If there’s one constant in rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a Cheap Trick show.
Fast approaching its 20th anniversary, the Chicago quartet long ago nailed down its live style, mixing singer Robin Zander’s glass-shattering vocal histrionics, goofy guitarist Rick Neilsen’s urgent power-chording, prodigal bassist Tom Petersson’s thunderous bottom end and Joe-average drummer Bun E. Carlos’ steady grooves into a tightly wound, powerful rock sound that has, despite many bumps in the road, survived on its own terms.
At the packed House of Blues, Cheap Trick offered tracks from its new Warner Bros. album, “Woke Up With a Monster,” as well as songs from its late-’70s glory days.
The band wisely chose the best tunes from the newer material. Songs like show opener “My Gang,””Girlfriends” and new single “Woke Up With a Monster” all stood up well next to the old faves.
From the back catalog, “Southern Girls,””California Man” (with its nifty new guitar intro), the crazed “Dream Police” and “I Want You to Want Me,” the song that brought them worldwide acclaim in 1979, were highlights, as was the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour,” a longtime band concert fave.
A couple of songs, notably tear-jerker “The Flame” (Cheap Trick’s only No. 1 hit) and new dud “Didn’t Know I Had It,” will quickly be forgotten.
Though popular musical styles have long since bypassed Cheap Trick’s straight-ahead rock angle, the band’s proven formula for rock ‘n’ roll that’s loud, heavy and simple is one that’s just too charming to ignore.