The Tragically Hip know and love The North.
This night was the first of two sold out nights on the Kirkland Lake leg of The Tragically Hip’s 2015 Fully Completely Tour.
This being the tour that features that 1992 Diamond selling album live in it’s entirety.
The Hip and the North.
It’s all good folks.
Maybe some of our readers have forgot the group played Fort Albany back in 2012 for the Great Moon Gathering.
And of course all of us in Canada and the city of Timmins know that Fifty Mission Cap is written about our own and former Maple Leaf star Bill Barilko
That song, along with Tom Cochrane’s Big League is easily a blue print for hockey anthems.
Heck, I had just watched the hockey draft before heading out to the show.
Hockey aside, and the Emms family name knows hockey, this was simply a magical night.
Their blistering all encompassing first opening night provided fans with a glimpse into the group’s tough yet at times intimate sound.
The love of Kirkland Lake and indeed all who attended from all over the North, Quebec, and points south was felt
“Oh yes, we can feel that vibe” said guitarist Paul Langlois talking after the show.
We feed off of it and it becomes an integral part of what we do live on stage.
It’s impossible to describe the band’s sound but it’s safe to say the whole band comes from a righteous place of heart and musicality
And besides Langlois should know.
His interlocking guitar work with lead guitarist Rob Baker is a mainstay of the band’s compelling groove.
With the swagger and pull of Johnny Fay’s drum work in tandem with superb bass work from Gordon Sinclair it’s the perfect fit for one of Canada’s most important frontmen/songwriters Gordon Downie
Downie’s swagger and intelligent lyrics often bring transcendence to any Hip concert fan.
This is a singer who looks his fans in the eye and reacts with the band on every dynamic.
Yep, he’s that good!
Hip Fandom is a whole other other gig folks!
You may remember these guys have headlined festivals where there have been upwards of 50,000 people.
But, on this night it’s all about KL and the incredible Kirkland Lake Festivals committee headed up by hard working Robin Connelly with massive support from the community.
What can you say?
The Hip for not one but two nights.
That will suffice.
I’m a writer not a photographer but I did ask to get moved along the front barricade for a decent shot.
I found myself up next to a smiling man in his mid 30’s
“Hey man how are you? he asked
Good I said, What a vibe coming off the band, it’s incredible.
Oh yeah, for sure he replied it’s my 19th show.
“My friend and I drove down from Sault Ste Marie, we knew this would an intimate show.
The Timmins turnout alone for this show let alone the next night was large.
The Hip have always operated on their own internal musical clock.
Highlights of this show were many
At The Hundredth Meridian, Locked In the Trunk of a Car, Wheat Kings, My Music At Work and Blow at High Dough come to mind.
Most of it all, it comes down to 5 guys performing great songs.
A dialogue between the band and fans that on this night captured a unified voice!
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician and Sun Media contributor.
JOHN fronts up his own blues/roots group THE SHAFTMEN
The band has released 3 original albums with a keen eye to The North and Canada
And, is writing on their fourth ..Check out the band on ITunes and youtube worldwide.