(Written long time ago for the old site) Cheap Trick is one of the most entertaining bands on planet Earth. They started in 70’s but their roots go all the wat back in late 60’s when Rick Nielsen and Tom Peterson played together in a band called Fuse. They were one of those Americans who were heavily influenced by what was coming from England – Who, Kinks, Beatles, Small Faces. Their first album that came out in 1977 was some sort of an American belated and machoised version of British glam. With their contageous melodies, they soon became trend setters in beloved genre called power pop.
For the first few years of their existance they worked hard to gain some popularity and record sales in traditional markets such as USA and Europe, but the success was waiting for them in Japan. Japanese teenagers went crazy about the band and the end of the seventies there was marked as some sort of a Cheaptrickmania. The band went on a tour there and when they played at the packed Budokan theater
in Tokyo the tape was rolling too and soon they published their bestselling album Live at Budokan. Superior live version of I Want You To Want Me from that gig was also their biggest hit in the USA.
After this success the band attempted to add some keyboards and softer sounds on their albums keeping the sales up. The content of their eighties records is merely forgetable, but they remained a hot act live. At the end of the 80s they had a slight crisis, just to come back at the end of the 90s. Their second self titled album in 1997 was comeback to their original basic sound that proved its quality simply lasting this long.
On February 22 we were able to convince ourselves that Cheap Trick really are one of the most exciting live acts ever. The House of Blues was packed, they played about an hour of their greatest hits (excluding He’s A Whore on my sadeness). People were chanting along with the band especially during I Want You To Want Me and Surrender. It’s a Mardi Gras season, so few ladies in the audience decided to show their breasts, which in most cases disguisted the band, but they were still awarded thousands of pickups that Rick was generously throwing thruought the show. He is really the frontman of the band although Robin Zander is on vocals. Actually, that whole frontmanship in Cheap Trick is a really interesting topic. Two prettyones, Robin and Tom are on the covers always shown in their full rock’n’roll speed god-like fashion, whereas Rick and Boz with their goofy looks often take back sides of their record covers. The live shows are totally opposite, while Robin and Tom usually stay motionless, Rick is the king of the stage, spinning around, throwing pickups at the audience, making silly faces… Of course, the biggest thing is that he changes his custom-made guitars after each song. I’ll add that he is probably the only musician allowed to do that, as he leads this deed to sarcastic levels when he pick up his four-neck guitar! Yet his playing techinique reamains clean and simple.
Anyway, if you want pure rock’n’roll fun without any spices and additions, the way it was modeled by power pop pioneers, Cheap Trick is still the best band to check out.