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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Concert Review: Cheap Trick LIVE @ the El Rey Theatre 35th Anniversary Budokan Show

How do you celebrate the 35th anniversary of one of the most iconic LIVE albums of all-time?

Well... if you're the rock band Cheap Trick you fill the El Rey Theatre with a select group of fans, friends and media and then broadcast the whole rockin' show LIVE via AXS.TV

At exactly 8:30 PM Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage to introduce his "favorite band" Cheap Trick and from that point it was "power pop" ecstasy for the next 90 minutes.

The band hit the stage ready to replicate the exact set list they played at the world famous Budokan Theater in Japan 35 years earlier to the day... plus 2.  

The band members may look a little bit older but Cheap Trick has not lost a step when it comes to their performance.  

Rick Nielsen still bounds around the stage like the court jester of rock and roll.  Making faces, throwing picks and playing his unique brand of quirky lead guitar riffs all the while changing guitars after almost every song.  

Tom Petersson is still one of the greatest bass guitarist playing today.  He plays his bass like it's a lead instrument that creates a wall of sound that thumps inside the chest of every audience member in range of his amps.

Robin Zander is hands down one of the greatest lead singers in history.  Zander can change his voice from song to song at the drop of a hat. He's either singing like an angel on ballads like "Need Your Love" and "Can't Hold On" or pushing the limits of his vocal chords on songs like "Auf Wiedersehen."  At one point Zander hit a note so perfectly that the guy next to me said out loud... "Oh my God!"

Now for anyone worried about Bun E. Carlos not touring with the band those people can rest easy because Daxx Nielsen behind the drum kit is incredible.  He just might be a better drummer than the old man is a guitarist and that's a good thing especially if the other half of your rhythm section is rocking a 12 String Bass.

The Budokan set list is still classic even "I Want You To Want Me" sounded fresh when played deeper in the set list instead of at the top of the set as the "here's the one we have to play" song.

I also hope the band considers putting songs like "Oh Caroline," "Big Eyes" and "Lookout" back in the set list for the long haul because those tunes deserve to be heard by fans new and old.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame take note... if 2013 was the year of RUSH then 2014 should most definitely be the year of Cheap Trick.

Drumroll please... 10 out of 10 drumsticks!!!

- Set List -

Hello There
Come On, Come On
ELO Kiddies
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Big Eyes
Can't Hold On
Oh Caroline
Auf Wiedersehen
Need Your Love
High Roller
Southern Girls
I Want You to Want Me
California Man

- Encore -
Ain't That a Shame
Clock Strikes Ten

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