Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

14Jul/101

Setlist: Cheap Trick and Squeeze in Cleveland, 7/11/10

For most, Sunday night's pairing of Squeeze and Cheap Trick at the House of Blues (and also coming soon to a city near you) represented one of the greatest ideas for a power pop double header EVER.

For the rest of the crowd, it might have been a head scratcher, figuring out how the two bands wound up on the same bill. (Hell, just observe the musical contrast in the above video!)  In person, as much as I had been looking forward to the night of music, it was indeed quite interesting.  The self-proclaimed (and I ain't arguing this) "best f*cking rock band you've ever seen" (that's Cheap Trick, for those of you that are still trying to figure it out) came on stage at 8pm sharp and delivered a 75 minute set that was blistering.   The Cleveland date offered many the chance to get their first look at the band's new touring drummer Daxx Nielsen, (yes, he's related to Rick) who has been mysteriously planted on the drum stool formerly anchored by the band's iconic drummer Bun E. Carlos.

The band released a short statement in March prior to their appearance at South by Southwest (when the drummer change was made) and said simply that "Bun E. Carlos is not currently the touring drummer for Cheap Trick. Bun E. remains a band member. Everyone is healthy and Cheap Trick will continue to tour as planned." Cheap Trick fans are a passionate bunch, so you might expect them to picket every single show without Carlos, but the word got out early that like his dad, this Nielsen kid can play.

Nielsen has re-energized every aspect of Cheap Trick, particularly in regards to the setlist, which this year has featured a rotating selection of "tricks" from the songbook that haven't been seen in years (in addition to songs from last year's CT studio album The Latest).  How 'bout "Borderline," "Didn't Know I Had It" and "Need Your Love?" That last one found the Trick skulking their way through nearly 10 minutes of psychedelic hazed out rock featuring freaky guitar solo-age from Nielsen that was laced with a peaceful easy "Revolution #9 kinda feeling.  Hearing the title track from 1978's Heaven Tonight,  I had to wonder many kids had Cheap Trick banned from their record collection by parents who heard that one song?  Since then, CT lead singer Robin Zander has had over 30 years to perfect what is now my lead contender for creepiest song in the Cheap Trick catalog.  You disagree?  That's fine, but you'll have to admit, it's way up there.

After several years of 40 minute opening slots on summer package tours, it was really nice to see a proper Cheap Trick headlining set, a set that found the band stretching out and ditching the previously shortened greatest hits set in favor of a set that was delightfully  and surprisingly obscure.  As a band that has never concerned itself with coloring inside the lines, it wasn't a surprise that staples like "The Flame," "Tonight It's You" and "Ain't That A Shame" (to name a few) were missing from the setlist.

It was as if someone had told Cheap Trick before the show that their "best rock band" title was endangered.  Certainly, the Trick gave any young musicians in the audience a good lesson or three.  Thankfully, some things never change - like guitarist Rick Nielsen changing guitars after every song (including his signature five headed monster) and Robin Zander singing like a mofo, his voice seemingly undiminished by time, something that was immediately on display via the set-opening "Way Of The World." I don't know how they're still doing it, but thank God.

Which brings us to Squeeze.  The bands have been rotating opening/closing duties each night, and after seeing Cheap Trick's set, I can't imagine why Squeeze would ever want to be the band closing for Cheap Trick.   If Cheap Trick came to help burn out the last few moments of the weekend, Squeeze were seemingly there to politely and properly show the weekend the door, in their own British way.  But the two bands share not only common loves (see: John, Paul, George and Ringo), but also incredible musical precision, and as it turned out, the mix of blue-eyed soul and jangly pop gems from Messrs. Difford and Tilbrook were just what the doctor ordered to wrap it all up.

While Cheap Trick often veered towards the more obscure side of their catalog, Squeeze played it a bit more safe and served up nearly every familiar cut off of the classic Singles: 45's and Under (you know, that one Squeeze hits collection that nearly everybody bought in the '80s) and they even found room for a few surprises, like "Hope Fell Down" from 1984's Difford & Tilbrook, an album that was introduced as "the great lost Squeeze album."  Like Zander, Glenn Tilbrook's voice remains ageless, and it was such a treat to finally mark Squeeze off of my concert bucket list.  The band recently wrapped up Spot The Difference, a collection of re-recorded Squeeze hits that will hit stores in August.  (In a recent interview with Scene, Tilbrook went in-depth regarding the collection.)  And indeed as the title suggests, you'd be hard pressed to find any differences - the band sounded absolutely fantastic during Sunday night's performance and really provided a nice treat to wrap up the weekend.  Chatter from the past couple of years suggests that there might be a new studio album of Squeeze material on the horizon - let's hope that this will come to pass sooner rather than later.

Photos by Annie Zaleski

Cheap Trick setlist (75 minutes):

Way of the World
Clock Strikes Ten
I Can't Take It
I Want You to Want Me
These Days
Borderline
Need Your Love
Heaven Tonight
Didn't Know I Had It
Magical Mystery Tour
Ballad of TV Violence
Baby Loves to Rock
Sick Man of Europe
Closer - The Ballad of Burt and Linda
Surrender

encore:

Dream Police
Goodnight

Squeeze setlist (75 minutes):

Black Coffee in Bed
Take Me I'm Yours
Annie Get Your Gun
When The Hangover Strikes
Loving You Tonight
If It's Love
It's So Dirty
Goodbye Girl
Hope Fell Down
If I Didn't Love You
Cool For Cats
Is That Love
Someone Else's Heart
Up The Junction
Hourglass
Slap and Tickle
Tempted

encore:

Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

  • Benny Hill

    I was ready to storm the stage and kick that smug little keyboard player with his faggy iPad in the balls if they didn't play Another Nail For My Heart… lucky for him they played it as an encore.