It was in the late ‘70s, so I’m a little foggy on the details, but when Cheap Trick was breaking big with their album Cheap Trick at Budokan and the monster single “I Want You To Want Me” they played a show at the Agridome. I had their three previous albums and was into them pretty big — even before Budokan, in fact, courtesy of bands that used to play Pub Nights at the U of R covering “Surrender” off Heaven Tonight.
The show was pretty much sold out. And the crowd was pumped for it too. The back-up band was Pat Travers, I think, who, as it happens, were just in town last week for the Mid-Winters Blues Festival. The band had a minor hit at the time with a song called “Boom! Boom! Out Go the Lights!” and were okay.
When Cheap Trick started playing I remember the sound being shitty — as it often was back then. At some point relatively early on some people in the arena started hucking fire-crackers around. One guy sitting a few rows in front of us had one go off right by his ear. He stood up and turned around, pissed as hell, but it was dark and you couldn’t see anything.
Some firecrackers even got directed at the stage. I don’t know how close they got, but the band finally issued a warning that if any more were thrown they’d end the show. They maybe played another song or two before more firecrackers were thrown and they walked off stage. I couldn’t really blame them because what was going on with the firecrackers was bullshit. But even when they’d been playing the sound had been so crappy that it wasn’t very good.
Cheap Trick came back a year or so later to play Buffalo Days at the Agridome. There wasn’t as much interest this time though because the first show had been such a disaster. My sister happened to be visiting from out of town, and she liked Cheap Trick well enough, so we went.
Loverboy was the back-up band. They were just starting to make a name for themselves and were pretty good. And Cheap Trick fixed the sound problems they’d had last time, and put on a rocking show that my sister and I were both glad we caught.
Anyway, Cheap Trick is in town to play a show tonight at Casino Regina (8 p.m. $65, $72.) I’m not sure if drummer Bun E. Carlos will be with them or not. There’s been a bit of a dust-up in the band and the Casino publicity photo just shows Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersen. To close, here’s video of the the band from the late ’70s playing “Surrender” on the hit late-night TV show Mid-Night Special: