Fun Fun Fun Fest: Cheap Trick

2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees deliver

An hourlong set wasn’t nearly long enough to encapsulate Cheap Trick’s 42 years of rock & roll pizzazz. In the pre-set audio intro, they squeezed in a Japanese lead-in to “Surrender,” reference to the Beatles, and snippets of “Dream Police” and “I Want You to Want Me,” the latter of which put the Chicagoans on the map stateside by going Top 10 in 1979.

Zander & Nielsen (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Photo by David Brendan Hall

They then waltzed onstage shredding traditional opener “Hello There.” Wearing a white suit and matching shirt, Robin Zander crowned it with a medium-brim white hat with a white feather in it. What he perhaps lacks in Eighties feathered blond hair underneath didn’t diminish his pretty-boy frontman appeal one iota.

Rick Nielsen’s quirk remains intact all these decades later, the author of “I Want You to Want Me” playing 12 guitars and with a total of 17 necks. He occasionally tossed in a few jumps, landing swiftly on his orthopedic Nikes. He wielded his signature five-neck guitar for less than a minute during “Auf Wiedersehen,” Cheap Trick’s trademark closer.

Instrumentally, Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson’s fingers haven’t aged, and Daxx Nielsen livened up the stage in the midst of original drummer Bun E. Carlos’ absence. Yet Zander remains the show. He sings to the front row like he’s taking them all backstage afterward.

The 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees didn’t get a headlining set length, but their arena rock delivered an epic performance nonetheless.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Cheap Trick
I Still Want You to Want Me
I Still Want You to Want Me
Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen on Budokan, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ & Keef

Tim Stegall, June 25, 2013

15 Minutes with Cheap Trick's Robin Zander
15 Minutes with Cheap Trick's Robin Zander
Watch out ZZ Top!

Jim Caligiuri, Nov. 16, 2012


Cheap Trick, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Daxx Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos, Beatles

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle