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O2 Forum, Kentish Town London

14th July 2017

liz medhurst
Words: Liz Medhurst Photos: Eric Duvet

cheap trick

No arguments about the title of Cheap Trick's just-released new album 'We're All Alright!' after this performance – the Illinois quartet are more than all right, they are in extraordinarily good shape.

UK rockers Stone Broken opened the show, cementing their progress over the past twelve months, looking completely at home on a large stage and holding attention well. The new song, 'Doesn't Matter', was one of the best in the set. Everything seems to be going in the right in the right direction for the Midlanders.

The roar of applause that greeted Cheap Trick as they entered the Forum stage for the London stop on their brief three date UK sojourn showed just how much affection there is for the band, and thankfully there's no trading on past glories as the goods were well and truly delivered.

It's so rare for them to come to the UK these days that the titles of the opening tracks, 'Hello There' and 'Long Time Coming', doubled up perfectly as a conversation between audience and band.

cheap trick

Keeping up the practise of changing setlists every time, tonight we were treated to full on quirky garage-rock mode pitched just right in terms of confidence and swagger - plenty of both and stopping well short of being a parody of themselves.

Robin Zander's vocals were strong and he left the frontman duties to Rick Nielsen, who was on good chatty form. The rhythm section of bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Daxx Nielsen – who has gelled beautifully into the line-up following Bun E Carlos' departure – were equal stars with the guitarists in a fantastic package of the classic Cheap Trick sound.

cheap trick

And what a sound it is – solid rock'n'roll as a base with bucketfuls of personality on the top. The homage to other great acts is there, not just from the covers (and 'California Man' is still better than the original) but more Beatles references that you can shake a stick at; 'Baby Loves to Rock' which manages to sneak in a near-intact Kate Bush lyric, and a journey through the history of rock while their own identity remains intact. There's nothing cheap about that trick.

New song 'You Got It Going On' fitted in well and was charmingly introduced by Rick with an apology for being obliged to include unknown material. He was in great humour all night, and could have a second career as a pantomime dame if he wanted, given the way he still hurls handfuls of guitar picks into the crowd, a move which never grows old.

Talking of his signature moves, the non-appearance of the ridiculous but iconic five-necked guitar was the only reason to feel disappointed tonight, but the double-necked Uncle Dick softened the blow slightly.

cheap trick

Thankfully there was no cliched drum solo – instead we were treated to a quality bass solo from Petersson before he took over the lead vocals for a stunning rendition of 'Waiting For The Man', before handing the reins back to Zander for another dose of those classic tones.

The big hits, 'I Want You To Want Me', 'Dream Police' and 'Surrender', appeared at the close of the main set and the start of the encore before the final duo of 'Auf Wiedersehen' and 'Goodnight' pleasingly bookended the setlist with another literal theme.

cheap trick

There had been torrential rain all day in London after a rare week of hot sunshine. It's possible that Tom Petersson could have been the only person in town happy about the dramatic change in the weather as speaking to Whitney Ribbins of Total Rock the previous day, he was extolling the virtues of bad weather after enduring constant LA sunshine for over ten years. It's a great interview – check it out here:

The rain was of no consequence in the end as Cheap Trick ensured that we left with a warm glow and no dampening of spirit. Come back soon, guys.

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monsters of rock

Monsters Of Rock In Full Flight is strictly limited to 300 worldwide and is available from 30th November but those ordering before 31st October will have their name published within a dedicated page in the book.

It's a deluxe 128 page hardback book in a metal flight case with a narrative by Jerry Bloom.

When promoter Paul Loasby put on the first Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1980 he could probably never have imagined it would become an annual event that would endure for so many years.

Featuring bands from the UK, Germany, Canada and USA, Loasby chose to stage the event at the Donington race circuit in the middle of England and it would prove to be a defining moment for many of the bands on the bill.

Not least for headliners Rainbow as it was the their last ever show to feature drum legend Cozy Powell. As it would happen it turned out to be the last for vocalist Graham Bonnet as well. For many of the other bands on the bill such as Scorpions, Judas Priest and Saxon, they were all on the ascendancy and would soon go on to even greater success.

Now in celebration of this first ever Monsters Of Rock Festival comes this hardback book full of glorious photos of the bands that took to the stage for that inaugural event including back stage shots. Most of these shots have not been published before which add to the uniqueness of this deluxe 128-page book which is packaged in its own flight case.

Also included are stories surrounding the event with tales and recollections from those who were there, including artists and fans alike. Each book will be signed by the author. The 300 will sell fast and definitely go on to become collector's items so order yours now right here to avoid disappointment.


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