CHICAGO -- Rob Weber had a big decision to make last week: pay up
to $300 and catch the Rolling Stones in their final U.S. gig, or slap down $100
for four nights of hometown boys Cheap Trick and all that's sure to come with
that rock package.
He made what he felt was the obvious decision.
And, so far, he has no regrets.
"I got my money's worth today alone," Weber said after the Cheap Trick opening
performance at the Metro on Thursday. A Cheap Trick fan, Weber had
purchased a special package that allows him entrance into all four Trick shows,
as well as VIP passes to after-concert parties.
While he decided to pass on the Stones show, choosing not to fork over the
money for what has been called the most expensive rock ticket in the city's
history, Weber was not disappointed by his choice. "They haven't lost their stuff,"
he said about Cheap Trick's live performance.
The Trick began a four-night stay in Chicago that night before a sold-out crowd
of 1,100 gathered at the popular Metro club. The '70s power-pop rockers are in
the midst of a nostalgia tour celebrating their 20th anniversary and the re-
release on CD of their early music catalog, including the famed Live at
Budokan album that first thrust Rick Nielsen and the crew into the limelight.
Several cities around the country get a performance re-creating Cheap Trick's
breakthrough Budokan show from 1978.
Chicago fans, however, were treated to that classic disc on Thursday night only.
That show is to be followed by a series of performances of the band's first three
albums in order of release, including its self-titled LP on Friday, In Color
with special opening guest Smashing Pumpkins on Saturday (May 2) and
Heaven Tonight on Sunday to close out the set.
Having attended the first night, Irene Baki, a fan of the Trick, said, "They didn't
stray from the album at all. I would like to have seen a little more improvisation. I
have a wedding to go to, otherwise I'd be at all four nights. I'll be back Sunday,
Adding to the excitement, Baki reported seeing Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy
Corgan in attendance. "He was rockin' out," she said.
And while Corgan will soon be rocking out in the truest sense of the words on
the Metro stage, each night will feature local bands opening for Cheap Trick.
Thursday and Friday night's shows will have the Smoking Popes -- as well as
Triplefastaction at Friday's show -- and Sunday's show will have Local H on the
Fans were able to purchase a four-show "platinum" package for
$100 that included tickets to all four nights, a limited edition CD and a
VIP party after the first show. Tickets for individual shows were $20.
When asked about their reaction to the opening-night show, Jim Ogburn and
Pete Krakowski looked back and forth at each other. "What was the word?"
Ogburn asked. " 'Wow,' " he said.
"That's all Pete said to me all night. I said 'Wow,' too. I think we said it at the
same time," Ogburn said.
And while they may be older and a little wiser about their over-the-top rock style,
Cheap Trick apparently haven't lost their power and volume. "I'm a little deaf, so
that must be a good sign," Baki said.