Three for the Hall: Heart, Jett, Cheap Trick

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn what could also be termed the AARP tour, a promoter pulled recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick (2016), Joan Jett (2015), and Heart (2013) and sent them on a summer tour billed as Three for the Hall.  Since I am a card-carrying AARP rock & roller, I snagged my tickets for the Ascend Amphitheater (Nashville) as soon as they went on sale.  Luckily I did, because I discovered my $35 lawn seat was fetching $77 on the day before the show.  I would have sold it, but then I would have to find a new blog subject this week!

It was a rare cool night in September when my bride and I ventured downtown on a school night (we know how to party!).  As I have written before, the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville on the river is a great place for a show.  

As most “experienced” acts seem to, they started the show on time!  Videos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was shown for each artist.  Not only did it show pieces of their induction speech, but it showed a video history of the artists.  One thing that really surprised me was the quick set changes between acts.  It was literally 15 minutes to whisk away the previous act’s gear and roll out the next one’s. Very impressive.

Cheap Trick played first on the bill which surprised me somewhat.  Though they were first, that didn’t diminish their show.  They played an hour reaching back to their first album, as well as playing from their latest release.  As usual, they played their hearts out with Rick Nielsen changing guitars as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends or Beyonce changes costumes.    Robin Zander still can handle the vocals as well as ever and never met a high note he didn’t like.  Cheap Trick truly seems to enjoy playing and changes their set from night to night – not just one or two songs, but four or five songs.  Really makes it fresh. 

Joan Jett played all the songs she was supposed to play.  The songs sounded exactly like you were used to hearing.  In all honesty, I have never been much of a Joan Jett fan and her set this night didn’t change it.  It was very low energy to me and quite honestly, boring.  I did hear some folks comment that they though her set was great; so I guess it was just me not being a fan.  The angry punk persona just doesn’t work when you are 58.

Now Heart, that’s a different story.  Ann and Nancy Wilson came out and took the stage by storm.  Though both are in their mid-60’s, they still have it.  Yes, I have been a Heart fan for years, so I am biased.  Ann didn’t avoid any note and nailed them all.  Best surprise of the show had to be when Nancy sang a great song called Two off their latest right after These Dreams. 

I must confess that I suffered a couple of broken ribs during the show.  This occurred when Nancy proceeded to kick her leg over her head during the start of Crazy on You.  My lovely bride elbowed me and said something about calming down.  I mean, I was just showing my appreciation for her flexibility…..  They closed the show with a two-song encore consisting of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song & Stairway to Heaven.  Normally, I would complain about artists playing other artists’ songs, but Heart has long been known for throwing in Led Zep songs and they rocked on these two.  Speaking of Stairway, do yourself a favor and Google Heart’s performance of Stairway at the Kennedy Center Awards.  It will give you goosebumps.

All in all, it was a great night of classic rock.  While I disagree with some of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees, these three definitely deserve to there.

Musing in Nashville

Zach

P.S.  Here are the set lists from that night

Cheap Trick

  • Hello There
  • Clocks Strikes Ten 
  • California Man
  • Southern girls
  • He’s A Whore
  • No Direction
  • Day Tripper (Beatles cover)
  • Stop This Game
  • I’m Waiting for the Man – Tom Peterson on lead vocals
  • The Flame- Robin Zander nailed that last note
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Dream Police
  • Surrender
  • Auf Wiedersehen

Joan Jett 

  • Victim of Circumstance
  • Cherry Bomb (Runaways)
  • Do You Wanna Touch Me
  • Bad Reputation
  • TMI
  • You Drive Me Wild (Runaways)
  • Light of Day (Michael J Fox & JJ movie)
  • Make It Back
  • Love is Pain
  • Any Weather
  • I Love Rock & Roll
  • Crimson & Clover
  • I Hate Myself for Loving You
  • Everyday People

