Friday, 15 January 2010

639 CHEAP TRICK, McQueen, London Shepherd's Bush Empire, Wednesday 21 July 2004

Amazingly, our first London trip this year - it takes a very special band to get us to endure the M4 traffic these days - a band such as the Trick! Unfortunately, "endure" is still the right word for the damned M4 - Rachel picked us up at 5.20 from work and we didn't park the car in Shepherd's Bush (West London, of course) until 10 to 8 - 80 miles in 2 1/2 hours! D'oh!

Got into the stalls floor amongst the usual collection of medieval roadies, rockers and acid casualties that comprise the Trick's audience, and took up a good viewing spot stage right for support McQueen. An all-girl 4-piece, they were screaming rawk chicks in basques playing some kind of sub-Hole grungy rock. Rach played spot-the-work-colleague-resemblance, while I watched the drummer who seemed to be having an absolute whale of a time ("I'm a girl! I hit things! That's my JOB!"), and we actually almost enjoyed some of their numbers. Almost.

Cheap Trick sauntered on at 9, drummer Bun E Carlos first, as usual, to lay down the beat, and vocalist Robin Zander then led them into "On Top Of the World", a shuddering opener. A quite brilliant - unexpectedly so! - "I Can't Make It Alone" followed, all strident chorus and urgent passion, before the set veered off into uncharted territory. It became clear early on (Rick Nielsen commenting about the fans having, "helped to write this set") that this gig was a fan club special, da Trick playing a whole tranche of more obscure oldies from their canon of work, which the hardcore devotees around us lapped up. Despite unfamiliarity, we were still bowled over by this set, as it lived up to the Trick's usual high level of sheer rocking entertainment. And there was still the usual faves - a breathlessly fast "I Want You To Want Me", an epic, soaring "Tonight It's You", the inevitable 5-necked guitar during an awesome "Surrender" to close the set, and encore "Dream Police". In the meantime we had Rick's usual monologues, and the sight of Nielsen getting some dumb bloke chucked out for throwing beer on him. Quite right too! Counterpoint this with the supreme cool of Robin Zander, and once again the veteran Trick showed age is no barrier to greatness.

So, well worth the car-mare here. Of course, the journey home took half as long and we were home by midnight. Right result!

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