Blue Rodeo tops off a night of Canadiana at Calgary Folk Fest
By Vanessa Gillard
Sunday evening at Folk Fest this year was a hard one to top; the beautiful weather had put everyone in a splendid mood and the sunset was
beating orange on the expectant faces of the always diverse crowd. Sunday was sold out and about 13 000 folks jammed into the main stage area, a veritable sea of blue tarps and tattered blankets, and if the lineup was intended to reflect Canadiana it didn’t disappoint.
The Montreal favourite and much buzzed-about Coeur de Pirate, a.k.a. Beatrice Martin, sang her set entirely in dreamy French with a favoured ballad structure, and the indomitable Buffy Sainte- Marie who, at 70, was energetic and high spirited and also sang in various languages to a thumping powwow back beat.
When Blue Rodeo took the stage the band was in fine form and after a dozen albums and a few decades these guys came out to entertain as usual. Song writing duo Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy exchanged knowing glances before opening with Keelor’s hopeful and haunting “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” followed by the title track of one of the band’s most successful album’s to date, Five Days in July. In fact, the set was laden with titles from that particular album; only straying to other parts of their discography a couple times. The audience seemed to appreciate the doling out of hits and was on its collective feet in no time.
Blue Rodeo has played Calgary’s Folk Fest a multitude of times and it may stand to reason that they have learned what our city’s fans respond to. The focus on Five Days in July created a mellow mood that eventually seemed to pervade the onlookers, and when the Keelor played the acoustic “My Dark Angel” solo, a hypnotically simple song, for the encore while lanterns streamed around the listeners the evening was suddenly quite somber.
Certainly the quiet crescendo to the weekend left Folk Fest goers in a dream-like state and looking forward to next year’s events as the elbow-to-elbow muddy-soled, and the hoopers, and the enchanted began the shuffle homeward.