Sunday, November 22, 2009

Concert DVD Review: Corb Lund Live at the Edmonton Coliseum

As regular readers of my blog will already know, I got really sick, landed my sorry ass in the ER, and missed Corb Lund's Toronto gig. The upside is that I got some morphine and percocet and had some sweet narcotics-induced hallucinations. The downside, obviously, is that I missed the show. And I was so sick that I couldn't even dump my ticket off on a friend. So when I received Maple Music's e-mail update a few weeks ago, I was very intrigued by Corb Lund's new live DVD, Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans Live at The Edmonton Coliseum.

This DVD features Lund and his band performing in April, 2008, at the Edmonton Coliseum, a.k.a. Rexal Place, a.k.a. the home ice of the Edmonton Oilers. Being the music snob that I am, I am generally opposed to arena shows, and I only make exceptions for Bob Dylan (who I saw at the Air Canada Centre in Nov. 2006. The Foo Fighters opened. It ruled.), Neil Young (who I saw at the ACC in Dec. 08. Wilco opened. It fucking ruled.), or Bruce Springsteen (I've been too broke to afford his shows every time he has been to town). But being that this DVD cost less than what I paid for the Oct. 23 ticket, and the fact that Maple Music's offices are on my route when I walk to work (no shipping charges), and that this DVD would cost less than the amount that I would have spent on beer at the October show, I figured, what the hell.

The first disc is the April 2008 show, edited down to 19 tracks (roughly an hour and 15 minutes), with commentary by Lund between every 4 to 5 tracks. The very first thing I noticed is that the sound is fantastic. In my experience, the sound at arena shows usually sucks, even for Dylan or Young (maybe that's just the ACC?). And the sound for a lot of rock show DVDs, in general, is mediocre. For this recording, you can turn on this DVD and just listen. Wonderful sound. Kudos to the sound engineer, or whoever is in charge of sound, or whatever. (Clearly, I don't know shit about recording.)

The second thing that grabbed me is the guitar playing by Grant Siemens. Sweet merciful crap, can this guy play! I didn't truly appreciate Siemens' talents until seeing this DVD. Two of my fellow bloggers got to see Lund and the boys this summer in Nashville (A Truer Sound and Too Much Country), and they both concurred that Siemens is a phenomenal talent. For this concert Siemens plays banjo, various electric guitars, and lap steel. Plus, he wears a killer purple embroidered suit. Very Gram Parsons.

Hurtin' Albertan.mp3
Buy (Maple Music): Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer (2006)
Buy (Amazon): Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer (2006)

Its not to say that the rest of the Hurtin' Albertans are slouches. Kurt Ciesla rules on the upright bass. Man, I wish more bands would use upright bass. It sounds so good. Though, as a former tuba player, I can imagine that its a total pain in the ass to travel with. Drummer Brady Valgardson rounds out one bad-ass rhythm section.

Big Butch Bass Bull Fiddle.mp3
Buy (Maple Music): Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer (2006)
Buy (Amazon): Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer (2006)

Disc one ends with the encore (duh), and there is a pee-in-your-pants funny moment at the very end, which I won't ruin for you.

Disc two is where things get really fun. First, it contains a music video anthology, so you don't have to watch your favorite Corb Lund video on a 5" x 3" YouTube video screen. There is also "pregame" footage of the tour manager and crew setting up the Rexall Place in preparation for the show. Plus, the DVD contains all of the songs from the Edmonton show that didn't make the original edit (mostly for cursing), including Lund singing Stompin' Tom Connors' "The Hockey Song." Awesome.

My favorite part of disc two is seeing a mini-doc of their East Coast tour, in March of 2008, prior to the Edmonton gig. They tour the Canadian parliament with Alberta MP Rick Casson, and as they are panning around the building, they tag "Hayes Carll, Texan," who was opening their gigs. Hold on. Hayes Carll is one of my favorite musicians. How the hell did I miss them when they came through Toronto in '08? (Aimz checks her calendar from March '08 and discovers that she was skiing in Lake Louise when Lund and Carll were in Toronto. Ski trips and hospitalizations are the only acceptable excuses for missing Corb Lund/Hayes Carll shows.)

Lund also comments on how Toronto can be a difficult place to play for country musicians as the shows are often attended only by other musicians, journalists, record label people, and other industry types. This statement made me chuckle because in my experience its true. I can specifically think of three amazing country/alt country shows from the last two years at the Horseshoe Tavern that have been criminally under attended: Chris Knight, Justin Townes Earle, and Rhett Miller. In fact, the Rhett Miller show was part of the Horseshoe's 60th anniversary party and there were maybe 50 people there, including Jim Cuddy, Justin Rutledge, and that guy with the goofy French-Ontario accent who runs

All Corb Lund fans should pick up this DVD, especially if, like me, you have never seen him and his band live. I can only hope that my vacation schedule and my immune system are a little more cooperative the next time they roll through Ontario.

Buy (Maple Music - $20 CND): Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans Live at The Edmonton Coliseum (2009)
Buy (Amazon): Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans Live At The Edmonton Coliseum (2009)

Corb and the boys also have a new album out, and its really good.

Buy (Maple Music): Losin' Lately Gambler (2009)
Buy (Amazon):Losin' Lately Gambler (2009)


toomuchcountry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
toomuchcountry said...

A big shout-out to you Aimz for getting this review picked-up at No Depression:

Hope you'll still remember us little folks and not big-time us by getting a "verified account" at Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Since you missed the show, you might want to listen to CBC Radio 2's Concerts on Demand broadcast of the October 31, 2009 concert in Winnipeg at

Rockstar Aimz said...

Sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I usually download R2's concerts. How did I miss this one???