The Tragically Hip in Kingston


  • Grace, Too. Fun fact: I once worked the line “the secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse when the appearance of conflict meets the appearance of force” into an exam essay. Got an A, too.
  • My Music at Work
  • In View (re: these last two songs, it baffles me how a band that’s got songs like “Cordelia” or “Titanic Terrarium” in its arsenal plays “In View” and “My Music at Work” almost every single night. They’re not terrible: they’re mediocre, which is almost worse.)
  • Ahead by a Century
  • New Orleans is Sinking

Fully Completely:

  • Courage (For Hugh MacLennan)
  • Looking for a Place to Happen
  • At the Hundredth Meridian
  • Pigeon CameraPrior to Tuesday I’d heard all of Fully Completely live except “Pigeon Camera.” Loved the video, ostensibly shot by a GoPro mounted on a pigeon, that accompanied it. 
  • Lionized
  • Locked in the Trunk of a Car. Highlight of the Fully Completely set; mercifully no cameo by Dan Ackroyd, who’s been known to appear at the Hip’s Kingston concerts and play harmonica during “Locked in the Trunk of a Car”
  • We’ll Go Too
  • Fully Completely
  • Fifty Mission Cap
  • Wheat Kings
  • The Wherewithal
  • Eldorado. Prior to Tuesday I hadn’t heard “Eldorado” live since my first Hip show. By no means is it my favourite song of theirs – but lyrically it’s perfection, and the line “just the mention of Berlin makes me sexy” might be my single-favourite line in any Hip song.


  • At Transformation
  • Twist My Arm. Surprisingly hard.
  • Fiddler’s Green. Beautiful.
  • Poets
  • Blow at High Dough. Inevitably; the opening line (“They shot a movie once in my hometown”) met with a predictably ecstatic response.

And so a good show, although (stop me if you’ve heard this before) the opening and closing five songs were distressingly paint-by-numbers. There’s simply no reason that a band with a back catalogue as rich as the Hip’s and a fanbase that follows them around on tour to keep on neglecting it. In happier news, Gord sang a lot more than he has been; he even managed not to scream the bridge to “At the Hundredth Meridian,” which almost made Tuesday’s concert worth attending in and of itself. The highlight, apart from “Locked in the Trunk of a Car,” was how happy the band (and Gord Downie and Paul Langlois in particular) seemed the entire night: the show was full of smiles and waves and raised fists, many in the direction of our section, which is where most of the band’s guests seemed to be located. Ultimately, as both a Hip fan and erstwhile Kingstonian, seeing the band in its hometown will always be enjoyable. I’d only done it once before, ten years ago at the Across the Causeway concert, which was by turns enjoyable, aggravating (the bottle lobbers haunt me to this day), and profoundly discomfiting (I’d only moved away from Kingston three weeks previously). I’m glad the new (or, well, “new”) downtown arena’s made hometown Hip shows more regular occurrences and that I’ve still got a couple idiots willing to come along for the ride.


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