Tampa Bay Lightning rocks and Cheap Trick rolls

"California Man," "Baby Loves To Rock," "She's Tight" and "Auf Wiedersehen," all definite rockers from the Trick catalog, were well received and continued to enhance the mood on the sweltering afternoon. This wasn't the time to bring out the ballads. With the exception of the mid-tempo hits "If You Want My Love" and "Tonight It's You," the 60-minute set was chock full of balls-out powerhouse Cheap Trick.

Maniacal guitarist Rick Nielsen showered the crowd with handfuls of guitar picks and went through his normal array of guitars, showing off some of the flashiest and most elaborate axes in the business. Bassist Tom Petersson exhibited his usual cool demeanor while working his magic on his 12-string bass. Nielsen's son Daxx, currently filling in on drums for Bun E. Carlos, pounded the skins with force and helped propel the energy of the mid-afternoon rock session.

As in 2004 (when the band performed a similar post-game show following a Lightning playoff game), a local Tampa Police Department officer who was patrolling the festivities was invited onstage to add backing vocals to the band's signature song, "Dream Police." The officer, obviously a Trick fan, knew just when to add the right about of backing harmonies and even stepped up to take the mic on the song's playful spoken-word bridge.

The crowd, the band and even the cops had a good time on Saturday afternoon. Thank you, Lightning for an exciting victory and for booking one of my all-time favorite bands to play for an hour after the game. I won't climb aboard my soapbox and vent about how grossly underrated and overlooked Cheap Trick is. Anyone who knows me and knows about how deep my love for this band is knows how I feel. No, I'll just stick to reporting on the day's performance and the good time that was had by all.

An hour of live Cheap Trick following a Lightning playoff game victory is about the best way I could think of to spend a Saturday afternoon... getting to follow it up by being surrounded by a group of good friends, ice-cold beverages in hand and blaring the bands 1980 masterpiece, "All Shook Up" back at the house was a bonus.

"Would you like to go to heaven tonight?" Zander sings on the title track of the bands third album ... thanks Robin, I felt like that's just where I was last Saturday night...


The sun is out and summer has definitely arrived although on the calendar, it's still spring. Our local hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are deep in the throes of a tight playoff race. In keeping with the recent tradition of providing live music out in the Plaza area of the St Pete Times Forum after a game commences, the good folks associated with the Lightning stepped up their game and treated us to a Saturday afternoon matinee performance by Rockford, Illinois' favorite sons, Cheap Trick. And boy, the house was rockin'...

Following up a dramatic come-from-behind win (which, incidentally, tied up the best of seven game series with the Boston Bruins), the mood was already one of elation and euphoria by the time Cheap Trick took the stage outside the arena. At 4:30pm sharp, the band appeared on the stage and proceeded to do what they've done so masterfully since the mid-1970's: ROCK.

The team couldn't have picked a better act to capture the vibe of the victory and give the boisterous fans a chance to pump their fists and sing along as they filed out of the forum. Donning a Lightning jersey with his name emblazoned across the back, lead singer Robin Zander belted out his powerful growl as raucously as ever. One of the greatest singers of the era whose vocal ability is just as impressive as ever, Zander, a Bay area resident, looked genuinely pleased to be onstage. Was Robin happy that his local team grabbed the victory? Was he happy to be playing in front of a crowd that was already riled up and didn't need any encouraging? Whatever the reason(s), the Trick frontman seemed glad to be leading the massive crowd into rock 'n' roll hysterics as he and the band powered their way through some of their most energetic material.

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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