Their current tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of the release of their first album, Outskirts. In the intervening quarter-century, the Ontario-based band has sold 3 million records, scooped up seven Juno Awards and secured a place in Canadian rock history.
The latest tour highlights the entire Blue Rodeo catalogue, from early hits on Outskirts to the landmark 1993 album Five Days in July and more recent efforts. The set list includes songs never before performed live, as well as alternate versions of classics and even songs from a still unreleased new album, according to the Vancouver Sun.
For many fans of Canadian rock, Blue Rodeo represents a bygone golden era. When singer and guitarist Jim Cuddy and buddy Greg Keelor formed the band, the airwaves were full of the sounds of innovative acts like the Cowboy Junkies, 54-40 and The Tragically Hip, not to mention Canadian icons like Bryan Adams and k.d. lang.
To this tapestry, Blue Rodeo introduced an earthy, country- and acoustic-rock sound, which contrasted dramatically with the distortion-heavy grunge music exploding out of Seattle. In hits like Lost Together, 5 Days in May, Hasn’t Hit Me Yet and Dark Angel, the band put a distinctly Canadian fingerprint on rock music, writing songs that referenced Canada’s landscape, imagery and identity. For the generation of listeners who came of age in the ’90s, they became a cultural touchstone – soundtrack to countless beer gardens, campfires and parties.
Hardcore fans were rewarded this September, when Blue Rodeo released a deluxe box set, including remastered takes of the first five albums, an extra disc of unreleased b-sides and a remixed version of the breakthrough record Outskirts (which jettisons the slick, ’80s production style for a more rustic tone).
Blue Rodeo takes the stage this Sunday, Jan. 5, at the Orpheum at 8 p.m.
Any Blue Rodeo fans out there? What’s your favourite track?
Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.