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11/11/2015

Cheap Trick ventures beyond the greatest hits at Bomb Factory gig

Nothing against founding drummer Bun E. Carlos, a fine musician who retired from the road in 2010. But while he was behind the kit, Cheap Trick often worked on cruise control, playing the same 80-minute greatest-hits show night after night.

Saturday, the band challenged itself - and its audience, too - with an hour-and-45-minute show brimming with lesser known gems, including the R-rated strut "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School," and "Lookup," a rave-up from its career-launching 1978 album At Budokan.

"That one was recorded before 99.5 percent of you were born," Rick Nielsen said, exaggerating as he surveyed a crowd mixed with 20- and 30-somethings and fogeys like himself. At age 68, Nielsen doesn't leap as high as he used to. But he was still a fireball of comic energy as he uncorked Jeff Beck-worthy solos on an endless parade of guitars, from his trademark 5-neck monster to "Uncle Dick," a twin-neck Hamer that looks like a cartoon version of Nielsen.

Nielsen's son Daxx didn't try to emulate Bun E. Carlos - instead, he locked into a hard rock groove with founding bassist Tom Petersson and pretty much stayed there. The key to the show was singer Robin Zander, looking like he stepped out of Scarface in his white suit and feathered fedora and sounding like Roy Orbison's nephew as he nailed one falsetto note after the next

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