CNE Bandshell, Toronto | August 25th, 2012
Photography by: Ted Van Boort
When Rick Mercer decreed that “Raise A Little Hell” should be adopted as Canada’s national anthem, he wasn’t far off the mark. A song guaranteed to ignite a feel-good spirit with any Canadian audience, Trooper’s ode to the ultimate party ignited a 10,000 capacity crowd on a warm Saturday night at the Ex, proving again that the veteran Vancouver outfit still possess a capacity to entertain the masses. And with a hit-laden song list going back over 35 years, Trooper have the material to deliver a killer set.
Kicking off the performance with the appropriately titled “Here For A Good Time” Trooper then solicited the first audience sing-along with “Three Dressed Up As A Nine” with guitarist Brian Smith stretching out the arrangement with some blistering fretwork. “Two For The Show” presented lead vocalist Ra McGuire with the opportunity to spotlight his vocal prowess and the feel-good crowd even allowed the band to perform lesser known tracks like “Boy With A Beat”, “$100,000” plus a solid new track “Cold Water”. But the band’s ultimate weapon is their hits which they rolled out in rapid succession with “Round Round” (bassist Scott Brown handling Frank Ludwig’s vocal slot), “General Hand Grenade” “Santa Maria”and the melodic duo of “Janine” and “Pretty Lady” before concluding with “Boys In The Bright White Sports Car” and the guaranteed show-stopping finale of “Raise A Little Hell” followed by a well-deserved two song encore led off by Crowbar’s “Oh What A Feeling” and concluding with a reprise of “Here For A Good Time”.
McGuire and Smith are wily veterans who know how to deliver a concert. Aside from being outstanding performers, they know how to communicate with their audience on stage and how to inject a feel-good atmosphere on stage. Only drawback is that Smith and McGuire are so dominant, members Brown, keyboardist Gogo and drummer Clayton Hill are relegated to background support roles.
Still the presence of many youngsters mixed in with more veteran fans was a healthy sign that Trooper can still pull a crowd. Now all we have to do is get the industry to induct the band into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame. Their absence from winning this honour is scandalous!