Two Cheap Tricks in One Night
Updated: Aug 15
Rock n Roll Hall of Famers CHEAP TRICK came into San Juan Puerto Rico to join the Celebrity Infinity Cruise Ship for two performances in one night on the StarVista 70’s Rock n Romance Cruise. Guests had already spent a few days being entertained by other 70’s legends Jefferson Starship, America and Randy Bachman along with Q&As, autograph sessions and tribute acts to The Who, Led Zeppelin, and ABBA.
About an hour before the band’s first seven o’clock show there was a 30-minute interview
with Cheap Trick that was cut a bit short and for good reason. Interviewer and StarVista Cruise Director Jason who is loved by regular cruisers was his usual funny and entertaining
self. He smiled and warmly talked to the members of Cheap Trick however the band was the exact opposite. The only member who really talked was guitarist Rick Nielsen and even that was like pulling teeth. All answers were short and curt leaving Jason and the audience wanting more. I was very fortunate to have spoken with Jason minutes before and provide two of the questions for the Q&A which lead him to asking about new music. Robin confirmed there’s a new album on the way. When Jason asked about the sound on the new album it was Daxx who gave the funniest answer saying it’s going to sound like Scandinavian death metal.
At the seven o’clock show the lights went down and a female voice informed the audience “You’re about to see the best f*&#ing rock n roll show you’ll ever see.” After that, all five members of Cheap Trick came on stage. Rick Nielsen ripped out guitar screeching chords as lead vocalist Robin Zander was wearing his trademark white policeman’s cap, white shirt and white pants with baby blue stars all over them. Robin sang out the familiar and best opening lyrics for a rock show with “Hello there ladies and gentlemen / hello there ladies and gents / are you ready to rock / are you ready to rock?
Rick’s son Daxx pounded down on the drums with a youthful energy. He was even given a short solo near the end of each of the shows to cement his place within the band.
Speaking of keeping it in the family on the far stage left and almost out of sight was Robin’s son, Robin Taylor on guitar and background vocals.
Original bassist Tom Petersson was wearing one of the worst stage outfits I’ve seen in quite some time. He was wearing a long tan brown overcoat and a large hat with sunglasses. Tom was also given a spotlight with a brief mundane bass intro to then sing just as mundane lead vocals on a cover of Velvet Underground’s Waiting for the Man.
The first set experienced technical difficulties within the sound mix. Robin’s vocals were not coming through properly. Audience members were yelling about it. Robin asked “What’s the problem?” People shouted that they couldn’t hear Robin’s vocals. He responded with “Yeah they said that in our last few reviews.” A tech ran on stage and Rick fiddled with the knobs on his speaker stack to improve things.
The second show at nine o’clock began with the same female voice-over. Rick and band were on stage but there was NO Robin. Then out came someone with long black hair, wearing shorts and a guitar strapped on, singing Hello There. It was none other than Todd Rundgren, bouncing around like a 17-year-old punk rocker. It was a welcome surprise and gave a whole new energy and vibe to the second show. It made total sense since Todd had produced Cheap Trick for their 1983 Next Position Please album.
An extra fun addition to the second show was Robin changed clothes and was now wearing a sparkling top hat, George Washington T-shirt and black pants with baby blue stars. Rick even changed his shoes. We all wished Tom would have changed his outfit.
The nine o’clock show was off to a better start because the sound issues from earlier were sorted out. The band seemed more focused and the in between-song banter was also better as they drove a raucous California Man to introducing If You Want My Love as being featured in the film Joe Dirt. During She’s Tight Rick and Robin were having fun acknowledging the waitress serving drinks in the front row.
Even though it was the 70’s Rock n Romance Cruise Cheap Trick played their number one single from the 80's The Flame to rapturous applause. Robin’s high note vocals were spot on. From there it was back to back hits of I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police and Surrender. Robin and Rick shared the microphone on Ain’t That a Shame. Of course no Cheap Trick show would be complete without Nielsen throwing handfuls of custom guitar picks into the audience which he frequently did.
Both shows ended with the perfect closing song Goodnight and Robin energetically singing “Goodnight now ladies and gentlemen / “Goodnight now ladies and gents / It’s the end of the show / Now It’s time to go.”
Check out video footage of Cheap Trick performing Dream Police.
Set List for both shows
If You Want My Love
Never Had a Lot To Lose
Don’t Be Cruel
Stop This Game
I’m Waiting For The Man
I Want You To Want Me
Ain’t That A Shame
Next year's headliners on the 70's Rock n Romance Cruise will be FOREIGNER. Check out the website and make sure to book well ahead. You don't want to miss it.