Blue collar met the rodeo on Feb. 11 as five time Juno winners Blue Rodeo brought down the house in Oshawa.
The platinum-selling Canadian group, who were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2012, performed hits like ’Til I Am Myself Again’, ‘Try’, and ‘Lost Together’ in front of a jam-packed Tribute Communities Centre.
“Is this Saturday night?,” said co-vocalist and guitarist Jim Cuddy at the start of the show to get the crowd excited. “The train is in the station, you people are really awesome.”
This was the band’s fourth time in four years playing at the Tribute Communities Centre, formerly known as the GM Centre. This time they were supported by fellow Toronto country-rockers The Sadies, who opened for the band for the duration of the tour.
Blue Rodeo started out of Toronto in 1984. They released their first album, “Outskirts”, in 1987 and signed to Warner Music soon after. Since then they have released 14 studio albums alongside numerous live and collaboration records.
They gently mix country, rock, folk, and bluegrass to create one of the most iconic sounds in Canadian music. The vocal duties are shared by both Cuddy and guitarist Greg Keelor, creating a unique balance.
“To me they’re the Canadian Eagles,” said Daniel Bramham, a 20-year Blue Rodeo fan at the show who has seen the band six times. “Their music is just comfortable, you can play it amongst all genres of people.”
The band is currently on tour in support of its latest album “1000 Arms”. Cuddy got the inspiration for the name of the album from a podcast he had been listening to.
“The podcast was about allowing your community to help you,” said Cuddy in a quote from the band’s website. “When we were going over titles, we were thinking about our musical community, what it means to us and how much we would do for each other. That was what we were thinking about the most, so it seemed like an appropriate title.”
Blue Rodeo stayed true to its sense of community. Every ticket sold on the tour came with a free digital download of the album, similar to their 2013 tour where every ticket sale came with a hard-copy of the album “In Our Nature.”
The 12-track album “1000 Arms” was recorded at Woodshed Studios in Toronto. The band opened the studio in 2001 for themselves and it has since been used by artists such as Bruce Cockburn and Feist.
Bill Langlois, an Oshawa resident and fan seeing the band for the first time, says it’s the poetry in their music that has kept them going for over 30 years.
“Their lyrics are very strong, that’s what I appreciate most about the band,” he said.
Blue Rodeo and The Sadies wrapped up the “1000 Arms” tour in Kitchener on Feb. 28.