Cheap Trick and… Roy Wood? Watch

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Cheap Trick with Roy Wood, Birmingham Arena, Dec. 17, 2018

On Dec. 17, Cheap Trick played in Birmingham, U.K. And among the first six songs of their setlist were such CT staples as opening number “Hello There,” “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Dream Police.”

Next up was “California Man” from The Move. Wait… what? Well, it’s not every night that fans going to a Cheap Trick concert would expect to see The Move (and Electric Light Orchestra) co-founder Roy Wood join them on stage. But that’s exactly what happened that evening at the Birmingham Arena.

This was no coincidence: Wood is a Birmingham native. Cheap Trick were in the midst of a tour of Ireland and the U.K., where they’re opening for Def Leppard. The Rock Hall Class of 2016 have been regularly including “California Man” as part of their 10-song set. They had originally recorded the cover on their 1978 album, Heaven Tonight.

So with Wood available, the stars were aligned to showcase the tune’s songwriter to his hometown fans.

“We’ve been fans of Birmingham and especially one young songwriter,” said Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, who turned 70 on Dec. 22, “and we’re gonna bring him out here… Roy Wood!”

After hugs and applause, the beefed-up band launched into “California Man.” The rollicking song was The Move’s final single where it reached #7 in the U.K. in 1972. (It’s B-side, “Do Ya,” proved more popular in the U.S., though it peaked there at only #93.)

After performing a spirited version of the song, Wood, himself a Rock Hall inductee in 2017 (with ELO), said to the crowd, “We don’t care what time of year it is” and then led the band in “I Wish it Could Be Christmas Every Day,” a 1973 U.K. hit he wrote for another of his bands, Wizzard.

Watch Wood entertain the hometown crowd with his “backup band”

Wood, incidentally, had much of his equipment stolen a week earlier when a warehouse was broken into. Thankfully, the make, model and license plate number of the thieves’ vehicle was known. Two days later, the truck was found with all of the equipment intact. Wood wrote on his Facebook page: “The power of social media can be a wonderful thing!”

Cheap Trick have plenty of 2019 dates scheduled. Tickets are available here and here.

Related: Cheap Trick’s rise – The inside story

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