Heart

  • Wild Child
  • Magic Man
  • What About Love
  • Even It Up
  • These Dreams
  • Two 
  • Straight On
  • Kick It Out
  • Beautiful Broken
  • Alone – very stripped down version with Ann wailing
  • Crazy on You – leg kick (oh my)
  • Barracuda – opening riff is one of the most wicked licks in all of rock & roll
  • Immigrant Song
  • Stairway to Heaven

It’s About Time

music musings, beaverdamusa.comSunday night, August 16, 2015 was a night of firsts for me.  I had tickets to see Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton at the new Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville.  The title will explain itself as you continue reading.

cheap trick 1New Venue – In what seems like two months, someone built a new amphitheater on the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.  In the almost ten years since Starwood Amphitheater closed for a mixed use development that never came out of the ground.  Back in the day, Starwood snagged all the acts on the summer tour.  There were plenty of memories that got bulldozed when it was razed.  Starwood seated about 5k in the covered seats and 12k on the lawn, and it was bursting at the seams many nights.  Ascend is basically a miniature Starwood seating only 6,800 total customers.  However, it is a very manageable venue in that you are never more than a pitching wedge from the bathrooms, concessions, or beverage stands.  The most amazing thing about the venue?  The view – situated on the Cumberland River, you have a view of the neon pedestrian bridge (seen on the TV show Nashville), Titans Nissan Stadium, and downtown.  The only thing that was missing was video screens that we have become accustomed to having for large venues.  Luckily, even on the lawn, you weren’t too terribly far away.  The venue is also very reasonable in that you can bring not only your blankets, but lawn chairs as long as they are the low-backed kind (think beach chairs).  Maybe they do this for comedic relief for the folks on the lawn watching me roll out of one of those things (I’m not too proud to roll to the knee before getting up).

cheap trick 2Cheap Trick – This has been one of the most elusive bands ever for me.  I remember back when I was a sophomore in high school and they played at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium during the height of the Dream Police album.  I was such a huge Cheap Trick fan even to the point of flailing on a neighbor’s drum set during the song Dream Police.  When I asked if I could go, I got the “we’ll see” line from the parents.  Well, the time associated with “we’ll see” exceeded the time for Cheap Trick to sell out the venue.  It seemed that they might have been around a couple of other times, but the timing just didn’t work out.  Fast forward to about five years ago – Cheap Trick, Poison, and Def Leppard were playing Nashville and on the day of the show, it was cancelled due to a death in the Def Lep family.  It seems that Cheap Trick re-scheduled, but once again timing denied me the chance.  Well, I finally got to see them and they didn’t disappoint.  They managed to play all their hits as well as some deep cuts while entertaining the crowd.  While lead singer Robin Zander may be 61, his voice is still great.  He wasn’t afraid of going after – and reaching – the high notes in Voices and The Flame.   Rick Nielsen moves around great for someone that is 68.  Though admitting he was battling a cold, he played through all the songs and about 10 guitar changes.  The night was made when I finally got to hear Dream Police and Surrender after 35+ years. (Click this link to watch a clip from “Dream Police” IMG_2019)
Peter Frampton – I went to a Frampton show about 15 years ago, but I didn’t see him.  He was squeezed between Tommy Shaw (Seven Deadly Zens tour) and Lynyrd Skynyrd on a triple bill.  I was chatting with a friend outside the arena during his set, so the other night in Nashville gave me an opportunity to finally see him.  I must say I gained a new appreciation of the man’s talent.  I guess I was under the assumption that he was your basic heart-throb from the 1970’s.  The guy can lay down some serious licks on the guitar.  Speaking of guitars – he mentioned that the guitar used in Frampton Comes Alive had been lost for 30 years, but had been found and saved.  He mentioned that he is a Nashville resident and had an acoustic guitar that had been damaged in the 2010 flood, but was restored.  Like many of the acts that I grew up with, he is aging like all of us.  However, at 65, Mr. Frampton can show why he gets all the accolades.  Frampton had a rule of no photos after the third song – he indicated in an interview it was because he wanted folks to enjoy the show and not have their noses in their phones.  Great policy.

All in all, it was a great night – a great venue and two acts that I was overdue to see.  If you get a chance, check out the new venue in Nashville – you will be glad you did.

 

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