Live Review: Blue Rodeo @ Casino New Brunswick, Thursday February 6, 2014

 

Photo: Clayton Morrissey for www.show-stoppers.ca © 2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo: Clayton Morrissey for www.show-stoppers.ca © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Oh Moncton. You’re one of a kind. To get this admittedly “I’m getting old / turning into a curmudgeon” thought off my shoulders right off the bat, you would have thought Blue Rodeo’s show at Casino New Brunswick marked the end of the prohibition of alcohol for some. This was a Thursday night and a lot of people were just wasted. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. (I chose the former for the most part, for those wondering…)

Of course, the majority of people at the show at Casino New Brunswick on Thursday night were there for the music and as such, were generously rewarded with some of the best music to ever come from within Canada’s borders.

A little over a year since they last graced Casino New Brunswick’s stage as a part of their 25th Anniversary Tour, Blue Rodeo returned to Moncton with their excellent new record In Our Nature in tow.

The group dedicated the first portion of the show entirely to their new record. The group launched into In Our Nature’s opening track New Morning Sun as a gorgeous sunrise adorned the several screens behind the group on stage. Vocalist-guitarist Jim Cuddy was in remarkable form both vocally and musically (seriously, I’ve never seen the guy have a bad night). His vocals are as rich as ever as evidenced on Made Your Mind Up. Like a fine wine, the man just gets better with age.

Greg Keelor was especially chatty which was great to see, telling the nearly capacity crowd of the story behind his writing of the song Mattawa as well as the Moncton connection behind the tracks Wondering and Tara’s Blues. All in all, the almost one hour that the group dedicated to the first portion of their show resulted in some absolutely stellar performances which, paired with a cover of The Rolling Stones The Last Time set the tone for what would follow in the second half of the show.

After a brief intermission, Blue Rodeo returned to the stage, touching on virtually all points of their career starting with a scorching version of their 1989 song Diamond Mine. The energy in the air was palpable as drummer Glenn Milchem and keyboardist Mike Boguski happily navigated their way through the song’s improvisational mid-section.

From there, the hits kept coming:

Following a particularly rousing version of Til I Am Myself Again, Keelor took to his microphone to reassure security that the group was fine with people dancing if they chose to do so. With that, a large contingent of the audience migrated to the floor in front of the stage to take in a contemporized makeover of Tremolo’s Disappear, Five Days In July’s Head Over Heels and the song that made me a Blue Rodeo fan – After The Rain.

The group played practically note-perfect versions of Rose Coloured Glasses, Bad Timing and Five Days In May before a stellar version of Casino’s You’re Everywhere. And after 80 minutes, the group closed their second set with Hasn’t Hit Me Yet before re-emerging for an encore of Try, Lost Together and What Am I Doing Here, performed only by Jim and Greg.

It would be incredibly hard to imagine anyone walking away from last night’s show disappointed. If anything, Blue Rodeo showed why they are one of the country’s best bands.

Opening the proceedings last night was The Devin Cuddy Band. Their rollicking blues-soaked set easily won the crowd over in the all-too short 30 minutes they were on stage. Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Devin exuded much of the same charm that his father has for the last quarter century. Backed by a stellar band, expect big things from the Devin Cuddy Band in the future.