At The Cavern Club, Liverpool, U.K., December 16, 2018

CHEAP TRICK (Live at The Cavern Club, Liverpool, U.K., December 16, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It may have taken them the best part of half a century but Premier league Pop Rockers Cheap Trick finally stood in the shoes of their Fab Four heroes on the stage of the legendary Cavern Club in the heart of Liverpool. Their dream had finally come true.

With tickets sold out virtually as soon as they went on sale this was the hottest ticket in town and with fans flying in from as far afield as Italy, America and Finland it was more like a United Nations conference than a Rock ‘n’ Roll show such is the power of music.

There was a genuine feeling that history was being made as Rockford’s finest strode jubilantly onto the stage for traditional set opener Hello There and Big Eyes, which burst open the flood gates. Here was a band that was exactly where they wanted to be and were loving every minute of it.

With He’s A Whore and a rambunctious California Man revving the throttle, Elo Kiddies with its Glitter Band backbeat and T-Rex magic dust sent the show into overdrive and a hugely enthusiastic crowd into delirium.

Vocalist Robin Zander cut a dashing figure dressed in a fine suit and stylish hat with his voice the jewel in Trick’s crown, so melodic, powerful and expressive. He sounded fantastic. Few of his peers can even come close.

In sharp contrast guitarist Rick Nielsen, the flag bearer for geeks and nerds worldwide, cocked his baseball cap to the whims of fashion and cranked out the glorious riffs that pack the Cheap Trick punch all via a multitude of weird and wonderful guitars which so uniquely portray his charismatic persona while he threw out plectrums into the crowd like confetti at every opportunity. Referencing Liverpool’s win over arch rivals Manchester United earlier in the day further endeared him to the crowd.

12 string bassist Tom Petersson had his moment in the spotlight too with a rip roaring I Know What I Want complete with snotty Punk gang vocals courtesy of drummer Daxx Nielsen and Robin Taylor Zander on rhythm guitar keeping things in the family.

“We’re not being sacrilegious, we’re just paying homage” declared Nielsen before launching into a lively Magical Mystery Tour and She Said She Said and no doubt The Beatles would have been suitably honoured.

Baby Loves To Rock, Taxman Mr Thief and Downed from In Color saw them reaching deep into their catalogue while Voices saw Zander channelling his inner Big O and that’s Orbison, not Ozzy.

With the final straight rolling out the big boys, I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police and Surrender, Cheap Trick simply couldn’t fail and up close and personal in a packed, sweaty club they reached a different level altogether. Throw in the golden bubblegum Pop of Never Had A Lot To Lose and Good Night Now made this one off show a one to savour giving 300 lucky people the right to proclaim “I was there!”

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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