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Cheap Trick Alex Chilton Tribute at SXSW

On Friday while at SXSW we went to the BMI stage to see Cheap Trick perform. I found out earlier in the day while at Flatstock, a poster show inside the Austin Convention Center, that Bun E. Carlos was not touring with them. A guy selling posters told me after I commented on the CT poster he was selling. About 5 minutes later, who do I see walking the floor? Only the greatest singer in the world!

I walked up to him like a high school kid and said something really lame like “Hi Robin, I’m a huge fan. I think you are the best singer in the world. Can I take my picture with you?”
Robin: ” sure, no problem”
Me: “Is Bun E. playing tonite?”
Robin: “No, he’s in a convalescent home. We are all old men. Dax Nielson is playing with us tonite”
Me: “I know” (trying to sound smart, not realizing I just asked if Bun E. was playing the show)
Me: “The last 3 Cheap Trick records are 3 of the best records ever made. I especially like Special One”
Robin:  “Thanks”
Me: “Have a great set tonite”

I go find my friend Jasper and tell him I just met Robin Zander. He flips out and runs up to Robin and geeks out even more than me. We continue to snap pictures with the greatest singer in the world. He was really nice to us, as he could tell we were worshiping the ground he walked on.

That night at the show, we arrive just as they are getting ready to start. The place is packed. I mean like 10,000 people packed. We fight our way through the crowd to somewhere near the sound booth. Jasper recognizes the sound man as a guy from Detroit from the band Speedball. He jumps the barrier to the soundboard, lands flat on his face, then gets up and goes to the sound guy and says something. He runs back to us and says “It’s cool, come on over the baricade!” So we watched the entire show from the comfort of the soundbooth area!

I’m trying to film several songs and each time, Jasper is shoving me, trying to screw up my shots and yelling “CHEAP TRICK!”.

All in all, a great time was had.

Cheap Trick played almost no hits, with the exception of I Want You To Want Me, Surrender and Dream Police. They sounded fantastic, even without Bun E. in the band. Included in the set was a nice tribute to Alex Chilton, with the songs Sleep Forever and Heaven Tonite.

Related posts:
Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielson – “The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Would Be Lucky To Have Us”
Rock and Roll Geek Show 386 – Ass Kissing With Butler
Rock and Roll Geek Hall of Fame Induction – RnR Geek Show 373

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2 thoughts on “Cheap Trick Alex Chilton Tribute at SXSW

  1. Saw CT play last nite at CasinoRama, small venue with good acoustics and sightlines, but a crowd over-medicated on Prozac. Felt the need to herd them onto buses and drag them to a rock party in Detroit.The band was tight, Robin Zander’s vocals were amazing, and the sound tech crew did a Mission Impossible, bringing in the B equipment from Chicago after the loss of their stage equipment in Ottawa on Sunday. Hats off to the entire band; alot of the oldschool touring acts would have either cancelled out or just “called it in”. Got to see a class rock act and guitar museum on the same stage, same time: everybody wins.

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