Monday, June 24, 2013

Pretty Cool, and...Meh. Or: Pat Benatar and Cheap Trick

Hi boys and girls--

I went to the Pat Benatar and Cheap Trick show at AVA on June 16. I had been wanting to see Pat Benatar for years and finally got my chance. A big reason I loved Pat Benatar when I was a kid was that she was a woman singing in a more male-sounding style of music. She sounded so strong, so confident, and so cool, and I thought, "Wow. I wanna be her!" I still remember when Hit Me With Your
Best Shot came out and I just thought it was the greatest song. Here's the funny thing:  Benatar was the opening act for Cheap Trick, and I think most people (myself included) thought it would be the other way around. Benatar walked out onstage and opened with All Fired Up, one of her later hits. Her guitar player (who is also her husband), Neil Giraldo (also known as Spyder) had some really great looking guitars and I really liked his sound. She performed Hit Me With Your Best Shot (of course) and the crowd really got into it. Other songs she performed included Love Is A Battlefield, We Belong, Promises In The Dark, and Hell Is For Children. If you're not familiar with this song, it's a song she wrote nearly thirty years ago about child abuse. As she explained to the crowd, "We will continue to perform this song at every show we do until every child is safe." I had tears in my eyes and chills down my spine while they played this one.

As Benatar's set came to a close, I started to panic. She hadn't done the ONE song I really wanted to hear....

What if she didn't do it? Man, I was gonna be mad. And then came....Heartbreaker. YES! I jumped up and down and pumped my fists and sang my heart out. My friends were uh, kind of laughing at me, but I didn't care! The song segued for a bit into the chorus of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire and ended with a riff from Led Zeppelin (Black Dog, I think.) Great way to end her set. She skipped a few I would have liked to have heard, such as Fire and Ice, Treat Me Right, and Shadows Of The Night, but I wonder if she had been the headlining act that she would have had a longer set? More incentive to see her again....

To be honest, Cheap Trick was a let down after Benatar. I've never been a fan, but I can see why some critics and fans think they're a hugely underrated band. (Check out the Tucson Weekly's blurb on them from the June 13 issue's music section.) Musically, I thought they sounded great (I was really impressed by their drummer), but the songs just didn't do it for me. I was also increasingly annoyed by Rick Nielsen's schtick of throwing a guitar pick out into the audience every 3 minutes. The crowd started to thin out about two thirds of the way into their set and I would have left early too, but my friend really wanted to hear Dream Police, which they did second to last. If you're interested in checking out Cheap Trick's music we've got a bunch of it available on Freegal, our music download site (3 songs a week for free!)

I also have to mention some fashion notes.....I give props to performers who don't feel the need to put on a "costume" or change outfits every 20 minutes. Benatar was dressed all in black and looked great, but.....pigtails? Really? Maybe I'm just used to seeing her with short hair. Also, I am suspicious of men past a certain age who wear leather pants (I'm looking at you, Robin Zander, and members of Scorpions as well.) And what's with the policeman-style hats some of these guys wear now too? (Well, I think we all know those are covering up a lack of something....!) I only saw half of Robin Zander's face the entire night, and along with his heavily sequined jacket, it didn't work for me...but hey, there are no rules in rock n roll, right?

Until next time...


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