Something old, something new, something borrowed, something Blue

Justin Crann
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Blue Rodeo offer hits old and new — and a Stones cover

Mosaic Place completed a trifecta of rock 'n' roll Canadiana when Blue Rodeo took the venue's stage Tuesday night.

The seven-piece, consisting of frontmen Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor along with founding member Bazil Donovan on bass; long-term members Glenn Milchem on drums and Bob Egan on guitar and mandolin; and relative newcomers Mike Boguski on keyboards and addition Colin Cripps on guitar, played to a modest crowd of approximately 1,250 people.

It was a cold evening, but frontman Jim Cuddy warmed up the audience with a brief introduction, adding that it was "lovely to be in Moose Jaw."

Earlier in the day, he made a pit stop at the Wally Boschuk Arena to join his Moose Jaw "doppelganger" Lindsay Tolley for a game of hockey. 

There, as well as on the stage later in the evening, Cuddy was joined by his son, Devin — whose band opened the Mosaic Place show with an impressive offering of swampy blues-influenced songs, including stand-out tune The Catfish Blues.

Blue Rodeo were the headliners, however, and they split their performance into a pair of sets. 

The first featured songs from their latest album, In Our Nature, which is also the name of their ongoing tour.

Keelor dominated the early tracks from that set, with the highlight being Tara's Blues, which Keelor said was written for a friend who had just gone through a break-up.

"As a musician, it's kind of terrible how you can take someone's suffering and make a song of it," he said — but make a song he did, having written it while on the road.

Paradise and New Morning Sun were also strong inclusions with fresher sounds while Never Too Late may have stood out as a more familiar Blue Rodeo song, reminiscent of their earlier hits. The set was rounded out with an impressive cover of the Rolling Stones' The Last Time.

The second set featured several of those earlier hits — Rose-Coloured Glasses, Diamond Mine and Hasn't Hit Me Yet among them.

Both sets had fans cheering and applauding, but the second seemed to draw a more enthusiastic reaction — those were the songs for which fans shelled out the price of admission.

In an interview with the Times-Herald last December, Keelor discussed the difficulties the band had adjusting to his tinnitus, which threatened to bench them.

"After a show, I would feel like when you get off a plane and swallow and you can't get the air pocket out of your head," he said. "The white noise would be so loud I couldn't even hear myself think."

But the band adapted, rearranging its live stage set-up and bringing in Cripps on guitar.

Those adaptations seem to have come to their full fruition before the Mosaic Place stop, with Cripps stepping into a lead role on several Blue Rodeo classics, joined by Boguski on keyboards.

And though they weren't performing to a capacity crowd, Blue Rodeo still put on a powerful show — as it is in their nature to do.

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Organizations: Rolling Stones, Diamond Mine

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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