The Tragically Hip Epilogue

It’s been a couple of days since the Hip show in Kingston, purportedly their last.  I’ve had some time to absorb it and let it sink in a bit but it’s still a very dense topic.  I didn’t want to sit home and watch it alone or only with the lovely Missus.  This was an event that I felt needed to be shared with a crowd.  Since I couldn’t land tickets to the show, I did what I thought was the next best thing and bought us tickets to Larkin Square.

It sounded like fun.  They said they’d have big screens to watch the show and high quality sound with speakers in all the right places.  The tickets were only $10 and a portion was going to Gord’s charity.  All good, right?  Celebrate and commiserate with fellow fans, have a few pops. What could go wrong?

Well, they sold 3500 tickets but only had the support staff to handle maybe a thousand people.  There were only two drink lines so there was at least a 1/2 hour wait every time you wanted a drink.  They had maybe four food trucks there and those lines were equally as long.  It’s not like they didn’t know how many tickets they sold so there’s no excuse there.

The screens they had were large but not that large.  It was tough to jockey around and find a spot close enough to see.  Worst of all, and this is completely inexcusable to me, the sound absolutely sucked.  The speaker near us did not work at all.  We stayed for the first five songs and made the decision to cut bait.  We raced home to watch the rest of the show from the couch and ended up missing four or five songs, including one my favorites, Lake Fever.

The organizers had their hearts in the right place, I think.  They were seriously lacking in organizational skills, however.  There were a lot of ticked off people, as you can imagine.  In fact, I read in the paper that the entire feed cut off and whatever crowd was left missed the final two songs of the night.  They have apologized publicly and offered refunds to anyone who wants one.  It’s not about the $10 though.  It’s about an important event for many of us being somewhat ruined by poor planning.

Anyway, the show! What an unbelievable show!

I’m almost at a loss for words.  If this truly is the band’s final show, they went out in style.  They gave us everything they had to give.  Through almost three hours of music, including three encores, The Hip covered almost every major song of their storied career.  Emotions were raw, on stage and off.  So much has already been written about the band and the Kingston show that there isn’t that much more for me to add.  Every observation has already been noted.  Kudos to Canada and to the CBC for making this broadcast possible.  I can’t imagine any U.S. television station agreeing to a commercial free, three hour block of time for a concert.  And, they also did it without an annoying host. They simply broadcast the show and when it was over, went to Ron Maclean in Rio for Olympic coverage.  Maclean was his usual awesome self, talking about the Hip and where he was when he first heard certain songs.  In that list of firsts was being at Mothers restaurant here in Buffalo with former Sabre Daryl Shannon.  Ron’s the best.

There are serious rumors that the Kingston show will not be the end for The Hip.  The band has allegedly booked the arena here in Buffalo for either two or three nights in November, pending good health.  We’ll see if that proves to be true or not.

Several of my friends are big Reddit fans.  They send me links to funny and interesting stuff from there all the time.  They talk about Reddit frequently.  I dipped my toes in that water but just couldn’t commit to going down that rabbit hole.  It’s too deep and I’d get lost in there and never come back out.  There are certain bands that feel that way to me.  Certainly, The Grateful Dead have long qualified.  I knew many people way back when who only listened to the Dead and I’ve had periods of my life where I did the same.  It’s taken me a while to realize it but The Tragically Hip are like that too.  It’s easy to get lost in their music and their history.  It’s easy to catch the lake fever.



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