, pretty parts.

The band played music from all throughout their lengthy catalogue, opening with “Hello There,” followed by “Elo Kiddies,” before doing “California Man,” and “Tonight It’s You.”

They got into most of the hits in the latter portion of the show like “I Want You To Want Me,” “Sick Man of Europe,” and following a costume change by Robin Zander into a sequined “Dream Police,” uniform, they played that little ditty.

Following “Dream Police” the band left the stage, but were drawn back for the encore by the cheering of the throngs (hundreds) of people there for a totally off the cuff (obviously planned) encore. The encore included “Surrender,” “Gonna Raise Hell,” among others before closing out with “Goodnight,” which for the final few notes guitarist Rick Nielsen broke out a six necked guitar.

The band plowed through 19 songs including a five song encore, which some of the more hardcore fans actually stuck around for. But in all honesty, the best part of the entire performance came during the encore when touring drummer Dax Nielsen lit it up for what had to be seven minute drum solo.

In all, its not bad for a free concert if you also went to the fair.

A Cheap Trick indeed. But at least they are honest about it.

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at
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