Cheap Trick at Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO

A night full of blazer jackets, silly hats, checkered wardrobes, and a little rock and roll to let us know we’re all alright.

Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts opened the show with “Heavy Metal” from the 2016 album Heavy Metal. The upbeat power pop has a 60s groove that started warming the audience up for their dance moves. You can also hear the influence of Nielsen’s family background. The legendary Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen just happens to be Miles’s father.

The fretwork was definitely inherited, as well as the zany jokes in and out of the songwriting. Also onstage was a lightbox with the letters “OHBAHOY.” For those inquiring minds like mine, the OHBAHOY lightbox and the 2019 album are named after one of Miles’s two childhood imaginary friends.

Miles shared a story about having to just drop off his daughter at college and the parental nerves that accompany the milestone. During a phone conversation, he asked his daughter how things were going and what she had been up to. Her response was, learning about college parties. The talk of being safe, having fun, and learning to grow up, led Miles to write “It’ll Be Alright.”

A very welcomed soul groove from “Start It Up” carried you back to the late 60s and 70s soul-funk era with harmonizing vocals that gave goosebumps and had a Tom Petty vibe. The set closed with an acapella-style song called “Best I Can.”

Cheap Trick, who found their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, opened the set with backlit silhouettes of Robin and Tom centerstage. Rick, Robin Taylor, and Daxx come out and join to begin the night’s set with “Dream Police.” Fans from many generations packed the house and were ready to dance and sing the night away. The stage setup did not disappoint either. The famous Cheap Trick checkerboard dressed the stage and gave a 3D effect. An old-school amp wall and guitar stacks also provided depth to the checkered backdrop.

The stage shenanigans started as Robin and Rick pumped up the crowd, and even if for one night, many of the fans felt like they were back in the 80s. Not that that is a bad thing. Rick quickly became the raining pick god by throwing handfuls of picks into the crowd. Rick also wore his comedian hat by telling many jokes and funny stories throughout the night.

The family affair continued when lead singer Robin introduced his son Robin Taylor who plays rhythm guitar and provides background vocals. They say, “like father, like son,” and this duo does not miss a beat or note for that matter.

As guitars and wardrobe jackets changed, so did the lead vocals throughout the set. Rick brought out the entire opening band to play one hell of a jam session with all of the Cheap Trick members. Miles Nielsen sang “Voices” with Daniel James McMahon and Robin providing backing vocals and rhythm guitars, while Adam Plamann, Dave McClellan, and Jeff Werckle provided background vocals.

The next surprise for fans was Zander’s son, Robin Taylor taking lead vocals to sing “So Good To See You.” Well hello, Robin Taylor. It’s good to see you too! Like I said before, “like father, like son.” The Zander trait was passed down from father to son with the impressive vocals and guitar fretwork.

The end of the set felt like a modern-day Live At The Budokan. Much of the audience was singing and dancing along to “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” “Clock Strikes Ten,” and ending with “Goodnight Now” ladies and gentlemen.

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About Mary Devosha 6 Articles
Mary is a concert photographer who also enjoys many styles of photography. She enjoys creating a timelapse of the night sky and star trail photography. She also likes taking a day hike shooting waterfalls and wildlife. Her other passion besides photography and music is riding her motorcycle to get some wind therapy.