Monday, August 15, 2016

The Tragically Hip 2016 (last tour)

I hardly have to tell anyone in Canada that this summer is almost certainly the last tour The Tragically Hip will do.  I am sure we are all hoping for a miracle and that Gord's cancer goes into remission, but that seems unlikely.  (Of course, if he does beat the odds, like Stephen Hawking, I can't imagine anyone complaining about the fuss that was made this year.)

Since I was a bit concerned that my ticket had been sold twice (yes, I broke down and bought a ticket from StubHub), I wanted to get there as early as possible and be the first one through the gate.  Perhaps I was a bit paranoid, but there are quite a few scammers out there.

It wasn't a great seat (the very last row) but it did have some advantages, namely that because it was so close to the standing room only section (apparently Air Canada Centre still sells some standing room tickets) several people next to me (who also had been a bit worried about the legitimacy of their tickets!) went and stood up behind row 18, so I wasn't cramped at all.  And most importantly, it had a forward view of the stage, whereas most of the cheaper tickets on StubHub were behind the stage.  I couldn't see the band that well from the cheap seats, but at least I could see Gord doing his various dance routines, though he was far more restrained than usual in terms of his between song patter.  On the flip side, being up in the cheap seats meant a lot of leather-lunged fans were bellowing in my ears periodically.  Also, there was a lot of weed being smoked around me.  And some of the older fans chatted amongst themselves loudly during the newer material.

It was still an amazing performance and a real love-in.  I think the band decided that the Sunday show would be for the hard core fans, and they went even a bit deeper into their back catalogue.  The set list for the show is here, and you can poke around and see the Wednesday and Friday night sets as well.  Incredibly enough, they did not play a single song off of Fully Completely!  (Normally, they have been playing 4 and sometimes 3 songs off of it.)  There's no question I am a bit disappointed -- I would have wanted to hear Courage, At the Hundredth Meridian and probably Locked in the Trunk of the Car.  (All things considered, I probably would have liked the Friday show a bit better than Sunday's, though this was a solid show.)  But I did get to see New Orleans is Sinking live.  And of course, I went last year where they played the entire Fully Completely album straight through (such an amazing concert!), so putting the two shows together, I've probably seen virtually everything off of Yer Favorites except So Hard Done By (now I'm kind of glad that last year they did Nautical Disaster instead of New Orleans is Sinking).  I'm not a huge fan of bootlegs, but I might break down and get a few from this last tour, depending on the quality, though if an official DVD is released, I'll grab that of course.  (Which reminds me that I still haven't listened to Man Machine Poem all the way through, but it just hit hoopla, so I'll stream it later on today.)

I admit I broke up a couple of times (during Ahead by a Century and Bobcaygeon) just thinking that this would be the last go-around for the band.  I really don't know what I would do if I was facing a one-year death sentence.  There are a very few things at work that I would consider important enough to complete, but mostly I think I would want to try to complete the many, many open-ended creative writing projects I have going, and I would probably draw up a list of 30 or so cities I would want to visit once (or one last time).  I'd probably do one of those video things, where I would tell a lot of stories for my children.  I suppose all in all, I am not doing too badly in terms of living a fulfilled life, though it doesn't always seem that way from day to day.

It will be interesting to see what they do on the 20th.  While I won't be watching it live, I tried to set up the TV to record it off of the CBC.  If I were in town, I would either head over to the Distillery District for the outdoor feel, or more likely go watch it (for free) at Hot Docs.  A list of the authorized locations is here.  I can imagine them pulling out all the stops and playing for an eternity.

Anyway, thanks for all the music, guys, and we're all hoping for that miracle!

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