Saturday, August 25, 2007

it's kinda like those sunsets that leave you feeling so stoned

Elizabeth and I went to see one of our favourite bands this past Wednesday night. Blue Rodeo performed their annual end of summer show at the Molson Amphitheatre. I managed to score fantastic seats, 8th row centre, which is great for the Amphitheatre since it is outdoors and the sound is generally pretty bad there. The closer you are to the stage, the better off you are.

So, Elizabeth drove in to Toronto and picked me up from work. We headed to the show and grabbed a couple of overpriced beers and some dinner and found our seats. Immediately we knew there would be trouble. The rows are pretty narrow and as we squeezed by the couple sitting to our right the man said, "well hopefully this will be the last time." Obviously, he didn't want to have to get up again. The couple to our left didn't seem to be too thrilled about our arrival either. They didn't exactly seem like "party people". I'm sure they were very nice, I'm just saying. After we finished our dinner, we decided to skip the opening act and grab another drink mostly due to the unfriendly surroundings. Once we returned to our seats, we were ready to party. When Blue Rodeo took the stage, we immediately got to our feet. But as they started their first song, we sat down again because nobody else in our area was standing. 8 rows from the stage and we were surrounded by sitters! I bopped around in my seat, fighting the urge to get up and dance. Finally after a few more songs, there were enough people standing in the rows in front of us to obscure our view. Elizabeth and I got to our feet and there we stayed for the remainder of the concert. When we got tired of the people a few rows back telling us to sit down, I turned around and told them that I paid to see the band not the back of the people in front of me. One of them actually said, "if you sit down, so will they." WTF? Now usually, I try to be considerate of others, especially in a concert setting, but this was ridiculous. All I can say is that if you don't want to stand at a concert, don't buy tickets in the front!

Other than that minor annoyance, the concert was fantastic! The band was on fire as usual and they did a good mix of old and new tunes. They did 4 songs from their forthcoming "record", as Greg Keelor called it, including the awesome single "C'Mon". I was thrilled to hear them do the first track off their very first recording, "Heart Like Mine". And I thought Elizabeth might faint when they launched into "Diamond Mine". I've never heard them to this tune live so it was quite a thrill, especially when Bob Packwood rocked a phenomenal organ solo. "Side of the Road" was another highlight. I've always loved that song. And I was thrilled when they came out for the encore and Jim Cuddy went right to the piano. That could only mean one thing, "After The Rain." This has always been my Jim favourite. And he thoughtfully dedicated it to Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, who is still in hospital after being critically injured in a motor vehicle accident at the beginning of August.

So it was a fantastic show with the band performing their hearts out. I'm always blown away when a band sounds as good or better live then it does on their recordings. And Blue Rodeo blows me away, time and time again.

And of course, I brought my camera and managed to get some decent pictures. You can check them out on my Flickr stream, but here are a couple of teasers.

Greg Keelor guiding the audience through the first part of "Hasn't Hit Me Yet"

Jim Cuddy & Greg Keelor performing the opening of "Heart Like Mine"

Jim Cuddy, in the moment