Shared passion makes the loving sweeter and it applies to music as well as the horizontal tango ;)
The venue was a local hockey arena in a tiny town. Larger arenas and entertainment centres could be sold out and have been, but this is a charity event hosted by a community group that has been going on almost as long as the prolific career of the headlining band. This was the 16th year for Blue Rodeo and the first for the Devin Cuddy Band.
I don't know how long Who'sArmy has been opening with Blue Rodeo at this venue but this is my second time seeing them and I liked them even more than last time. A young band, Who'sArmy was formed during the school years but really didn't gain a following (an army) behind them until a very successful run in 2011 on Cover Me Canada. They won that competition and have been showcasing their musical talent ever since. I had the good fortune of meeting the proud Mom of one of the members of the band when I went to pick up my tickets at her home. She is right to boast - he's a talented young man. Every song the band played last night was awesome. For you television fans, a quick youtube search showed me that this band had penned a song with Chantal Kreviazuk entitled Alive that was shown in the finale of the Being Erica show. Not to shabby to have those credits under your belt. If you appreciate real young talent not media manufactured, check them out.
A brief intermission while Who'sArmy carried away their instruments and gear and at the same time we saw the first glimpse of the Devin Cuddy band in action. Although by "in action" I mean that they were playing the part of roadies. Yes, indeed it was Devin Cuddy himself who moved his piano to the front of the stage and made the connections to it, the foot pedal and the mic. The glamorous life of a rock star :) As his father said in a song "All In Time". The music...Well, let me tell you, the apple sure didn't fall far from the tree. A very distinctive voice and a different style of writing and singing, but the talent is clearly evident. There is a tone of blues in a several songs we heard, and humour. I like that a lot. Devin played the entire set seated at the keys and it was the only time I cursed being so close to the stage. Every picture I tried to take had a mic stand shielding his eyes. His wild mop of curly hair hid his eyes the rest of the time...until as the set wore on, the sweat acted as a gel to control it when he swept it up and away. You could hear the passion in the voice if not see it in the eyes, it was all good. The members of the band - talent without famous fathers. He called himself the "other Devon" when at the merchandise table a fan of Jim Cuddy professed her love for his dad - on stage he plucked the base and with a look that seemed to fit the style of the music if not his tender age, this Devon was perfect harmonization for Kid Cuddy. I cannot mention the talent of this young band without a word about Animal. It's not an insult. Animal was the rocking drummer from the Muppets. The Muppets were the puppets from the educational program Sesame Street who left the pre-school sect and went mainstream. When you watched Cuddy's drummer perform you saw the same faraway gaze and intensity. Someone get that boy a sandwich he is eating his drumsticks. I am glad we had a chance to chat after the show and I love the CD I purchased. Still need one signature - did you even find Master Cuddy? Good PR guys enjoy the ride up.
When you are Blue Rodeo, you let the roadies do the last minute check to make sure the sound quality is going to be what you want. When you have been performing for adoring fans for 25 years you know that with each passing moment before you walk on stage the anticipation is building. Blue Rodeo can easily and promptly sell out Massey Hall but they also really seem to like the smaller, intimate audiences up close and personal with their fans. I have been a fan throughout their entire career but until recently, I never saw them in concert at all. I wasn't always living in the southern Ontario area, and there was a time in my life when going to any concert just wasn't an option. The first time I saw the boys was in Jarvis Ontario. Barely a crossroads tucked away in the farm fields far behind Hamilton it was a CornFest. The stage was small and the seating was bales of hay. But I stood at the feet of Greg Keelor, transfixed. I don't know if it was my excitement at being there that resonated but I was fortunate to meet some amazing fans during the set that allowed me to get even closer so I could take pictures. Still friends with her today. That is the beauty of being a part of this Rodeo, we all paid the price of admission and we all love the music, we get the other persons passion. Since that humble foray into the live Blue Rodeo experience, I have sought out similar venues. Some bigger, some smaller - all amazing. I must give a quick shout out to my kids who tolerated my Blue Rodeo and Pink Panther obsessions and even fed them. My daughter and her b/f sent me to concerts. My son during his four years of university on the east coast would have the bar band play Try and then in a "college stupor" call me and without a word as he held his cell phone high above the crowds, all I would hear would be the drunken shrieks, but I knew that he was thinking of me. Being in the audience for a CanadaAM appearance was a highlight because circumstances allowed for a personal meeting with both Jim and Greg and a photo-op!
Unfortunately the video's I took at the concert will not upload on this blog. If I every figure out a solution or alternate method, I will post it.