The quintessential Canadian music group with the colourful name, Blue Rodeo, brought its 25th anniversary tour through our province, and my wife and I were privileged enough to be in the sold-out audience for the concert on Jan. 14, at Regina’s Conexus Performing Arts Centre.
The tickets for this concert came courtesy of my wife as a Christmas present, along with having supper out prior to the show. In spite of a scary blizzard a couple of days before, it ended being an excellent evening all the way around.
(Also as part of this present, the tickets were put inside a book, one I’ve been wanting to read for a while: “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. I am hoping I get to read it before seeing the movie, but we shall see. As a movie with something like 11 Oscar nominations, I definitely do want to see it, along with “Lincoln”, and “Argo”, and of course, “The Hobbit”.)
But I digress.
The show started right at 8 sharp, and there was no warmup band, just Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor and their band. The distinctive voice of Cuddy was in absolutely great shape, and the harmonies of his voice with Keelor’s were unmistakably Blue Rodeo’s sound.
One of the things I appreciate about this group is their musicianship and versatility, which was particularly showcased by the keyboard player, named Michael Boguski.
To open the concert, he did some handy boogie-woogie-style piano — but where he really was impressive, to me, was when the band did the song “Diamond Mine”. There were elements of jazz and rock seamlessly woven together (the third guitarist dude was pretty good on this song too, Colin Cripps), and Boguski was just … pure genius.
I honestly don’t think that term over-states it; the guy just blew me away with his versatility and talent.
A funny moment, I thought, was in between songs, and it was quiet enough different fans around the auditorium would chirp up with song names, prompting Cuddy to ask, “What is this, song request time?”
A few voices called for the Blue Rodeo classic “Try”, and Cuddy quipped, “We have been trying …”
Oh, they did better than just trying, they excelled. And, as I hoped they would do, “Try” was performed as one of the encore songs — and they came out for two encores, at the end of a two-and-a-half hour concert.
Did we get our money’s worth? I should say so, yes. And in spite of one person heading to the concert (my wife) calling it a “country show” — it wasn’t. Blue Rodeo is far, far too versatile to wear just one label.