Taking a quick timeout from its tour with Aerosmith, beloved 70s and 80s rock band Cheap Trick brought its special punk-pop sound to the stage Friday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Performing before a sold-out crowd – many proudly wearing old Cheap Trick concert T-shirts from another, simpler time – the 60-somethings delivered an electrifying performance of fan favorites and deep tracks in the nearly 90-minute show.
Opening with a rousing “Clock Strikes Ten,” frontman Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson proved timeless as they dove into an ambitious, high-energy set that betrayed nothing of the years that have passed.
The audience greeted the group with a standing ovation that lasted throughout the show.
“California Man,” introduced by some serious Nielsen guitar licks, kept things grooving, with many in the crowd dancing and singing along.
And a full-throttled cover of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” gave Zander the opportunity to showcase his pitch-perfect screech and full-throated vocals. Likewise, Zander had no trouble with the upper registers in the arm-swaying ballad “The Flame.”
Other highlights included a punchy “She’s Tight” and the much-anticipated “I Want You to Want Me” that felt anthem-worthy.
“Surrender” was huge and “Dream Police” – offered in an encore performance – felt even bigger, with many in the audience dancing and reaching joyfully toward the stage.
Nielsen — dressed in his usual black-and-white checkered shirt, topped by a bow tie and cap – showered the crowd with piles of picks. And he performed throughout as fans would expect him to, with oddball quirks and smirks and his usual fierce abandon on guitar.
Bassist Tom Petersson matched the show’s intensity with some intense riffs of his own that filled the house with a rumbling, heart-pumping bass.
Daxx Nielson filled in for famed Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos.
And Zander delivered his usual magic, dressed in a shimmery white ensemble and hat certainly inspired by the “Dream Police,” with his signature gold tresses tucked away from view.
While at least one fave was missing — “Ain’t That a Shame” — there were enough lesser-known pieces to please the fans, including “Voices” and “Taxman, Mr. Thief.”
In all, for a band considered by many as legendary for its live performances, this show was everything one would expect of Cheap Trick — loud, brash and memorable.
To learn more about upcoming concerts at Pechanga Resort & Casino, visit www.pechanga.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.