Cheap Trick Australian Tour;
December 1996:Review by Ken Greenwell
17th Adelaide (S.A.) - 18th Perth, Northbridge (W.A.) @ The Metropolis - 19th Melbourne, St. Kilda (Victoria) @ The Palace - 20th Sydney, Coogee Beach (N.S.W.) @ Selinas - 21st Gold Coast, Tweed Heads (NSW/Queensland) @ The Seagull's League Club.
following is a review of the gig held on the 18th December, 1996 @ the
Metropolis Nightclub in Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia.
Just Got Back - Come On Come On - I Want You To Want Me - Anytime (CT97) - Hot Love - Downed Wrong All Along (CT97) - Southern Girls - High Roller - Shelter (CT97) - Waiting For The Man/Heroin Heaven Tonight - Surrender
If You Want My Love - Dream Police - Auf Weidersehen - Goodnight Now - He's A Whore replaced Auf Weidersehen at the Gold Coast gig.
Cheap Trick launched their aural assault with 'Just Got Back', complete with an infectious Carlos drum intro', snarling Zander vocals and a thunderous rock n roll riff that literaly throbbed with Move and T-Rex energy…"Just got back, I've been gone too long…"
Then it's straight into two favourite Trick tunes 'Come On, Come on' and 'I Want You To Want Me'. Mr. Zander is dressed in black and like a cheetah, closes in for the kill. Long blond hair flowing as if he's been plugged into a wall socket, his body still with arms thrashing at his guitar as he wrings out every possible (and impossible!) sound from his larynx. Just think of all the world's greatest vocal performers - Plant, Daltrey, Roger Chapman - you've got Zander in one.
The three new songs are something to look forward to. 'Anytime' is a ripper and 'Wrong All Along' is dedicated to their former manager. 'Shelter' is a great ballad which sees the usually frantic Nielsen calm down and have a rest behind the keyboards whilst Zander dons an acoustic guitar. 'Hot Love' opens up, bass to the fore whilst Nielsen darts in and out of the song's structure.
During the show, Rick changes guitars, choosing from a line which disappears stage right. He mischieviously scurries around the stage, his baseball cap refusing to fall off. Tweeking his price-tagged, plaited goatee, Nielsen returns to his mike stand to join Zander and Petersson on the vocals whilst flicking guitar pics into the audience.
Occasionally he'll stand legs crossed, playing his axe with one hand whilst casually mopping his brow with a self-effacing look of "Hey guys, nuthin' to it". He certainly makes the impossible sound very easy with a guitar style that although draws on others past is very much his own.
Tom Petersson is one cool bass player, and not just your average run of the mill four-string version either. He plays a twelve string monster which he invented and Hamer built in the late '70s!
Bun E. Carlos, the most unlikely looking drummer in rock 'n roll, decieves the eyes and amazes the ears with some of the most wicked and incisive drumming I've ever heard by anyone (almost on a par with Bev Bevan!).
Together Petersson and Carlos provide an awesome rhythm section, laying down a solid base to which Nielsen and Zander paint their stories. Tom is no slouch when it comes to the vocal department either as he proves when the band explore Lou Reed's 'Waitin' For The Man - Heroin'.
The set bubbled with electricity but for me the highlights were their performances of the Beatle-Pink Floydish 'Heaven Tonight' (a la 'She's So Heavy'), accompanied by someone (who will remain nameless!) in the audience playing an air cello... And 'Surrender' which saw Rick return to centre stage with his famous five-neck guitar, and yes he does play all five quite brilliantly! He tells FTM that he also has a fifty neck monster, but somehow that would seem to be pushing the realms of reality a little too far.
All in all a stunning sound, great performance and a lot of fun was met by an indifferent crowd response. You see it was the grand opening of the AUS $18 million venue and it was invited guests only which resulted in true Tricksters being elbowed out. The response had pissed the band off so much that they didn't return for their listed encore set which was to include 'Blackberry Way' just for me! Rick explained that they had practiced the song at their soundcheck before the gig… AAAARRGH!
Once the curtains had closed techno shit filled the air and the braindead clubbers took to the dance floor, much to the disgust of the handful of Trick fans who had managed to beg, bribe and steal their way into the exclusive opening.
Apologies to Rick, Robin, Tom and Bun E. for the 'luke-warm club dead' response. It wasn't you and this was not your usual Perth concert crowd. I hope you're reading this and come back to kick some serious arse soon!
If Cheap Trick are in your neighbourhood, do yourself a huge favour and check them out. You won't be disappointed. If your neighbourhood happens to be the UK, you may even be lucky enough to see Roy Wood take the Tricksters up on their continuing, longstanding offer to join them on stage!
All photographs appearing on this page were taken at the Metropolis gig and are copyright Norman Bailey.