Cheap Trick / August 13, 2005

On a sunny and arid Montreal day I set off on a 2-hour road trip to Malone, New York to see Cheap Trick perform at the Franklin County Fair. Although many of us Montrealers might not have heard of this fair it is definitely not a flash in the pan. The Franklin County Fair has been around for 155 years and includes everything from rides to truck and tractor pulls to rooster crowing contests. This year the fair had been host to concerts by The Charlie Daniels Band, Gary Allan and the Glengarry Bhoys. For a very reasonable $10 you got to see one of the biggest bands from the 1970s / 1980's, Cheap Trick, live and up close.

I remember when Cheap Trick's album 'Live At Budokan' was one of those albums that everyone seemed to own. Cheap Trick was huge in the late 1970s. The band is still intact in 2005 and includes all of the original members an impressive 32 years later. The band includes Rick Nielson on lead guitar and vocals, Tom Peterson on (12 string!) bass and vocals, Robin Zander on guitar and lead vocals, and Bun E. Carlos on drums. The very vocal and funny Rick Nielson told the crowd that they are the one and only Cheap Trick and to accept no substitutes. During their short 70-minute set the band members were still very energetic (even after a very long bus ride in from Wisconsin) and obviously enthusiastic about what they do. Rick Nielson is still as zany as ever. At one point in between numbers he even bought some cotton candy from a vendor. Nielson was running all over the stage, climbing up on top of speakers, throwing out massive amounts of guitar picks into the crowd. Probably most impressive was Nielson's array of distinctive guitars; he played a different one for every song. My favourite one being the guitar that has five necks! Cheap Trick's sound is simple straightforward rock and roll which transcends time. Even their earliest songs still sound vibrant today. Nielson announced that a new CD will be coming out soon. The crowd started to really get into it when the band played their biggest hit 'I Want You to Want Me" and they never let up for the rest of the show. Rick Nielson mentioned it was Cheap Trick's first time in Malone, New York and that they had been everywhere else in the world, but judging by the reception they got from the crowd I do not think the band will hesitate to come back again.

Setlist:

Hello There
Big Eyes
If You Want My Love
Southern Girls
Best Friend
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want (lead vocals by Tom Peterson)
Voices
Lot to Lose
The Flame
That 70's Song
Surrender

Encore:
Dream Police
California Man
Goodbye Song

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