Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
Whether it is a dusty, country tune, a searing rock & roll anthem or a sombre, bluesy ballad, Canada’s Blue Rodeo can do it all. For over twenty years, the band has consistently entertained fans through its home-grown storytelling and cross-generational (and cross-genre) appeal. Performing two sold-out shows at the gorgeous Orpheum Theatre, the band soldiered through a 25-song set that curiously only touched on five of its eleven albums but with the added bonus of surprise special guests Barney and Dustin Bentall coupled with a split acoustic and electric set kept things interesting through most of the two-hour-and-fifteen-minute show.
For some reason that I’m still trying to make a connection with, a roadie came out to cozy up next to a vintage record player and cued up “The Lonely Bull” as the band took to the stage. The Orpheum offers incredible acoustics (The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra calls the historic venue home) that is the perfect match for a band like Blue Rodeo. Jim Cuddy’s crystal-clear vocals on the glorious “Rebel,” “Try” and the haunting “Five Days In May” were so pure they almost made the hair on the back of your neck stand up. “Cryin’” was a fun country-western stomp and the cover of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” was a surprise. Keelor drew whoops and applause upon relaying that “English Bay” was written in Vancouver at The Sylvia Hotel, which overlooks the body of water. Cuddy and Greg Keelor stripped things down for an a cappella duet on “Bad Timing” which led to the curtain dropping and the rest of the band poised for the “electric” portion of the show. It is here that most of the fan favourites were found and a much-needed kick in the pants was given to the sagging crowd energy. CASINO’s “`Til I Am Myself Again” and “What Am I Doing Here” along with OUTSKIRTS’ “Rose-Coloured Glasses” went back to the band’s early days while the material from Blue Rodeo’s new CD, SMALL MIRACLES, especially “Black Ribbon,” mixed well. “Trust Yourself” saw the band indulge in a lengthy jam session while the raw, emotional “Dark Angel” benefited from its subdued poignancy. Bentall’s standard “Come Back To Me” was a real treat and when the band launched into a few bars of The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” a playfulness between all the musicians emerged. Crowd participation was impressive during “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” after Keelor welcomed everyone to get out of their seats and move closer to the stage to dance. The multi-instrumental Cuddy continuously dazzled while juggling vocals, harmonica, guitar and even piano during “After The Rain” with opener Luke Doucet (and wife Melissa McClelland) helping out on backing vocals.
Five Days In May
3 Hours Away
To Love Somebody
`Til I Am Myself Again
Rain Down On Me
Black Ribbon (with Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland)
Come Back To Me (Barney & Dustin Bentall)
What Am I Doing Here
It Makes Me Wonder
Head Over Heels
Heart Like Mine
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet
After The Rain (with Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland)
Lost Together (with Barney, Luke & Melissa)
Along with Tragically Hip, The Guess Who and Neil Young, Blue Rodeo is one of the quintessential Canadian bands. Their use of narrative, storytelling and heartfelt passion in their music has carried them through both domestic and international success for over twenty years. The band members still dabble in solo projects but that also keeps Blue Rodeo fresh and alive. Even though Blue Rodeo played Vancouver on multiple nights just a few months earlier, they still managed to pack 3,000 people each night for the Orpheum gigs. And undoubtedly, many of those fans will be here with ticket in hand the next time the band graces Vancouver, as well.
***Thanks to Jessica at Live Nation for the press pass.
Blue Rodeo—Official Site