Monday, November 30, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: BLUE RODEO - LIVE AT MASSEY HALL
Canada's favourite band, at Canada's favourite venue, or close enough on both counts. Blue Rodeo now has a ridiculous number of beloved songs to try to fit into one night, let alone the small problem of their most recent album, In Our Nature, being a hit, and having to be represented amidst all those classics.
The 14 cuts here are split well between the hits, new stuff and a couple of deep catalogue surprises. It starts off with a track from the band's beloved Five Days In July album, Head Over Heels, before going back to one of the very early days for Rose Coloured Glasses. Bad Timing has always been a live highlight, but perhaps a little over-represented, having appeared on both the Just Like A Vacation and Blue Road live albums. They pull out a cool one next, with Disappear, from the Tremolo album.
Then there are four cuts from In Our Nature, showing just how strong that set was, surely a pleasure for the veteran band, to be able to have such a positive reception for new work. There's one more from the album, Paradise, later on, as well as another deep cut, Girl of Mine from 1989. The rest of the songs are must-hear numbers at every show, Diamond Mine, After The Rain, 5 Days In May and Lost Together.
I waited on this review to get the vinyl, with the assumption Massey would give the recording some added warmth, and that's certainly the case. It's a double album with heavyweight vinyl, and lots of clarity to the vocals and instruments. This is also one of the most versatile of the Blue Rodeo lineups, now sitting at seven pieces. Colin Cripps' addition on lead guitar has allowed for Jim Cuddy to move to piano or mandolin when he wants, and the old favourites have a more epic feel, especially Lost Together and Diamond Mine. This turned out to be a welcome document of the band at an important career high.