One Big Treat

Hail the power-pop excellence that is Cheap Trick

One Big Treat
The three original members of Cheap Trick have mostly been at it since 1974.

Some of you looked at the slate of Spokane County Interstate Fair entertainment and thought, "Oooh! The Duck Dynasty guys are coming!" or "Um, Air Supply is coming? Are they free if I buy the deep-fried butter?" They are not.

I looked at the lineup and immediately drove to the fair offices and bought Cheap Trick tickets — true story.

Here are some reasons you should also get into the power-pop pioneers:

You get Cheap Trick, not one guy and some hired guns. Three of the four members are the same who have been in the band from the get-go, including killer singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson. The drummer is Nielsen's son Daxx, who took over from Bun E. Carlos in 2010. There was some ugliness there, but all parties reportedly settled their differences (and lawsuits).

Cheap Trick at Budokan. The band toured Japan in 1978 and were greeted like the Beatles, and recorded the shows for a Japan-only live album. It turned out so well they released it worldwide and it was their breakthrough, going triple platinum in the United States. It's still one of the great live albums, and its version of "I Want You To Want Me" still fills classic-rock radio.

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl loves Cheap Trick. The quartet headlines the Spokane fair in mid-September. But a couple of weeks back, they were hand-picked to open Foo Fighters' sold-out show at Chicago's Wrigley Field (the band originally hails from Rockford, Illinois), playing to nearly 50,000. When I saw Cheap Trick play a club at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Grohl's band showed up as a surprise opener. Who knows? That could always happen again.

Rick Nielsen's ridiculous guitars. Ever see a man play a guitar with five necks? You really should.

You love Stephen Colbert. You know the theme song for the dearly departed Colbert Report? Yep, written and performed by Cheap Trick.

You love That '70s Show. Fans of the long-running Ashton Kutcher/Mila Kunis vehicle will recall the "In The Street" theme song, a cover of Big Star. That cover was done by Cheap Trick.

You love Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Remember the scene of Damone trying to scalp concert tickets? "Can you honestly tell me that you forgot? Forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander or the charisma of Rick Nielsen?" Some of us have definitely not forgotten.

"Surrender." The best rock 'n' roll can be simple and straightforward, as long as it connects, especially with teenagers. Listen to "Surrender" for something truly timeless: "Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little bit weird." ♦

Cheap Trick • Thu, Sept. 17, at 7 pm • All-ages • $20/$25/$30 • Spokane County Fair & Expo • 404 N. Havana • • 325-7328

Enumclaw, Milly @ Lucky You Lounge

Fri., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...