It was the start of Blue Rodeo’s new Canada-wide tour in support of their latest long player titled In Our Nature, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor had just been appointed Officers to the Order of Canada the day before, and Greg stated from the start of the show their dislike for when bands only play their new material. And so, as a compromise, attending fans were treated to what amounted to TWO shows: one for the new material and then a second for the hits.

With that said, you’d be hard pressed to call the new material the lesser in any way compared Blue Rodeo’s already tremendous catalog of hits. In fact, much of the material shared a familiarity to their earlier work: the electric and acoustic guitars, piano, lap steel, deft drums and precisely placed bass fills, and of course…the voices of both Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor to take turns at the lead.

Matawa – a new song by Blue Rodeo from the album, In Our Nature

In as much as Blue Rodeo have penned fantastic Rock songs, their roots are firmly placed in traditional country via Nashville…or perhaps more accurately, Bakersfield, and the references are dotted throughout both their past and new music. However, unlike many country artists of the past, Blue Rodeo have avoided the slide into what I like to call “New Country” mode because the band has continued to write refreshing songs of both substance and meaning while still allowing for pretty piano trillos and flourishes of lap steel throughout the new album- all of which seems to be given greater focus in their live performance.

Here was the set list for Blue Rodeo’s first night at the Orpheum:

New Morning Sun
Mattawa
Wondering
Made Your Mind Up
Tell Me Again
Paradise
The Last Time
Tara’s Blues
Over Me
Never Too Late
In the Darkness
Truth Comes Out

Intermission

Diamond Mine
‘Til I am Myself Again
Rose Coloured Glasses
After the Rain
Head Over Heels
Disappear
Dark Angel
Girl of Mine
Trust Yourself
5 AM
It Makes Me Wonder
5 Days in May
You’re Everywhere
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet

Encore

Try
Lost Together

5 Days in May – a song from Blue Rodeo’s 1993 album, 5 Days in July

A friend of mine in attendance, a regular concert-goer extraordinaire went so far as to say this show was a thousand times better than their summer performance at The Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival and while I detected a slight exaggeration in her words, in this instance, the band took full advantage of the acoustics of the lovely Orpheum theatre serving up perhaps the finest sounding “non-classical” show I’ve witnessed at this venue.

Opening on this evening for Blue Rodeo was The Devin Cuddy Band, a sublime team of musicians who I caught up with afterward at The Railway club. Stay tuned for photos and a quick recap in the coming days.

In the meantime, if you wish to learn more about Blue Rodeo, you may wish to check then at the Official Blue Rodeo page.

You can purchase tickets to future shows via Ticket Master: Tickemaster’s Blue Rodeo Page.

Photographs and words © Gerry Toews / anditrocks.com All Rights Reserved

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