Live Words and Photos: DJ
Keeping with the theme of Rock Icons and bands that still are around today because they are pure legends and simply put – they have continued releasing albums and always touring despite their long storied career. To this day so many bands have been influenced by them over the years. From the likes of Kurt Cobain to The Melvins to name a few. Respect the forefathers and as we always say, catch your Rock heroes before they retire for good. Here is another one we can add to that same line of thinking.
My introduction to them first came on the seminal Cheap Trick Live at Budokan (1979) one of the best Live records to ever have been produced. Hard to imagine that the record documented Cheap Trick’s first tour in Japan in 1978 ahead of their “Heaven Tonight” album which featured the classic “Surrender”. We have had the pleasure of covering them over the years and they always put on a great show.
This night they are playing in Albertville, AL at the Sand Mountain Amphitheater where we covered Skid Row last year. The openers are none other than Autograph. I have to admit we have not covered Autograph before, but this Hard Rock 80’s fan was excited to hear what they sounded like after all these years. Singer Simon Daniels was pretty good live and a treat to hear Jimi Bell (House of Lords) shred away on stage. There is no denying the band left an imprint so many years ago, and to this day there is still a big affinity to those 80’s cuts. With classics such as “Get Off Your Ass” and “Turn Up The Radio” always playing to the crowd.
We wait a bit for Cheap Trick to come on, and when that happens Robin Zander and company start things off with a bang. Zonder always displaying an exotic array of hats and feathers, as well as the custom Fender telecaster, comes on stage and ready to Rock the crowd. Guitar legend Rick Nielsen’s guitar tone sounds as good as ever. With his custom Hamer guitar always ready to “Raise Hell’.
Zander’s vocals are still so good, years and years later. Their sound still harkens back to the glory days of the early 70’s. Not so much for energy obviously, but just getting down to business. The lighting was solid and when the run of tunes the likes of “Voices” and “Light Up The Fire” come on, is ohh so good. For someone in their seventies, they sure don’t play like it.
Classics like “Surrender” and “I Want You To Want Me” always please the casual fan, but overall is hard to fathom at their age and the consistency throughout the years. Also really enjoyed Zander’s son Robin Taylor Zander on guitars, but not just that; his vocals are very good. Big props to him as he has filled in on drums, bass, and lead guitars before.
In the end, as the curfew of 10 p.m. is near, the band wraps up the night and provides an entertaining show for the crowd on this perfect Friday night. They are on a run of dates in October, if they are anywhere close to you I wouldn’t hesitate twice about checking out the show.