With Cheap Trick
August 12, 2022
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
MANSFIELD, Mass. – For southern New England rock fans, the night was finally here, with a lineup of two iconic rock acts that have been making music and filling concert halls for nearly six decades. It was a perfect weather night for the outdoor performance at the Xfinity Center. First up were the guys from Rockford, Illinois who came to raise hell, Cheap Trick. They started off with “Dream Police” and “Big Eyes.” Robin Zander lead the festivities at center stage, with Tom Petersson to his left on the twelve string bass.
The Cheap Trick kids are alright too, as Rick was not alright, with Robin Taylor Zander filling in on guitar for Rick Neilsen who was absent the stage this night; word around the night was that Rick was out with a sprained ankle. However, Robin Taylor Zander filled the gap and kept the Cheap Trick sound going for the night. On drums was Rick’s son, Daxx Nelson who has been touring with them since 2010.
Robin Zander reminded us that That 70s Show theme song, “That 70s Song” was written by Cheap Trick and we were treated to hearing it live. The hour long Cheap Trick set included “California Man,” “If You Want My Love” and “Boys & Girls & Rock ‘n Roll” from thier latest album In Another World. “Downed” would follow, then a Tom Petersson bass solo and his vocals on “I Know What I Want.” Robin Zander on vocals and guitar took center stage, belting out the lyrics and keeping the crowd fueled up. Tom Petersson was back on the twelve string bass at stage left. Cheap Trick’s set included, “The Flame,” “I Want You To Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Auf Widersehen,” and “Goodnight.”
CHEAP TRICK photo gallery
ROD STEWART – The set started off with five ladies dressed in black dresses, each holding a white instrument of bass, guitar or keyboard at center stage with the throwback imagery of the iconic 1985 music video of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.” The backup singers bore the appearance of the expressionless, abstract mannequin type model, rhythmically swaying and signing along from the Robert Palmer video. Stewart would start off the night with this classic cover, his voice sounded amazing, true to the tone that you would expect from any Stewart studio album and quality of the band crisp and clear.
At age 77, the legendary song writer, performer, vocalist and all around entertainer, Rod Stewart took center stage wearing a shiny silver suit. His unique style, in line with his music is part of what his fan base has gravitated to through the years.
The first occasion that Stewart performed at Mansfield was in May 1989 on his ‘Lost in America’ tour. Including this night, Stewart would have performed on this stage fourteen times. Digging back further into the concert history books, Stewart’s earliest appearances in this Boston area was in 1970 with Faces with shows at The Boston Tea Party night club. Tonight’s return to New England would be another memorable night of music and stage entertainment, a presentation of music that shows how Rod stays forever young.
This would be my first time seeing Stewart perform live and I was excited about it. There was no getting warmed up, the fun started right at the first note. The night was a first class musical entertainment experience of the highest level. If you have not seen Stewart live, then you have yet to fully experience the full Rod Stewart musical experience, a top notch stage show that was filled with backup singers/dancers, and an assortment of musicians to complement the musical arrangement that would fill the nearly two hour set of music.
As one of the world’s best selling musical artists of all time, Stewart has been performing music for over sixty years, with sixteen top ten singles in the United States, with four reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Stewart began his career in the 1960s with the likes of The Jeff Beck Group and Faces. Stewart drafted many early notable songs with those bands, to include “Ohh La la” and “Stay with Me.” Stewart’s solo career would prove more lucrative and go on to dominate the pop music of the 70s, 80s on through today.
The Mansfield set would continue along with “You Wear It Well” and “Ooh La La” from the Faces era. The five-star performance was brought to you by way of sparkly shoes, his signature hair and his distinct voice that bellowed through this outdoor venue all night long. Stewart brought joy and smiles to the crowd through his timeless set of feel good music. The celebration continued with “Some Guys Have All The Luck”, Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party” and “It Takes Two,” which he originally performed with Tina Turner.
Rod the Mod’s style and charisma brought one audience all together for the night, bringing strangers and friends together to celebrate in his timeless classics. The night continued with a powerful version of the 1988 hit “Forever Young”, which included two drummers, followed up with a cover of Cat Stevens, “The First Cut is the Deepest.” Each song was met with some moment where the crowd singing along, and I mean everyone was singing along.
Stewart introduced the next song, saying that they had not played this one in about 9 years, with “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)” from 1981. The female backup singer lineup provided beautiful background vocals, along with instrument performances, and their own spotlighted vocal moments.
The presentation consisted of a fabulous stage set up with large screens above, behind and to the sides of the stage along with an array of instruments and musicians, guitarists, violinists, harp, percussion, dual drummers on some songs. Each song felt like an experience all of its own. Stewart and his musical accompaniment took us on an experience through the world of Rod Stewart music.
“Maggie May” brought the energy to a whole other level. With the mellow introduction, Stewart had the audience singing along from the first note. The 1971 classic is ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as #130 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The music continued with Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”, “Young Turks”, which included a drum solo to include two drummers and the female singer/musicians at the front of the stage drumming along as well.
And then came the disco era sounds of 1978, with that unmistakable melody of “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, the energy of that song kept the crowd on their feet with its first class performance by Stewart and company. “Rhythm of My Heart” followed, and then Stewart departed the stage while the female singers, now dressed in gold-sparkled dresses, performed an amazing rendition of Blondie’s “Call Me”
Stewart returned to the stage, now donned in a bright gold colored suit. Stewart encouraged the audience to have a seat for the next portion, which would include himself and his musical accompaniment of strings, harp and violins; as performers were seated in chairs at the front of the stage for an assortment of acoustic songs, to include a moving version of “People Get Ready” by The Impressions, which included visual imagery on the back screen, to include Martin Luther King Jr. and others from the 60s Civil Rights Movement.
The mellow acoustic set continued with “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” when the music stopped at the end, the audience continued along with the sing along. “You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)”, which included imagery of Celtic Football Club on the screen; and Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately,” Stewart said, “I love this song.”
Stewart left the stage again for a brief break and another clothing change, the backup singers performed “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer. His return to the stage now included an outfit change of a sparkly black coat, and was kicking soccer balls to the audience as he performed “Hot Legs”
We are so fortunate to live in a time where legacy performers such as Stewart are still out on the road performing the musical art they have created. This tour is a don’t miss! Get out and see Rod Stewart – The Hits.
ROD STEWART photo gallery
Rod Stewart has many more North American tour dates in 2022, a string of residence shows in Las Vegas, a UK tour and additional North American tour dates in 2023. For more info on Rod Stewart tour dates, visit: https://rodstewart.com