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Concert Review 
Blue Rodeo
By Bob Silvestri
     American culture has a lot of influence on Canada. Our close proximity to each other allows for this although it is not always good. However, when Canada tries to export it’s music, arts, etc.  to the U.S., it is usually met with stiff resistance.  Yes, I know some Canadian artists have made an impact here (Rush, Barenaked Ladies and others ) but most never reach mainstream acceptance here. It’s time for America to open its ears and give Blue Rodeo the widespread acclaim they deserve.
     Playing their own style of Americana music, they have somehow missed out on the revival of this genre of music on this side of the border. Now in their third decade of existence, the band seems comfortable knowing that fame in the U.S. is not forthcoming. This has not stopped them from turning out one amazing CD after another and live shows that are some of the best in the world.  Having just completed an Australian tour, which included being asked back to play for the athletes in the Olympic Village, Blue Rodeo returned to North America to continue their tour.
     Always one of their favorite places to play, Blue Rodeo set up shop for a two-night stand Nov. 3 and 4 at The Tralf in downtown Buffalo for two sold-out shows. The band has such a following here that people were lining up outside the club a full two hours before show time both nights to claim their spots in the club. The band of course did not disappoint. 
     The Friday show found the band a little rushed on some songs and took a few songs to find the right tempo. Once they settled down things were okay. Starting with “English Bay,” the band played a loose set often changing songs from the set list due to crowd requests or just the bands’ change of mind. Most of their albums were represented, including versions of  “Already Gone,”, “Rose Coloured Glasses,”  “Til’ I Am Myself Again” and “Head Over Heels.” The night ended with Greg Kellor (guitars) and Glenn Milchem (drums) trading instruments and the band playing “Falling Down Blue” with a stunning vocal job by Jim Cuddy.
     Saturday’s show found the band primed and ready to rock. Varying the set list a bit the band seemed more comfortable than the night before. Opening this time with the song “What Am I doing Here,” their classic ode to the Erie County Fair, the crowd ate it up. Once again the band played loose and free with the set list, taking requests and lots of audience interaction and banter. While Saturday’s show included many from the previous night, they did change some things around. “Love And Understanding,”  “Is It You” and “Rage” found their way in to the appreciation of many. They also started to play “Lost Together” for the encore, but it quickly fell apart and they ended the night again with “Falling Down Blue.”
     Opening both nights for Blue Rodeo was Martin Sexton. Playing with just a drummer, Sexton managed to play both bass and guitar lines simultaneously . His vocals ranged from a Tom Waits growl to a tenor to a Bee Gee falsetto, sometimes within the same line of a song. While some artists don’t like to be the opening act, or “ The Sacrificial Lamb” slot, Sexton was focused and determined to challenge those who wanted to listen. His eight-song set each night was comprised of selections from his “Wonderbar” CD. He did manage a great workout of  “Helter Skelter” at Saturday’s show. This former Central New York native, now of the Boston, Mass. Area, is sure to be heard from in the future.
     Our thanks, as always, to Todd of the Blue Rodeo crew for the set lists and Craig, Tony and the staff at The Tralf.

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