Friday, February 5, 2010

Cheap Trick - "Green Police" & "I Want You To Want Me"

Caught Cheap Trick live at The Sound Academy here in Toronto last night. It felt like a somewhat short show for a band of its stature and sizable catalogue, but solid nonetheless.

The band was playing it pretty loose, especially guitarist Rick Nielsen. Played a bunch of guitars from his huge collection, as usual, and was playfully throwing guitar picks at anyone and everyone, including his road crew. Constantly clowning throughout the 80-minute set, Rick’s between-song banter was chock full of Canadian references, from Max Webster/Kim Mitchell to playing the El Mocambo in 1977 to shooting videos in Toronto, and included shout-outs to Rush (“We knew them way before they were Rush”), Sass Jordan and The Trews.

Rick even mentioned that they tried to hook up with Joe Perry to have him sit in with them after his opening slot for Motley Crue wrapped up at the ACC, but the timing fell through, as both acts were on stage at the same time. Trick hit the stage at 8:40pm while The Joe Perry Project went on across town at 8:45p. I wonder what they would have jammed together on….hmmm.

The set was a mix of classics like "I Want You To Want Me," "Surrender" and "Dream Police" to hits like "The Flame" and their Elvis cover, "Don’t Be Cruel", alongside newer tracks like the rockin’ "Sick Man Of Europe" off their current disc, "The Latest."

Robin Zander was in fine voice, as usual; he’s one of those handful of singers, like Paul Rodgers, whose voices have been consistently great, while seemingly increasing in strength, throughout their career. I mean, really, the guy has a killer set of pipes and never disappoints. Bun E. Carlos is a rock on drums, driving the band forward while bassist Tom Petersson lays down some serious bottom end.

Cheap Trick is in the news these days because the band has recorded a version of “Dream Police” for what is turning out to be a somewhat controversial Audi campaign premiering during this Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast. “Green Police” will be the soundtrack tying in the green car A3 TDI with the theme of energy conservation.

The Audi commercial’s theme came under scrutiny this past week when bloggers made a connection between the campaign’s theme and the Ordnungspolizei, the regular uniformed German police force when the Nazi's ruled Germany. Because of the Ordnungspolizei's green uniforms, they were sometimes referred to as the green police. Audi issued a statement this week dismissing the link.

Decide for yourself - you can preview the full Audi commercial at A limited number of free downloads of the track are also available at the same location.

In the meantime , here’s audio of the full reworked song, as well as some classic Cheap Trick:

"Green Police"

"I Want You To Want Me" - from the “Live At Budokan 30th Anniversary Edition” DVD