Concert review: Cheap Trick at House of Blues, Orlando (with setlist)

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Taking the stage promptly at 9 p.m. and opening with the revved up power pop nugget, “Way Of The World” (from 1979’s Dream Police) was a smart move. It set the tone for what was to follow. Plenty of classics from the Cheap Trick canon as well as recent material from the band’s current string of impressive releases.

It’s nice to see the band headlining; recent stints as a support band have left me wanting more. It gives the band more of a chance to build the momentum of a skillfully selected setlist. It’s even nicer that Cheap Trick are one of the few bands still left that are not afraid to dip deep into their songbook and surprise their followers with rarely-played selections on any given night.

Original band members, lead singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen (pictured above) and bassist Tom Petersson are joined by Nielsen’s son Daxx for the band’s current tour. The youthful drummer added plenty of punch and power to the band's performance. Although it’s a little unusual to not see longtime Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos behind the kit (who is taking a small break from the rigors of touring), it’s nice to have someone from within the band’s camp taking over.

Zander’s growl hasn’t lost a bit of it’s appeal. It’s not easy to shift from a balls-out rocker like the bands cover of The Move’s “California Man” to the soft rock ballad “The Flame,” Cheap Trick's comeback hit from 1988. His vocals have remained one of the strongest and most consistent in the business.

The 100-minute set was loaded with Trick classics (“Dream Police,” “Surrender”) deep album cuts (“Ballad of TV Violence,” “Heaven Tonight”) as well as standouts from the bands most recent release, The Latest (“Sick Man of Europe,” “Miracle”).

One of my all-time favorite bands plowing through their amazing catalog at blaring volume... I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night. And judging from the fun the band seemed to be having onstage, neither can they.

Complete Setlist:

Way of the World

California Man

Hot Love

I Want You to Want Me

These Days

Never Had A Lot to Lose


Miss Tomorrow

Cry Cry

Heaven Tonight

That 70s Song

Ballad of TV Violence

Baby Loves to Rock

Sick Man of Europe

Closer - The Ballad of Burt & Linda


The Flame

Dream Police

Gonna Raise Hell


It’s true. I am biased. I’ve loved Cheap Trick for three of the four decades that I’ve been on this earth. My infatuation with music started early in life and I’ve always had a tendency to remain a loyal fan to most of the bands who have had the greatest impact on me. [Photo by Mike Wilson, from Cheap Trick's support gig for Poison and Def Leppard last August.]

And there’s been absolutely no reason to stop loving this band from Rockford, Ill. Since their incredible self-titled debut album hit the shelves in 1977, Cheap Trick has amassed quite a catalog of melodic, guitar-heavy pop and have had their fair share of ups and down throughout their long illustrious career, but they’ve never strayed from the true spirit of what rock n’ roll is supposed to be about: having fun.

It’s safe to speak for the legion of diehard fans the band has maintained throughout their tenure and say that their greatest strength lies in their live performances. It’s no coincidence that the start of Cheap Trick’s mega-success in the United States was largely due to their landmark concert album, 1979’s At Budokan. With that release, the band was able to show off their skill and mastery like never before captured on wax.

Fast forward 30 years and the band still has what it takes to win over a  crowd. In all the Cheap Trick concerts I’ve attended throughout the years (and believe me, there have been a lot), I can honestly say that Cheap Trick always gives it all they have. A Cheap Trick show is chock full of fun, energy, rebellion and VOLUME. And Friday night’s performance at House of Blues in Orlando was no exception.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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