I’m new to the blog thing so forgive me if I start to ramble on.
First, welcome to The Hip Show’s website. We hope that you like it, and you return on occasion to check out new pics, upcoming shows, and of course, this here blog.
Second, the idea of this blog is to give you a bit of an inside look at what’s going on with us when “we’re not around”. But it might also, on occasion, involve things that do “concern us”. 😉
Okay, now that that’s out of the way…..
This past Remembrance Day, we played our first show since the passing of Gord Downie on October 17th. To say we were comfortable going into it would be a lie. That first rehearsal leading up to this show, we were all still pretty shaken. Inevitability of death aside, no one is ever fully prepared for the end, be it a family member, close friend, or national hero. But we got through it. And we got through the next one, and the next one. (We wanted to be as prepared as we could for this show).
Then it came to how we start this show. It might have been a small venue, but it was going to be an important moment for all those in attendance. Someone on our fan page suggested Fiddler’s Green to start the show. Now, that is not something we would have ever thought of. It’s not a show opener, but then, this was not going to be an ordinary show. So we discussed it, and agreed it was the right song. But how to present it. See now this part was tricky, because as you may have figured out, we don’t just play the music, we have committed to present the most authentic Tragically Hip tribute “show” anyone will ever see. And with that, costuming is a key element to it all.
As it happens, our lead singer had just received his second shiny suit from our friend Alissa Swanson at Unforgettable Costumes in Surrey. The first, was the silver suit that you can see in most of the pics on our site. The second is the blue suit. And it had not been seen by an audience yet. And to top that off, Dave and I wanted to get Matt an early Christmas present. So I reached out to Karyn Ruiz at Lilliput Hats in Toronto, and asked if she could make us a hat similar to what Gord was wearing on the MMP tour. And boy did she deliver. And I mean literally. She actually hand delivered the hat to Matt here in Vancouver!!!! How freakin’ cool is that?!?!?(see picture of them attached)
So again, how to open the show playing Fiddler’s Green. It couldn’t be in the new outfit with the new hat. That just didn’t feel right. So I suggested Gord’s Canadian tuxedo look complete with poppy and black hat. To play one song immediately followed by a costume change seemed like a challenge, but Matt agreed. Nothing extending the slide solo outro at the end couldn’t cover up. 😉
So we start Fiddler’s, I give it 4 bars before I look out to the audience, and as I expected, tears were already flowing on the faces all around. It was what we expected would happen. It was a beautiful honour to be able to bring everyone together and let them share with us, their honest open fragility in a room full of strangers. In that moment, we were all one.
So, putting it at the top of the show was the right thing to do. Had we put the song and dedication to Gord mid show, we would have sucked the joy out of the room. A joy that we insisted on by way of making the rest of the show a celebration of the man, his music, and the band we have all grown to love over the years.
It was a remembrance day like no other. And we were glad the audience was there to revel in their abandon, and balter away the rest of the night, all in honour of our brave soldiers, and a national hero. Gone but no forgotten.