Almost 29 years ago (1/2/80), Cheap Trick played to a sold-out crowd at the Sports Arena. Exactly one year earlier (1/2/79), the band’s Civic Theatre concert attracted around 1000 patrons (this was before the release of their breakthrough live At Budokan album).
The set list included their recent hit single “Dream Police” and requisites such as “Surrender,” “Big Eyes,” and “I Want You to Want Me.” According to concert reviewer Thomas K. Arnold, singer Robin Zander was “clutching the microphone and acting as though he was lusting after the young girls in the audience as much as they were lusting after him.”
Rick Nielsen acted “zany” and “ridiculous,” according to Arnold, who said the guitarist “pranced around like an idiot, making grotesquely silly faces at the crowd and acting like an outpatient from a mental hospital whose release was a horrible mistake.”
Soon after the concert, a controversy over the tickets arose after it was determined that promoter Marc Berman sold choice seats to Trip Tickets, a resale agency — scalpers. The city attorney’s office investigated Berman, who admitted to the San Diego Union that he had sold between 200 and 300 seats to Trip Tickets.
“I don’t know what would be illegal about it,” Berman told the reporter.
Berman was absolved of any wrongdoing, though laws regarding ticket resale were later altered to preclude such arrangements between primary and secondary ticket sellers. A few years later, Berman — who’d been a San Diego concert promoter since the mid-’70s — took a job in L.A. as operations director for a resort entertainment company.