Last night the Metro brought out the big guns to close out its year long celebration of its 40th anniversary by having Cheap Trick play there! Talk about saving the best for last! The band has played at Metro a few times over the years, including recording a live album there, and it is always a really big deal when a band of that caliber plays a club that size, especially in their home state. The show sold out in about five minutes when the tickets went on sale and fans were looking forward to the show for months.
First up was Brokeback. This four-piece is a long running project of Douglas McCombs of Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise, and the Sea and Cake. They were an all instrumental band that played slow to mid tempo songs with various tempo changes and long passages. The band didn’t move around much, or even talk. They mostly looked at their instruments while performing They had a tough task of opening for a high energy rock band when they were the complete opposite, but they played well and had some interesting songs.
As Cheap Trick took the stage to a packed house mainly consisting of older fans (though it was neat to see some younger faces in the crowd), there was an announcement introducing them as the greatest fucking rock band, and the band proceeded to prove it once they started playing. The current lineup of Cheap Trick added a fifth member, Robin Taylor Zander, on additional guitar and vocals, which now sees the band having two of the founding member’s offspring as band members! They opened the show with an amazing rendition of “Clock Strikes Ten” and then immediately went into the usual show opener, “Hello There”. The band were full of energy and sounded amazing. The crowd was singing along, smiling and clapping through the whole thing.
Cheap Trick were all business last night and didn’t take a lot of time between songs aside from some occasional witty banter from Rick, who at one tipped us off that they will be releasing another album in the future. They played one of the best greatest hits sets possibly of their entire career. If you had a classic favorite song, chances are they played it. In fact, save for “Boys and Girls and Rock and Roll” from their most recent album, everything they played was a classic song! Some of the highlights include “He’s a Whore”, “On Top of the World”, “Stop This Game”, “Downed” (which Robin Taylor Zander handled lead vocals on and did an amazing job), “Heaven Tonight”, “I Know What I Want” (which Tom sings), “Big Eyes” and so much more. Rick was up to his usual pick tossing and guitar swapping throughout the night, Robin’s (both Robins actually) voice sounded in top form, and the band played like the well-oiled precision machine they’ve always been. What’s even more incredible is that if you closed your eyes, you’d have no idea that these guys are as old as they do as they still play with the enthusiasm as they did when they were young, and they still look like they are really having fun playing together up on that stage. You can’t help but smile along with them.
As the band belted out one hit after the next, the crowd ate it up like candy and was always excited to find out what they’d play next. It’s amazing to think that the band is playing on the Metro stage to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary, as Cheap Trick themselves is about a month shy of celebrating 50 years as a band. Not only is the band five decades old, but the band has been active the entire time! They are one of the longest running, most active, and best bands in rock and roll history, truly worthy of their hall of fame induction a handful of years ago.
As the main set came to a close, they really went all out by playing “The Flame”, “I Want You to Want Me” and “Dream Police” back to back before leaving the stage. They came out a few minutes later to play a four song encore of “Lot to Lose”, “Surrender” (where they didn’t toss out any. Kiss records, likely due to how expensive records are these days!), “Auf Wiedersehen”, and the obligatory “Goodnight” which featured Rick playing the over the top five neck guitar. When the finished, all five band members took center stage and took a bow and thanked the audience. Total time was a little over 90 minutes and it was a perfect set from start to finish. Everyone left happy and it was an amazing way to finish celebrating 40 years of Metro.