Tuesday, February 14, 2017Author:
It's that time of the year again. You're sitting at home, watching lovers holding hands, imagining the candlelit dinners, rose petals leading up the stairs, champagne bottles waiting by the bathtub ... You roll your eyes, thinking, here we go, another Valentine's Day lost to the winter blues. But then suddenly the clouds part, the sun peeks its rays out, teasing your cheeks. Out pops that cheeky little cherub with his arrow, gets down on one knee, and hits you with the proposition you've been hoping for. He pops the big question: will you go see Blue Rodeo with me?
Okay, not quite. Things like that only happen in the movies. In reality, Budweiser Gardens is the one giving you the privilege to represent them as their #BGReviewer for the show.
You can't make up a more perfect match than a Blue Rodeo concert on Valentine's Day. It's magic. And Budweiser Gardens is a place where magic comes to life. I experienced that many times before. However, this was my very first date with Blue Rodeo. After sitting through a mesmerizing two hours plus, I will admit, I'd like to see them again.
As the night slowly approached, I knew I was about to face my biggest dilemma. Will my real Romeo approve of the Rodeos? Luckily, Budweiser Gardens came to the rescue. They hooked me up with something to surely sweep my sweetheart off his feet. Downtown Dollars! And what better way to use those than revisiting your favourite place in all of London for your favourite dish served by your favourite waitress while your favourite 70s music plays in the background. Yup, Chaucer's is another one of those magical places in town. And after their famous goulash soup and the mouth-watering three mushroom penne, trust me, you can take your date anywhere you want.
Blue Rodeo picked London to be their date on this festive eve of romance in support of their latest album 1000 Arms, and let's admit it, it was a match made in heaven. Crowds of mostly 40+ peppered with a few fresh young faces gathered at the gates. Singles and couples alike, all devoted Rodeo fans, made reservations to see their favourites. As the doors opened, we began to flock in, ready to be serenaded and wooed.
Before the Canadian stars hit the stage, we were treated to an appetizer in the form of The Sadies. The Toronto based group's signature blend of country, western, and psychedelic rock livened up the crowd within minutes. Their instrumental genius and clever lyrics were as good as the main act. The Sadies created an uplifting atmosphere and wowed the audience with their stellar showmanship skills, proving that they are definitely a band worth putting on the proverbial radar.
The main dish was ready to be served. Now, this being my first date with the Canadian hall-of-famers, I was beginning to feel hesitant. Will I remember the words that I rehearsed all week? Will I go down as the chick with the cheesiest dance moves in the history of human locomotion? But there was no awkward small talk, as Blue Rodeo jumped right in by declaring their true feelings with a Heart Like Mine.
Long-time fans were instantly reminded of those familiar harmonies that just never seem to get old, while newer members of the Rodeo club got a taste of what to expect throughout the rest of the night. The Rodeos did not disappoint. They were in fine form all night, looking refreshed and focused, as if they want to keep making music for several more decades to come.
Blue Rodeo brought all the hits with them. They led their set with several classics, such as the exquisitely delivered Rose Coloured Glasses, and the broody Diamond Mine, while dipping into uncharted territories with a few newer songs as well. Throughout the night they explored the many stages and faces of love with soul-stirring tunes that felt like a warm blanket on a cold winter day. Familiar, soothing, and enchanting.
The trip down memory lane was sprinkled with favourites after favourites, including Bad Timing and 'Til I Am Myself Again. Blue Rodeo's bluegrass rendition of Over Me with its warm harmonies was a highlight of the evening. Crowds were head over heels as thousands of arms came together to sway to the rhythmic melodies that drifted out of the RBC Theatre, making it feel like a blistering 5 Days In May instead of the middle of winter. Even more heart-warming was the moment frontmen Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor came to the front of the stage with their guitars and began playing the intro to Hasn't Hit Me Yet. The audience knew just what to do. Thousands of voices echoed through the night, as they sang every verse, word for word, louder and louder.
It was time for dessert. The show ended with a euphoric encore, including the timeless Try. Blue Rodeo was then joined on stage by The Sadies to launch into a fantastic rendition of Lost Together. It was the perfect end to this magical night.
Once again, Blue Rodeo proved why they are the king of Canadian country-rock.
No matter how many times you see them, it always feels like the first time. Like that sweet first date.
Blue Rodeo is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get, but you know you're going to love it.