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. Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner