One thing that I really like about having lived in several different countries is that I have been exposed to a lot of different music, and that great artists that everybody knows in certain places are sometimes completely unknown in others. This has allowed me to see Ani DiFranco in a venue of at most 200 people in Paris, Ben Harper in a small club in Cambridge, etc.
Yesterday night, I was introduced to the Fillmore, which fits about 1000 people I’d say, to see The Tragically Hip, which is a massively popular Canadian rock band… in Canada. Gerald had taken me to one of their shows years ago. Since then, I’ve been listening to The Hip.
It was pretty much the same crowd: I was surrounded by Canadians. Some came all the way from Calgary in order to see The Hip play in such a small venue.
The support act was great. The Sadies put up a great show. They somewhat reminded me of Tarnation, but with a “rockier” sound, if that says anything to somebody else. They’re themselves Canadian, and who knows when I’ll have a chance to see them again, but I’m definitely going to get some of their CDs.
Then The Hip did a great performance. As I often realize, I appreciate a concert much better when I’m close (I remember not fully appreciating PJ Harvey at the Zénith in Paris, while I loved the bootleg I got of the show). Here I was at the second row, and I was able to witness the energy that Gord Downie puts into the show.
He basically doesn’t hold back. His shirt was soaking wet after the second song. He broke a guitar string during the second song, jumped all over the place for 1h45, gave away guitar picks, broken strings, towels, his microphone stand (yes, you read well). It basically was one of the best shows I had seen in a while.
The setlist is available in the HipBase forum. I have some photos on Flickr. And I tried to take a video of Blow at High Dough as you can see below:
I edited out the audio, as it was horrible, and you could not even recognize a melody. The result, without the sound isn’t great. You can watch the whole song on YouTube from another concert.
After a great performance, we were given when we exited the venue a pretty big poster for the concert, made of very thick paper. All I can say is that The Hip gives you plenty for your money, and even more. Don’t miss them.