An ageless act Blue Rodeo takes the Sanderson Centre

“Everybody here has 30 years on us,” my friend Kurtis whispered to me as we climbed to the back of the Sanderson Centre.

It was true; the fans at Blue Rodeo’s February 3 show, the second of two shows at Brantford’s Sanderson Centre, were definitely alive to see the moon landing. I was a little worried because as the number of cocktails I have in an evening increase, so does my desire to sing off-key. I hoped that when the band inevitably played “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” that my drunken sing-a-long wouldn’t offend the posse of senior citizens sitting in front of me.

Even though my friends and I aren’t exactly Blue Rodeo’s target demographic we’re still huge fans of this iconic, Canadian-roots rock band. Their music is not played at clubs or on top 40 stations – a hallmark of any band with longevity and increasingly a sign of talent.

For 27 years, Blue Rodeo has managed to mix bluesy rock, countrified chords and folk jams into a sound uniquely their own and undeniably Canadian. They’ve sold over three million albums and are only one of five bands to be inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. Blue Rodeo’s recent tour was spurred by the release of their 12th studio album, The Things We’ve Left Behind. This album consists of 16 tracks on two CDs and proves that even after nearly three decades in the business, Blue Rodeo is still a band that is motivated simply by making great music.

They also happen to put on a hell of a live show!

Blue Rodeo has the unique distinction of having two front men: Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. Since the pair is also the band’s songwriters, they deftly utilize each other’s talents in every song they write. Cuddy takes the mic for songs that require his unbelievable range (“Try,” “After the Rain”) and Keelor’s more baritone voice creates a sound uniquely his own (“Dark Angel,” “Rose-Coloured Glasses”).

Unfortunately Keelor was feeling under the weather during their February 3rd show and only took to the stage for a select few songs.

“That’s the thing about being fans of an older band,” said Cuddy jokingly, alluding to Keelor’s plight. “You’ve got to watch them perish before your eyes.” A reality of aging that I’m sure wasn’t lost on the audience.

During the band’s encore, my friends and I rushed the stage and were front row for the classic tracks “Head Over Heels” and “Lost Together.” At one point, I turned around and noticed that the band had gotten nearly every single audience member on their feet. At that very moment, the age gap between us and the rest of the audience did not exist. We were all just fans.

Great music has the ability to do that and few bands today can claim this feat. Even though Jim Cuddy is now in his 50s, he could have still left with any female in the Sanderson Centre that night – both blue-haired and brown-haired alike.

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