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April 1st will no longer be known as just April Fools Day, at least in Illinois. Beginning in 2008, The Illinois Senate, in the midst of the battle to get a state budget approved, appointed April 1 of every year to be set as a date to regale the musical contributions of Cheap Trick.
Finally, some respect for the Rockford, Illinois band that for some reason, respect always seemed to somehow elude. Currently in their fifth decade(!) as Rock and Roll’s Rodney Dangerfield, Cheap Trick is alive and well, and putting out some of their best music in decades. Robin Zander (vocals, guitar) Rick Nielsen (guitars, vocals) Tom Petersson (bass, vocals) and Bun E. Carlos (percussion- and still the studio drummer, but replaced recently for live shows with Rick’s son, Daxx Nielsen), have proven that some bands can endure the test of time- and then some.
Of course, I’m just a little biased. I write for my own blog, people- not a newspaper. With that being said, I can be just as biased as I want to be. Thank you.
With a handful of platinum and gold releases since their first release in 1977, constant, international touring (over 200 dates a year) and producing two of Rock and Roll’s most indelible anthems, “I Want You To Want Me”, and “Surrender”- Cheap Trick surges on. They released their 17th studio album. “The Latest”, in June of ’09- their best and most polished effort since, in my opinion, the mid- 80’s. Not that the other releases in-between weren’t rockin’, they just weren’t as consistent from beginning to end. It is also my opinion that for just that reason, “The Latest” didn’t receive the airplay or attention it so richly deserves.
Along with supporting “The Latest” on the road, the past few years saw Cheap Trick honoring their heroes, and the most obvious influence in their music- The Beatles, with a Sgt. Pepper tribute show, between their own show dates. The show consisted of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, in its entirety, played from start to finish in order- plus a Beatles medley at the end. A performance of the show at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City was captured, producing a CD and DVD. The show received rave reviews.
Most currently, the band is touring and recently completed doing a tribute to one of their own masterpiece’s, 1979’s “Dream Police”. The band played the album, just like the Sgt, Pepper tour-in its entirety, with a lot of other gems from their extensive catalog. Read more about it here.
I will be seeing the band in early May, and have seen them over 100 times, since my first in 1980. A lot of years, and a lot of shows- none of which failed to deliver. If you’ve never seen this band live, do yourself a favor. Even into their 50’s, this band still rocks and renews the faith that Rock and Roll is still kicking.
So, Happy Cheap Trick Day, everyone- it also happens to be April Fools Day. The Rodney Dangerfield’s of Rock and Roll, indeed.