Words by: Adam Harrison
Photography by: Adam Harrison
Nothing says Canada Day more than a Tragically Hip concert at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. The only way this night could have gotten more Canadian is if your ticket came with a free bottle of maple syrup and an apology. However, the sold out crowd of 16,000 Canucks would need no such thing as they were hungry for The Hip from the very first notes of “Grace, Too” to open the night’s set.
In the spotlight as always for The Tragically Hip is the eccentric and enthusiastic front man and singer, Gord Downie, who, dressed in all white, squirmed and wiggled his way through the entire 110-minute set. Some of his “dance” moves (if you can call them that) included pushing a crank, reeling in a fish and paddling a canoe. Despite the peculiarity of his movement, he’s barely slowed down since the band first started 30 years ago and his vocals are as emphatic as a high school punk band singer.
Fans of The Hip’s fourth record, Fully Completely, were particularly happy this evening as after a handful of greatest hits, the band played the classic album, well, fully and completely. At the end of this main set Downie concluded, “It’s not about being Canadian. It’s about needing to be understood. Thank you music lovers.”
The absolute highlight of the night came during the last three songs of the encore. “Poets” had everyone off their feet, “Bobcaygeon” had them singing along, and by the time they hit “Little Bones” as the finale, every Canadian young & old, urban dweller to country bumpkin, was in the aisles dancing in unity in a way that only a Tragically Hip fan can understand. The only problem being, the set ended so strong that everyone caught a second wind and wanted even more.