October 17, 2003

MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower”, the Aztec god of music and dance

Cheap Trick -Veterans Put On Show Only A Veteran Group Could

By Francisco H. Ciriza

The band’s prime, according to many, has come and gone. Few rock fans are unaware of the late seventies pop rock idols that took the world by storm. To those in the industry and those who truly understand the dynamics of the creativity and discipline involved in the music making business, Cheap Trick are not only still in their prime, they also have obviously descoverd the founain of youth.

The group’s show at Humphries on October 1 was an example of just about everything the band now encompasses. Firts and foremost is the immense talent. Tom Petersson’s bass work is easily some ofht emost creative and original in the rock genre. It’s not flashy, or fascinatingly speedy, it is precise and tasteful and imaginative. Few players of the bass guitar bring such a sense of individuality to this brand of music, but Petersson with a practically flawless delivery stays in the pocket of Bun E. Carlos’ drum patterns at every point in the band’s performance, be it live or on record. This is a tight rhythm section. Perhaps, there is none tighter.

Nielson has been recorded on a previous live recording of the band as referring to the group’s lead vocalist, Robin Zander, as the best singer in rock and roll and he stuck to his words, “I really do feel that way.” It is a respect that permeates the entire group and has perhaps been the main factor in the group’s longevity. “I think it’s definitley something that makes things easier when you have that mutual respect among four musicians.”

While not a virtuoso, lead guitarist, Rick Nielson, by far outplays many of his rock guitarist peers simply by sticking to his role. As he said to this writer, ever so eloquently, “Nobody in this band overplays. We don’t play all over the place nor all over each other. We stick to what we do best.”

Nielson, by the way, did his own calling, a task always left to publicists. 8:15 a.m. This writer’s cell phone was ringing with Nielson on the other end desperately seeking a journalist to take his call. He was cordial and frank. No frills.

When asked about how he felt the show went, he turned the question around, “Well, you were there. What do you think? You tell me how it was...” Mind you, this was not in any way some sort of obnoxious challenge, it was an honest attempt at making the point that this was a well delivered set of Cheap Trick classics and even a handful of material from the band’s latest release, Special One.

If there was any awk-wardness, it was at the point the subject of the audiences lack of patience, in accepting the newer material. It is a subject that nearly prompted this writer to walk over and give some audience members a piece of his mind and a quick refresher course in manners (Luckilly, better judgement won out), but Nielson responded in an undaunted manner, “Hey, it’s always going to be that way. Some people will always want to hear the classics, but we like to do the new stuff, too. It’s what keeps us fresh and what keeps us going.”

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