Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $65 (includes GST and facility fees). Call 780-459-1542 or at ticketmaster.ca
Several times during an interview with the Gazette, singer-songwriter Rich Dobson of classic rock band, The Stampeders, emphasized how much fun he has reconnecting with fans during tours.
“We definitely attract the old fans at our yearly cross-Canada tours. When the old fans come, they bring their kids and grandkids and they like it loud. We’ve had good turnouts and the best part is the meet-and-greets at the end of the concert,” said Dobson.
As part of their 50th-anniversary celebrations, The Stampeders are playing the Arden Theatre on Thursday, June 13.
Back in the 1970s the entire country hummed and sang The Stampeders’ tunes. The Juno Award winners’ biggest hit was the gold-plated Sweet City Woman, which topped Canadian charts for four weeks in 1971 and reached No. 8 in the United States. It was an impressive feat for any band and more so from a bunch of guys from Calgary.
The trio continued ruling the airwaves and achieved international fame singing hits such as Carry Me, Devil You, Wild Eyes and Hit the Road Jack.
They packed arenas with marquee acts of the day – Santana, the Beach Boys, the Eagles, Sonny & Cher, Joe Cocker, Steely Dan, and Blood, Sweat and Tears to name a few.
Despite their cohesion and megahits, in 1978 Rich Dodson, Kim Berley and Ronnie King went on to launch solo careers. But they regrouped again in 1992 for the Calgary Stampede and continue touring 40 shows a year.
“It’s amazing that we’re still doing it. You look at Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. These guys don’t stop. And from my point of view, it’s what we do,” Dobson said.
But it’s the band’s songs that have achieved a firm foothold in Canadian musical history. Sweet City Woman, whose primary instrument was a banjo, in particular defined a new generation’s optimistic excitement for a bright future.
Dobson drafted Sweet City Woman in two days along with several other Top 10 hits including Carry Me, and Devil You. Unlike today, where the entire band collaborates while jamming, back then songwriters would write complete songs before introducing them to the band.
"The thing was we were successful because we had three really good songwriters,” Dobson said humbly refusing to take full credit for the trio's songwriting wins.
At present, touring appears to be the band’s major connection with fans. Their last album releases were about a decade apart with Sure Beats Working (1998) and Live at the Mae Wilson (2011), a compilation of past hits recorded at the Mae Wilson Theatre in Moose Jaw.
“We’re considering some stuff and we’ve half-recorded songs that we’d like to release possibly next spring or sometime in the future.”
But for now fans will have to be satisfied with live concerts.
“You can’t beat the personal interaction of live music.”