Chris Morin did a preview of this gig in our Jan. 14 issue where Blue Rodeo kind of come across as being a little full of themselves. I doubt, for instance, that they'll enjoy the same name-recognition at their upcoming Olympics gig as when they played Pariliament Hill on Canada Day 2008. For that to be true, Blue Rodeo would have to be world famous, and they're not.
That's not to say that the band doesn't rank as one of the best ever to emerge from Canada. I laboured to phrase that sentence, by the way. I originally thought about saying "best bands Canada has ever produced". But that would imply that Canada, as a country, takes credit for their existence.
To the extent that we provide reasonable levels of publicly-funded education and health-care for all our citizens, along with a smidgen of money to help nurture the arts, that's true. But for a band like Blue Rodeo to have endured as long as it has, and to have enjoyed the success that it has, is a testament primarily to their talent, dedication and drive as the lot of cultural producers in this country is difficult to say the least.
Blue Rodeo is at Conexus Arts Centre tonight. Cuff the Duke's backing them up. Here's video of them doing "The Ballad of Poor John Henry". (YouTube) And here's Blue Rodeo performing "Rain Down on Me" off their 1992 album Lost Together. (YouTube)
Also tonight, and on Jan. 23 too, Rick Harris is playing jazz at the Mediterranean Bistro from 6-9 p.m.