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Sunday, December 2, 2012



& AerosmithLive at the Air Canada Center (November 27, 2012) :: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but I was slumming as the staff copywriter at CBS Records Canada in Toronto when these two dizzbusters first hit it big on Columbia and Epic, which meant I did get to see them live in concert right from the very beginning. And although I always enjoyed watching both bands strong-arm their way into progressively larger venues from Massey Hall to Maple Leaf Gardens and beyond, it was Cheap Trick who consistently caught my eye. After all, anyone could look like an assault victim version of the Rolling Stones back in the early ’70s but it took real vision to look like a Vogue variation of the Bowery Boys.

I still recall tripping to some obscure backwater burg to see Cheap Trick open on KISS’ Love Gun tour; even bribed a comely usherette with a sawbuck to sneak me backstage so I could snap a few Instamatics and toss a few queries. Indeed, one of my favorite moments as a rock critic came while I was loitering in an aisle watching the headliner’s act. Halfway into their set I became dimly aware of someone standing next to me, quietly smoking in the dark. I turned around and there was traps master Bun E. Carlos raptly watching KISS perform as if he were seeing them for the very first time. I knew how he felt because that’s the same way I felt every time I saw Cheap Trick on stage; still do, as a matter of fact.

Anyway, after they lost the Battle of the Budokan, the Japanese surrendered to Cheap Trick and hailed their new conquering masters as the “American Beatles”—which is all well and good if you want to take the word of a World War loser. But where I come from, Cheap Trick are scads better than that: they’re the All American blue plate Beatles and bluesy pop Stones with a surgical precision side order of Grand Stooge Railroad thrown in for bombastic good humor, man.

So when my long-time friend the Kingfish read in the local Dream Police Gazette that Cheap Trick were coming to town in tandem with Aerosmith again, he cashed in a few more overdue markers and “acquired” another pair of high priced ducats so we could see for ourselves if these two vintage CBS label-mates still had what it takes to shake things up. I’ll let my friend take it from here:

“Dis be de ol’ Kingfish, typin’ away on his Whiteberry about dem Cheap Trick boys. Back when ah wuz runnin’ numbers dey wuz Chicago’s finest, dey sho’ nuff wuz. Ebby tahm ah hears dat song about dem bein’ dem high rollahs on top udda world, ah jus’ has t’smile ’cause dat song gimme all de props ah needed t’make it to da top mahself. Ain’t dat da troof!

“Now de first ting ah gots ta say is dat ebben after all dese years dem crazy Cheap Tricksters ain’t no buncha grizzled galloots, no suh. In fact, if ah didn’t know better, ah’d say dat dem two pretty boys Petersson and Zander were guzzlin’ suds straight outta dat Fown’tinna Yoot. And don’choo start me talkin’ ’bout their better half! Dat crazy sumbitch widda baseball cap “Dead End” Nielsen, why he remains rock’s greatest manic impressive. Dat mofo spent de whole night slingin’ guitar picks at ebbybody from de security guards to de guitar techs—while he was busy playin’ de tastiest guitar solos! Ah nebber saw Johnny Hooker do dat.

“And ebben if dat funky drummer widda funny sammich name is too busy brewin’ java dese days to sit hisself down behind an in-concert drum kit, his live standby, which be Dead End’s son Daxx, is almost as good a skin smasher, if not nearly as handsome as dat ol’ rascal Bun E. Ah nebber saw Cozy Cole do dat.

“And Petersson widdis twelve string bass? Dat brutha is so heavy he sound like ten bass players playin’ all at once! Ah nebber saw Chucky Mingus do dat.

“But best of all was dat sparkly sequined gent Mr. Zander. Dat cat hit ebba single high note, no matter how high de octave, jus’ like he did on dat Cheap Trick Colored record. He musta sold somethin’ at de crossroads to have a singin’ voice better den any blues guitarist who ebber libed. Ah nebber saw Robby Johnson do dat.

“Ennyway, ah sho’ wuz happy t’see dem Tricksters do alla de big hit songs dat de ol’ Kingfish like to heah from ‘Suhrenda’ and ‘Ah’wanchoo T’wanmi’ to ‘Gone Raze Hail’ and mah own purs’nul fave ‘On Top Udda World.’

“Now de ol’ Kingfish, he’d like tuh tell yuh ’bout how dem dandy Aerosmiffers were but, seein’ as how ah’d already gotten mah money’s worth from de openin’ act, me and de muthacanucka we said ‘Feets, do yo’ stuff!’ and done up and gone before dem headliners ebben hit the stage. Y’see, as much as ah love dem boys from Boston, there’s jus’ no comparin’ de two bands because, when it comes to good ol’ fashioned rock ’n’ roll Yankee ingenuity, dem noise boys from Illinois Cheap Trick are de American Standard!”

Be seeing you!

Sun, December 2, 2012 | link 

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