Blackie and the Rodeo Kings of This Town

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings – 25th Anniversary Tour
Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
November 9, 2022

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings originally formed in 1996 when Colin Linden, Steohen Fearing, and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett.

The pandemic put a hold on what was supposed to be their 25th Anniversary Tour with the release of 2020’s King of This Town. Due to the restrictions in Western Canada last February, tour dates had to be postponed. The original Vancouver date of February 10th was rescheduled to November 9th.

Special guest Terra Lightfoot joined BARK on this tour and joined the band on stage for several songs, and even adding one of her own in the performance. Multi-instrumentalist Ben Mink of Vancouver was also introduced, playing violin or mandolin on several songs throughout this incredible evening of music. North Vancouver’s own Colin James received the greatest cheers when introduced as a special guest. His relationship to both Colin Linden and Tom Wilson go back to the early 90s.

After the excellent “Another Free Woman“, Colin Linden acknowledged Rodeo Kings bandmate as “The pride of Victoria, British Columbia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Guelph, Ontario, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dublin, Ireland, Stephen Fearing.” Linden then introduced Johnny Dymond and Chip Vayenas. “We’ve had the great honour tonight of playing with two fantastic musicians. On the bass for the last thirty-one years, Johnny Dymond, and for the last seven or eight days, from Nashvile, Tennesee, Chip Vayenas on the drums.”

Tom Wilson has a gift for storytelling. He had a great story to tell when performing “Stoned” from 2004’s album, ‘Bark’. “When Stephen and I wrote this song, we thought we were all edgy and shit and writing about being stoned on marijuana. Now I send my grandkids down to the corner store to pick me up a couple of joints.

I’ve been talking on this tour about being uncomfortably stoned. Marijuana was really never my drug. When I was 14 years old my friend got us these tickets for Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to go see a band called Yes. I should have said no. Nothing against the band. The band was fantastic. I remember parts … I don’t really remember any of the show. I only knew three songs by Yes, but I’d figure I’d go anyway. I do know that the guy with a high voice and a guy with a cape and he played with nine arms, and he played all these keyboards.” Wilson continuing in his highest voice, “there was this guy with a high voice. I’LL BE THE ROUNDABOUT. He kind of sounded like that little rooster from The Friendly Giant or Newton from Hercules (The Mighty Hercules). So anyways I go to this concert. I’m sitting in Maple Leaf Gardens. I’m 14 years old and he gives me a piece of paper. ‘Take this Tom.’ I said ok. I put it in my mouth. What’s that. ‘It’s LSD.’ I said I’ve never done LSD because I’m only fuckin’ 14 years old. And I’m sitting there waiting for Yes to come on, a band that I really don’t know much about. And nothing is happening, so I took two more. And then Yes come out, right. I’m ready to hear the three songs that I know by them. And buddy wheels up to the microphone and says ‘tonight, we’re going to do something very, very special for you, we’re going to play our new album in its entirety Tales of the Topographic Oceans’. I said, what the fuck did he just say? Anyways, 27 hours later the concert ended. Tom paused momentarily as the music was playing and continued singing the song to a roar of laughter and applause.

For the Encore, the three-and-a-half minute Medicine Hat turned into an epic ten minutes. “Alright, I want you to think about that bunch of lawyers that have a garage band up the street from you” Tom yelled into the microphone, “I want you to think about them because we are going to become them. We’re going to give you garage Rock n Roll all the way from Medicine Hat in the spirit of Flamin’ Groovies, in the spirit of the MC5 and in the spirit of Van Morrison and Them.”

The great Digging Roots, consisting of husband and wife duo Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish, with their son Skye Polson on the drums opened for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Their music is a blends folk-rock, and blues with the traditional sounds of Indigenous music.

During “Cut My Hair“, Raven explained that he’s had long hair all his life. He grew up knowing relatives went missing, and that he cut his hair in remembrance those little children that went missing. He also talked about the beads that his grandmother made were hanging on the amplifier.

What a night.


Blackie and the Rodeo Kings


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Water or Gasoline
Another Free Woman
World Gone Mad
Blackie Sheep
Two Wild Horses (Terra Lightfoot) – with Terra Lightfoot
Playing By Heart
Down By The Henry Moore (Murray McLauchlan cover)
Lean On Your Peers
Trust Yourself
Grand River
Sometimes It Comes So Easy
Leave This House (Tom Wilson/Colin James) – with Colin James
14. Raging River (Colin James) – with Colin James
15. Heaven Knows Your Name (Tom Wilson/Colin Cripps/Colin James) – with Colin James
16. Freedom (Colin James/Tom Wilson) – with Colin James
17. Remedy
18. White Line


Medicine Hat


Digging Roots

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She Calls Me
Cut My Hair
Spring to Come


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