Blue Rodeo Blue Road

Blue Rodeo Blue Road
When it comes to live albums, Blue Rodeo thankfully haven't yet reached the level of predictability as, say, the Rolling Stones or Rush, but given the band's reputation in Canada, it's easy to assume Blue Road would be a quick cash-grab at the expense of their ever-loyal fan base. Thankfully, it isn't - meaning that at the same time it's not what most of those fans would expect. In the spirit of the Grateful Dead (see 1981's Reckoning), the package is comprised of both a visual and audio representation of an "unplugged" performance at Toronto's Massey Hall from earlier this year, which allowed Messrs. Keelor and Cuddy to stray slightly from their usual standard playbook. It's particularly nice to hear early nuggets like "Rebel" mixed in with recent concert favourites like the Bee Gees-via-Burrito Brothers' "To Love Somebody." A 50-minute fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring a few more rarely played covers is an additional treat, although it's largely a missed opportunity to provide some insight into the band's history and legacy. Moreover, the Massey Hall footage is barely above bootleg quality. But for long-time fans, the music alone on Blue Road provides a worthwhile alternate view of an institution too often taken for granted. (Warner)