Will The Hip Play Bobcaygeon in Bobcaygeon?

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Is there any chance that The Tragically Hip WON'T play the song Bobcaygeon at their June 25th concert happening in Bobcaygeon, ON? I mean do they HAVE to? Are they obligated? Are there contract provision stating that it must happen?

What if they don't play it but throw down just a sick set of music that keeps the crowd into it from start to finish? What if they bust out Highway Girl instead? Will people be angry? Would you be angry?

Are people going to feel ripped off if they don't get a Bobcaygon in Bobcaygeon? Do you need one? I mean you're already there. In Bobcaygeon. Isn't that enough?

There's a cheese factor to all this. It's pretty much 100% that they're gonna play it. Right? We all know it's coming. A big sing-a-long ditty.

Digital Lyric Art
It was in Bobcaygeon...

And that's OK. This is all OK. I just wonder if the band feels that they must play this song being that they are finally playing a show There? It would be so ballsy not to play it. So ballsy.

Maybe just open with it. Get it out of the way straight off. Man, the stoners in the lots will start sprinting, bumping into people and swearing as they do - hauling ass for the entry gates. Forgetting their one-hitters. The beer garden will be chaos. Again, there will be more swearing when beers are dropped/spilled. It'll be calm and cool in the VIP section because they won't know what the fuck's going on anyway and probably couldn't care less. They'd be in 4G land.

That opening slot might not work though because there should be Constellations overhead. For effect and whatnot. Of course if it's cloudy they can re-slot it back to the opening position.

The nonchalant thing for the band to do would be to slot it into a nondescript position and maybe surround it with some "Big Boys". Then it doesn't look like they planned a "moment" a la single song triple encore just when you thought they weren't going to play it. Psyche.

What does history tell us on the matter? Can we discern how this band feels about songs that they know will carry some "destination weight"? Will they throw a song out there just because it will carry favor with a certain crowd? Like when the Grateful Dead would play Truckin' in the Buffalo area.

I grabbed most of this info off of TheHip.com . Their data base is OK. It's missing pieces here and there. Like most of their history in Saskatchewan. Just an FYI. Let me know if you see something doesn't seem to jive or have some addition info.

Will The Hip play Bobcaygeon in Bobcaygeon? The Math.

Math is used to prove a lot of things. That won't be the case here. Let's take a look anyway...

Chagrin Falls
Chagrin Falls, OH
It's part of the metro Cleveland area so that's what I looked at. There were 7 shows in Cleveland since the release of Phantom Power that The Hip headlined. Chagrin Falls was played at 4 of them. Now that doesn't jump out as anything out of the ordinary. They didn't play it at EVERY show. Only 57% of shows. It looks like restraint, however, I'd be very surprised if Chagrin Falls was played at more than 5% of shows since its release in 1998. Shocked actually.

The people of Cleveland are lucky. It's a good tune and it should be played more.

This definitely supports the notion that Bobcaygeon will be played in Bobcaygeon.

New Orleans Is Sinking

Four shows taking place in 1998, 2000, 2004 & 2007.( I can't believe they haven't played here more.) Every time. 100%. The 2007 one was post-Katrina. The easy thing to do would have been to remove it, play the gig and bring it out in the next town. Either they lost a bet or maybe they just don't give a shit. They'll play what they want, when they want. No one tell North to shut their big mouth. No sir. They was right all along. Shoulda listened, eh?


The hard numbers of NOIS in New Orleans support a Bob in Bob. The post Katrina playing of the song leads me to believe that they are capable of going against the grain of expectations. I'm sure people in the crowd were wondering if they were going to play NOIS that night. It was definitely being discussed and anticipated.

Wheat Kings

Saskatoon. The Paris of the Prairies.
Four shows. Four Wheat Kings. 1997, 2004, 2007, 2009.

That's leaning directly towards a Bobcaygeon in Bobcaygeon. Yep.


That Night In Toronto!

The Hip have done 37 shows in Toronto proper (not including as an opening act or as part of a radio show or awards show). Of those shows Bobcaygeon has been played 24 times. That's about 65%. I'm not sure how much Bobcaygeon has been played since Phantom Power was released. It's a very popular song and has always been a regular in the rotation with no shelf-time that I'm aware of. Two out of every three shows seems like a lot though. That's NOIS territory. I'm going to say (without the definitive math) that this percentage is higher than average when taking a random 37 show block of concerts from this period.

Now ten of these 37 Toronto shows took place in 2 blocks at smaller venues. The 4 show Phoenix Concert Theatre run in Oct 2006 and the epic 6 show Massey Hall run of 2009. I submit that the band planned these particular setlists around the fact that many people would be doing the entire run. These were hard tickets to get and many serious fans got them. And they didn't want to see the same show night after night. If I remove these shows from the equation we are left with 19/27 for a percentage of just over 70.

Some of the remaining 27 shows were back-to-back at the same venue such as the Aug 1-2, 2002 shows at the Molson Amphitheatre and the June 23-24, 2006 shows at Historic Fort York. Bobcaygeon was played only once at each pairing. I mention this because I feel there would be a very high chance of Bobcaygeon being included had the show fallen on another date and not aligned in a pair. Shit. I can't even prove that last statement. I don't know why I even wrote it. Meh. Food for thought I guess.

The Air Canada Centre. The ACC. The Hanger. Home of the Raptors, the Rock and of course the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Big Stage in the Big City. How much does The Hip like playing Bobcaygeon at the ACC where the crowd can belt out the lyrics en masse? 8 shows. 8 plays. 9/9 actually if you count THIS ONE. (I was in a bad mood when I wrote that so be careful). I mean 50MC has only been played 4/8 times at the ACC and Barilko's banner is hanging there. It's a jizz fest all day if they bring that one out in the T-Dot. If you lump the Molson Amphitheatre in with that it's 11/12 at the Big Time Toronto venues.

The above info heavily suggests that Bobcaygeon will be played in Bobcaygeon.

It was in Bobcaygeon, where they played Bobcaygeon???

In Conclusion

I have some proximity stats. There's been 9 shows within 100km of Bobcaygeon since the song's release. 5/9 times it was played. 2 shows were of the back-to-back variety so in the interest of not repeating... Of course, none of these venues was in Bobcaygeon. They do include Barrie, Bala, Belleville & Peterborough.

It appears like when they're near Bobcaygeon they will try to play Bobcaygeon. It really appears like when they're in Toronto they love to play Bobcaygeon. I'm sure lots of people from Toronto have tickets for Bobcaygeon.

In the long run will it be important that they play Bobcaygeon in Bobcaygeon? No.

Do they have the balls not to play it? Maybe.

Will they play Bobcaygeon in Bobcaygeon?. Absolutely.

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