LIVE: Cheap Trick – Shepherds Bush Empire 12/11/10

“We are Cheap Trick, and we fear nothing!”
So declared Rick Nielsen from the stage of the Shepherds Bush Empire, several songs in to the last night of a four date UK tour.

Before this tour, the band had challenged fans to choose the songs they wanted to hear, with Nielsen quoted on Classic Rock’s website saying ‘We must have about 300 songs worked up and ready to go. We can do anything in our catalogue’. Fearless indeed.

I can’t think of many bands who could deliver on this claim, but Cheap Trick passed the test with flying colours – the result of the challenge was an unusual, special setlist, with long-buried gems, classics and new material all making it into the set; ‘Stiff Competition’ and ‘Rock n Roll Tonight’ notably both getting an airing for the first time in years.

Cheap Trick have been cited as an influence by many bands over the years. During this trip to the UK this influence was recognised in the form of the Classic Album Award for triple platinum selling ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’ at this year’s Classic Rock awards.

However, this is not a band that rests on past glories. At one point Nielsen declares “If you don’t know much about our history… it doesn’t matter, it’s the future that counts”. This statement is backed up with a number of tracks from ‘The Latest” – ‘These Days’, ‘Smile’, ‘Sick Man of Europe’ and ‘Closer (Ballad of Burt and Linda)’.

Tonight we saw a band concentrating on delivering a quality performance – Nielsen is a great showman and always a pleasure to watch, Robin Zander’s vocals were faultless (and are still able to stop me in my tracks), Tom Petersson’s bass held it together perfectly,
and Daxx Nielsen (standing in for Bun E. Carlos on drums) fitted in brilliantly.

This was arguably the most enjoyable Cheap Trick gig I’ve seen since the memorable three night stand at the Garage nine years ago. Extra kudos to the sound engineer and lighting techs for helping to make it look and sound amazing. Definitely a contender for gig of the year.

Oh, Candy
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Stiff Competition
Best Friend
Tonight It’s You
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
These Days
Wrong All Along
Magical Mystery Tour
Cold Turkey
Sick Man of Europe
Closer (Ballad of Burt and Linda)

Ain’t That A Shame
Rock ‘n’ Roll Tonight
Dream Police

View our entire Cheap Trick Photo Gallery (nearly 100 images!)