Carnival 6 – Tragically Hip Live! A Depressed Mess!

from Harvey Dog’s CarnivalJan. 15th, 2007


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Live concert report: Tragically Hip in Prince George, BC!!

The Tragically Hip
Friday, January 12th, 2007
CN Centre
Prince George, BC
attendance: 3,000

History of Harv and the Hip:
I’ve seen The Tragically Hip before. At Bannister’s in Hamilton, Ontario around 1987 in front of 90 people. Bannister’s was usually a strip club. The Hated Uncles even played there! Gord Downie and I may have sweated into the same microphone! How exciting!!

They were awesome that night. They rocked and Gord Downie had his rock’n’roll long hair back then, and he sweated up a storm and wouldn’t stop moving.

Great, great bar band from Kingston, Ontario.

Then they became famous and Canada’s #1 rock band. They deserved it. The albums were excellent, Gord Downie is a charismatic frontman, he writes excellent Candiancentric lyrics and the band rocks.

I stopped getting the albums after the 1st 4. They started sounding similar to me…or was I just getting tired of them?

Every party, every bar band seemingly covered The Hip. I got sick of them…and it wasn’t their fault…it was…
Overexposure in Ontario!!

When we moved out here, all of a sudden the lack of entertainment helped me appreciate one of the great things about Southern Ontario. The music!! Lots of live shows to choose from…Toronto only a train ride away…compared to Prince George. I mean, we’re 7 hours from Edmonton and 8-10 hours from Vancouver. We’re a population of 80,000 so you don’t get too many top acts coming out here. Let’s see – in just over 2 years we’ve had Bonnie Raitt (the Guru went and it was good), Kim Mitchell (we saw him at the local rock bar…weird, but Kim was fine), Gordon Lightfoot, Matt Good at the folk fest and…um, oh yeh, Nickleback…and that’s it in over 2 years. So, when The Tragically Hip and James Brown were both coming to PG tickets needed to be purchased. JB died 2 weeks before his show, but The Hip are still alive.

Friday, January 12th, 2007:
Here’s a synopsis of the day…it was a hell of a day!!!

The Hospital and a War!!!
We wake at 6:45 to get to the hospital by 7:30 for the Guru’s endoscopy. I figured she wouldn’t be able to make the show and we’d either give away the tickets or the Guru would force me to go alone.

After being informed that the Guru would not be ready until 9:30 or 10:00, I returned home to kill time with the dog and cat…well, the cat was sleeping, but the dog is always happy to have company.

Harvey Dog Carnival #6 - It's Alive!

I returned to the hospital at 9:30 and I go to the back to see the Guru, expecting her in bed. Nope. She was ready to leave, and I was informed that the scope did not take place. Apparently, the Guru was somewhat resistant to the tube going down (even under heavy sedation) and she beat the shit out of everybody in the room like the alien in “It’s Alive (1974)”.

The Afternoon:
We return home and of course, the Guru hits the sack for some zzzzzzz’s. I hang around increasing my anxiety about going out that night. I’ve developed quite the phobia about crowd situations (which I’m working on) and I was increasing my feeling of dread second by second.

I wanted to dump the tickets figuring the Guru couldn’t go, but she wanted me to go with our friend (who was joining us). The whole situation was avoided when the Guru started feeling better and decided to go. She was looking forward to going out, so we decided to take a cab so I could “relax” and she was legally impaired to drive anyway with her sedation.

As time started approaching, I started getting physically sick from anxiety. Crowd situations, you know. I laid down, closed the eyes, and focused on giving the Guru a good time, so I snapped out of it somewhat and went downstairs deciding to do my best.

We Arrive:
Our friend drove to our home and we all grabbed the cab together. We got to our seats 1/2 way through the opening bands set. The seats were right at the top and 60% back from the stage. In the diagram below we’re the red dot, and the stage is the blue line. Sorta blah seats considering the Guru ordered them within 10 minutes of them going on sale. The Sadies were the opening act and they did a good job. We have Favourite Colours (2004) by them and it’s a good solid pop-psych album.

Harvey Dog Carnival #6 - Seating PG

The Guru was hanging in there admirably, considering all she had been through. I was also hanging in there and started enjoying the music. I had a seat at the edge of the aisle when I realized there was a chair next to me! Because we were in the last row, they put chairs in the aisle. Eventually, Stoner Baseball Cap (the kind that shouts “Yeh you’re a rock star buddy” to the guitar tech checking the sound level – which he did) and his date Screaming Sandy Smalltown sat beside me. I looked around in desperation and realized there was no escape. I sighed inside and sucked it up.

The Tragically Hip:
Then…The Hip comes on.

The crowd comes alive and Gord Downie and the band start off rocking hard and energetically only letting up for a couple of lighter songs…giving the crowd a break…but returning hard again. Gord Downie was a great showman. Throwing mic stands, lying on the speakers like a Canadian Iggy Pop and never staying still.

They did a different version of “At the 100th Meridian” (my fave TH song) and it was awesome. Maybe the best thing of the night. “New Orleans is Sinking” was fantastic. They did most of the hits and a few from the new album, which sounds like their best in years.

As the show hit the 1 hour 15-minute mark, I started feeling tired (I had been up since 4:30 in the morning worrying about the Guru’s procedure) and wanted to get out of there before the end of the show…beat the crowd, so to say. However, I knew our friend (KL) wanted to stay until the end [aside: She saw The Hip before, and got in a fight with her ex-husband because he wanted to leave early and beat the crowd and she missed her fave song] but after the regular setlist finished and we were waiting for the encore [another aside: what is the point of encores??? I mean…really] I had to get out of there. I stood in the hall waiting while The Hip encored with a great version of The Band’s “It Makes No Difference” and one of their own hits I can’t remember now.

The Finale:
After “It Makes No Difference” the Guru and KL came out and we headed towards the exit. Being from Ontario, I was startled to not find any cabs outside the arena. I mean, after a big event, wouldn’t they be there ready to go? So we called and it was going to be 30-45 minutes.

Did I mention that the temperature high that day was -21 Celsius? And it was currently around -28 Celsius? It was a wee bit chilly.

We decided to cross the street to the bar thinking it would be faster getting a cab there. That was a mistake. It was worse.

Harvey Dog Carnival #6 - Freaking Out!

I started freaking…being terrified of crowds and being a reformed alcoholic, it wasn’t really great being in a busy bar near midnight. I said I was going to start walking home and did…then it hit me. It was an hour’s walk, and it was -28 Celsius. Moron. And I have to keep an eye on the Guru who had been on sedation and had decided to have a drink! I went back, and also realized that no cabs were getting to the door, but were being hijacked before the cab could turn into the parking lot! It was useless to call the company. You had to go out in the cold and stand there waiting for the next cab with all the other suckers.

We finally got a cab and made it home at midnight. What a fucking long day!!!

Conclusion:
All being said and done…The Tragically Hip made it worth all the aggravation and psychosis. The Guru survived and is now ready for her next battle with the medical profession…and I remain determined to defeat those bastard phobias.


Notes & Hindsight

  • I had a severe depressive breakdown in early 2003 while living in Ontario, and was still at a very low period during the 2 1/2 years I lived in Prince George, BC.
  • The blog started at the end of 2005 and it was very helpful (as was drawing) in letting my creativity loose again. Anti-depressants had sucked the life out of me. I felt nothing, and when you feel nothing, writing becomes a difficult proposition.
  • I recall this concert quite vividly and I definitely undermined my state of mind that day – I was a fucking depressed mess!
  • One of the last live music concerts I attended, as the said “phobia” mentioned in the article, continues to be a struggle.

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