"People are going to be blown away," said Bob Rech, Entertainment Manager of The Northern Lights Theater.
He's talking about the one-of-a-kind theatrical performance of Cheap Trick's Dream Police featuring The Rhythmic Noise Philharmonic Orchestra & Mind Choir. The exclusive 12-show engagement kicks off tonight at The Northern Lights Theater.
This show has all the makings of a big-time Vegas show, complete with a full symphony orchestra and choir. It's a show their fans are going to love!
Production designer Butch Allen, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Metallica, Madonna and Lady Gaga was brought in along with world-class video and film director, Jim Yukich. To top things off, Bello, circus performer/producer best known for headlining Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is also a part of the performance.
So, why do a show like this in Milwaukee? "We wanted to do something different in the Theater. Cheap Trick is such a Midwest band that has a great following, so we thought this would be a perfect partnership. A lot of thought has been put into this show," said Rech.
For a little more insight on the show and to learn about some other fun facts, we talked with Cheap Trick's lead guitarist and songwriter, Rick Nielsen:
Cheap Trick has performed at The Northern Lights Theater many times. What's different about this show?
RN: It's a complete theatrical production and is a first in many, many ways. We're performing our fourth album, Dream Police, in its entirety, plus more. It's nothing like what we've ever done in Milwaukee. Lots of different people contributed, like Butch Allen, Bello and Jim Yukich. There will be audience participation. It's quite exciting.
Is this show for everyone, or more for your die-hard fans?
RN: Everyone. Musically, it's quite fun. But, it would also appeal to people who like theatrical performances. It's a show like you've never seen us in before.
What do you like to do when you're in town?
RN: Besides being at Potawatomi? Karl Ratzch's is good. And Mader's. There's a couple of good guitar stores I like to go to, like Cream City Music. Going to Discovery World to the Les Paul exhibit and seeing one of my guitars on display was pretty amazing. I also like to stop at Bendtsen's Bakery in Racine for kringle.
You guys have been performing for more than 30 years. What does that feel like?
RN: It's magical. We're a musician's band. We've made mistakes and have never been hailed as the newest and greatest, but we stand out. I was just in London because we won the "Classic Album Award" at the Classic Rock Awards Show. It's quite an honor to have people like Jimmy Paige and Ron Wood say they're excited to meet you.
Which award has meant the most to you?
RN: Our first Gold Record in 1978 in Japan. I didn't even care if we ever got paid—just to hear ourselves on the radio was enough.
Have you had any memorable moments when performing at Potawatomi?
RN: I always remember the bad weather! People ask me how you can deal with the weather. I grew up in Rockford. Summer is hot. Winter is cold. Get over it.
What music are you listening to these days?
RN: My parents owned a music store, so I grew up listening to everything. I like music from every genre. I like some country, some rock, some blues.
You're an avid guitar collector. How many are in your collection?
RN: I enjoy collecting—the art of the deal. I have about 400 in my collection, but have had over 2,000 at one time.
Is there one in particular that means the most to you?
RN: Every guitar has a story. I have a very rare 1963 Guild Merle Travis guitar. Only three were ever made. I looked for over 35 years and finally found one. It cost $2,000 in 1963—you could buy a Ford Mustang back then for that price! It's the Holy Grail of guitars. I also had a left-handed Les Paul that I traded to Paul McCartney because I couldn't play it. When I played on Double Fantasy with John Lennon, I gave him the guitar I played. Three years after John died, Yoko gave it back to me.
Did you make any New Year's resolutions?
RN: Don't listen to Christmas music for another 11 months! Peace on Earth and come to Potawatomi.
What comes next after performing here?
RN: Hopefully, we'll continue to play. Travel all over.
Photos from the Opening Night Performance
Win a Signed Guitar!
When you check-in at the Theater with your concert ticket, you'll be given a raffle ticket for the chance to win a signed guitar. One guitar will be given away after each performance.
Must be a Fire Keeper's Club® member and present to win. Not a Club member? Learn how to join. Potawatomi Bingo Casino is not responsible for lost raffle tickets.