Hip Trips are a right of passage of sorts. Jumping in the car with friends and heading down the road to untested destinations with limitless possibilities and unknown adventures ahead is a tremendous rush. It goes hand-in-hand with enjoying adventurous music and especially such music that is full of imagery from across Canada and North America for that matter.
Canada being the country that it is with its physical size and population spread, a local show can still be a major road trip. I grew up a few hours north of Toronto, ON and every Hip show back in the day was a Road Trip. Just going to the T-Dot was big time for us in our teens. And then when we traveled to Kingston...holy shit! That was a Huge trip. This was in the Summer of '93. The rotation was The EP, Up to Here, Road Apples and the new album Fully Completely. Looking back now, these Hip Trips were really the foundation for what would become almost a lifestyle for me. One good adventure leading to the next and the next, etc. The circle just kept expanding. This mentality has led me across Canada for both work and play, all over the US for work and music, and quite literally around the world.
One of the great Hip Trips a Canadian fan can make is one down to The States to see the boys in a small venue. Lately The Hip have been playing some smaller venues in Canada but from the mid-1990's until just recently this generally wasn't the case. It was arenas, amphitheaters or festivals. I'm sure the exact opposite was/is true as well. American fans who never got to see the band in an arena setting with the collective energy of 14,000 others all jumping simultaneously when they light the crowd all the way into the upper-decks during a Blow at High Dough encore. They want a piece of that action just as I want to see the band as close to life-sized as possible.
My last "Epic" Hip Trip came back in 2007. My birthday is in late March and my sister got myself, her and some friends tickets to the 4-20 show in Boston, MA. We left Toronto early that morning and crossed at Niagara Falls, ON taking Ontario Highway 420 (seemed appropriate and frankly necessary). From there we cruised the evil toll road I-90 across New York State and through Massachusetts into Boston. Traffic was chaos from the onset of the metro area right up to our hotel. We were lucky enough to catch a piece of early rush hour.
The show was the Avalon (now the House of Blues I think) which was located along a row of bars and clubs right behind The Green Monster of Fenway Park. We could almost see into the ballpark from our hotel room at the Buckminster so suffice it to say driving was not going to be any more of a problem for us. The atmosphere around Fenway was great. The Red Sox were home and they were playing the Yankees no less. As we were priming for the show, most everyone else was priming for the game.
This show kicked off right a 7pm on the dot. This is how it goes I guess when the concert venue converts into a nightclub immediately after the show. So we ended up missing the first 2 songs. I'm not big on pop songs and In View is The Hip's pop song. The second song was MM@W. Once I found out which songs I missed I figured that there was a good chance I'd be catching both of those at over 80% of the Hip concerts I attended for the rest of my life. No big deal. It's not like they went Highway Girl > 38 Years Old.
- In View
- My Music At Work
- Grace, Too --- It just feels right to start here anyway :)
- It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken
- Family Band
- Ahead By A Century
- Yer Not The Ocean
- Courage (For Hugh Maclennan)
- World Container
- At The Hundredth Meridian
- Boots Or Hearts
- The Kids Don't Get It
- Springtime In Vienna
- The Lonely End Of The Rink
- New Orleans Is Sinking
- Escape Is At Hand For The Travelin' Man
- Is This Love (Bob Marley cover)
- Blow At High Dough
So a pretty standard setlist for this tour. This show really got me into World Container (the song). I couldn't stop listening to it for a while. I was quite disappointed when they dropped it like a bad habit on their most recent tour. I think it's such a great tune. Anyway....... So this was the tour when they were doing a cover tune in each encore and for the most part it was usually different. A Bob Marley cover on April 20th. This appropriate and surprising cover brought many smiles to the crowd. The irony in all of this is that we had to cross the border and as such...
Wow. Four years ago today. Time flies, huh? If you haven't made plans for your next Hip Trip remember that the boys are heading back out on the road. There's a Montreal date in July. Always a cool place to be. Especially for 1st timers.
Happy 420 folks! For anyone down in The States just an FYI that The Grateful Dead Movie is playing in theatres across the country tonight. It's equally awesome for fans and the curious alike.
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