Cheap Trick with Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts- 06/01/12- BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, Illinois

Cheap Trick with Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts- 06/01/12- BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, Illinois
June 3, 2012 | By | Reply More

Cheap Trick with Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts- 06/01/12- BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, Illinois

By John Parks, photos by Todd Reicher

The hometown boys returned to their old stomping grounds of Rockford, Illinois for a show at the big orange box downtown (now called BMO Harris Bank Center) and quite a bit more than the name has changed since our last time seeing them here back in the late nineties opening for Motley Crue. For starters, this time Cheap Trick was headlining, Rick Nielsen’s son, Daxx, has taken over for Bun E. Carlos on the drum throne and this particular gig was something of a Trick family extravaganza in general. Vocalist Robin Zander’s daughter Holland kicked off the festivities with a short set from her band, The Sensations, followed by a set from Rick’s son Miles Nielsen and his band The Rusted Hearts. The guys who round out Ms. Zander’s band are no strangers to our favorite Dream Policeman either, they’ve also doubled over the years as members of local Cheap Trick tribute band Budokan 78. The Sensations aren’t quite as fun as Holland’s old band, The Snaggs, but they were very tight musically and performed exactly the kind of cover songs you’d probably expect from a female-fronted retro act.

Miles Nielsen, June, 1st in Rockford, Il. photo by Todd Reicher

Miles Nielsen, June, 1st in Rockford, Il. photo by Todd Reicher

Rusted Hearts, June 1st, Rockford, Il. Photo by Todd Reicher

Miles and The Rusted Hearts were up next after a very short set change and I will admit to being about as excited about seeing them again as I was seeing Cheap Trick. Miles’ latest album “Presents The Rusted Hearts” is phenomenal. While producer/guitarist Daniel James McMahon and Miles might not have written or recorded these songs with the same arenas Rick frequents in mind, it was nonetheless fascinating to see the band perform them in that setting. Miles himself made note of the fact that they’re not used to playing big rooms as much as “dive bars” but to be honest, the material went over majestically. The Rusted Hearts show began with drummer Mickey Rosenquist licks on “Overrated” and from there stuck mostly to great songs from the new album like “Sirens” and “Disease” with the exception of a very punchy version of “Hey, Hey, Hey” a song culled from Miles’ self titled debut album which closed out the set. Miles has the wit, humor and energy to translate to the big stage and judging by the standing ovation they received, he and his band and are ready for such a leap. If you get a chance to see them in any venue, by all means go.

Mickey Rosenquist of the Rusted Hearts, photo by Todd Reicher

Mickey Rosenquist of the Rusted Hearts, photo by Todd Reicher

Tom Petersson and Daxx Nielsen, photo by Todd Reicher

Tom Petersson and Daxx Nielsen, photo by Todd Reicher

Rick Nielsen, June 1, Rockford.  photo by Todd Reicher

Rick Nielsen, June 1, Rockford. photo by Todd Reicher

I’ve been a Cheap Trick fan since the moment I discovered a well worn copy of “Heaven Tonight” in my sister’s record collection. I’ve seen them pretty faithfully going back to The Doctor tour in 1987 but had missed the last few chances to see them since Bun E. Carlos stopped touring with the band and Daxx stepped in. I’d heard they were playing longer and better sets with Daxx but was still fairly skeptical even during the opening few songs of this show until it clicked. Tom Petersson has always been my personal favorite Trickster, along with Rick, and watching him so excited to be playing with Daxx and so obviously impressed by his energy was infectious. Robin Zander has somehow found a way to still sound fantastic after all this time and not only did “the voice” not disappoint, he more importantly seemed far happier onstage than the last few times I’d seen the band. Rick was, well, Rick. The guy is as dependable as they come and, as always, was the clown prince of rock and roll and host of the proceedings, mentioning Rockford schools at one point and saying that “Daxx went to Boylan, Tom went to Guilford and Robin went to Harlem” while he was thrown out of every school in town. It’s always as if you’re seeing time stand still watching the guys do what they do whether they’re playing haunting gems like “Heaven Tonight” or “Gonna Raise Hell” or frantically buzzing through songs from the debut like “Hot Love” or “He’s a Whore”. The setlist at the show here was phenomenal (with the possible exception of “That 70s Song) and probably far deeper the one they’ll be taking out the rest of the summer on the Aerosmith tour. If you are from Rockford, Illinois and you know your rock and roll you were probably here and you were definitely grinning.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Reviews

Leave a Reply

*