Blue Rodeo – Casino NB – 01/21/13

Posted: 22nd January 2013 by refrainmusic in Concerts

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since we got our first taste of Blue Rodeo, currently on tour across Canada to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of their debut record “Outskirts”, this night featured a mix of hits, some new songs from their forthcoming record (due October 2013) and some choice favorites of the band.

The members of the group, consisting of vocalists-guitarists Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, drummer Glenn Milchem, keyboard player Michael Boguski, pedal steel player Bob Egan and bass player Bazil Donovan, stepped on to the stage just after eight in typical fashion, with little fan fare, the lights dimmed and the band was there playing the first song of the night, Cynthia, off Five Days In July. They followed this up with a fantastic version of Diamond Mine that was played vigorously and showed the obvious musical talent of one of Canada’s best bands.

Blue Rodeo - Casino NB - 01/21/13

Blue Rodeo – Casino NB – 01/21/13

The crowd tonight was packed in as tight as Casino NB’s, “The Center” would allow, even adding some extra ‘general admission’ tickets at the end to allow more fans to enjoy a great show (a little too tight from where I was sitting). The young ladies in front of me that were more interested in photographing themselves (complete with flash) on their phones and talking the whole first set drove me out of my seat to stand at the back of the room. Who pays to go to a concert to talk the whole way through it?

Blue Rodeo - Casino NB - 01/21/13

Blue Rodeo – Casino NB – 01/21/13

One thing that was notable to me right from the beginning was how well the band’s vocals have held up over the years, particularly Jim Cuddy, whose voice sounded fantastic and stood out amazingly well on songs like “After The Rain” and “One Light Left In Heaven” which were highlights for me.

After being on stage for an hour, the group took a roughly 20-minute intermission. Returning to the stage for a short acoustic set that showed some of the skill of the band members, a standout for me was drummer Glenn Milchem playing nothing but a box drum and what looked like a garbage can lid, but was still relevant in the overall sound. With fantastic keyboard solos from Boguski, stellar steel guitar from Egan, and smooth bass from Basil Donovan, the band was as tight as a band can get.

Blue Rodeo - Casino NB - 01/21/13

Blue Rodeo – Casino NB – 01/21/13

The band was not much for talking, partly due to having so many songs to draw on and fit into their nightly repetoire, but when they shared anecdotes with the crowd it was well received, including dedicating “Fool’s Like You” to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Greg Keelor invited the crowd down to the front of the stage to enjoy the last few song, much to the glee of fans that rushed forward to get a spot near the front of the stage (one promptly escorted away as she jumped on the stage). The band closed the show with “Til I Am Myself Again”, “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” (sung in part beautifully by the crowd) and “You’re Everywhere” that featured what Keelor called the “Moncton mixed choir”. One thing the band did mention was they were glad the Casino became available when they were planning the tour to celebrate their 25 years, as they remembered fondly doing five nights in a row at Moncton’s Capitol on a previous tour adding show after sold out show to the week.

Blue Rodeo - Casino NB - 01/21/13

Blue Rodeo – Casino NB – 01/21/13

The first of two encores saw the group perform their first single Try to rapturous applause, it was a bit ‘hurried’ for my liking as I found the band and Cuddy had brought up the tempo a bit, they finished up with “Head Over Heels” and my favorite Keelor sung song “Lost Together”.  The second encore closed out the evening with only Cuddy and Keelor, the two original members that met back in High School in the early eighties, on stage performing “Is It You”.

As the nearly a three hour show wound to a close, Blue Rodeo said good night and the crowd walked into the chilly night with a fond concert memory, sure for many, not to be their last Blue Rodeo concert. Thanks to Blue Rodeo for yet another fantastic show, Casino NB, and PPRL for a great night! Until next time!