Now For Plan A - Tour Expectations

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Tonight kicks off the first 'tour show' since the epic 2009 We Are The Same Tour. There have been a little over 20 shows in between the end of that tour and tonight's show and they have all been mirrors of each other for the most part. This has been a real head-scratcher for me because for as long as I have been a fan I've never seen them fall into something like this. Even during non-tour years when they played shows the setlists were all different.

Now granted, we were introduced to new songs, but never the entire new album. It was always the same songs over and over. And every show had a Courage, Bobcaygeon, Wheat Kings, NOIS, ABAC, Gift Shop, 100th, Grace, In View (aaargh!!)... I'm not saying that these were bad shows, but they were not unique experiences as each individual Hip show should be. The catalog depth is there and the musicianship is there. I mean, some of those shows were so close together that of course people did multi-night runs... Only to see the same setlist 2 nights in a row. Again, I'm sure they were well played and energetic for anyone there but...

I can cite the 2-night Fork York run in 2006 as an example. And just forget the fact that Thirty-Eight Years Old saw a bust out.


The Lonely End Of The Rink, Fully Completely, Twist My Arm, Gus: The Polar Bear From Central Park, Poets, Lake Fever, Heaven Is A Better Place Today, Ahead By A Century, It Can't Be Nashville Every Night, As Makeshift As We Are, Fly, Gift Shop, Bobcaygeon, Fireworks, Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin' Man, Grace Too, My Music At Work

Encore: Lionized, Flamenco, Fire In The Hole

Don't Wake Daddy, Courage (For Hugh Maclennan), Yer Not The Ocean, Summer's Killing Us, It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken, Chagrin Falls, Nautical Disaster, It Can't Be Nashville Every Night, Thirty-Eight Years Old, Puttin' Down, At The Hundredth Meridian, Sherpa, Springtime In Vienna, No Threat, Blow At High Dough, Something On, The Wherewithal

Encore: The Drop-Off, Greasy Jungle, We'll Go Too


Now of course there's a sprinkling of the heavy-hitters throughout these 2 setlists but they don't make up the entire setlist. I believe one of The Hip's best assets is their diverse catalog that is capable of filling in any show for any audience... Whether it's made up of casual fans or hard-core fans. Sure everyone blows a nut for Courage or 100th Meridian, but look at these 2 setlists. No New Orleans. No Little Bones. No problem.

Songs like Gus, Lake Fever, Makeshift, Nashville, Sherpa, Lionized, Greasy Jungle, We'll Go Too, The Wherewithal, No Threat, Chagrin Falls, Something On, Flamenco, Puttin' Down, Escape Is At Hand are all solid, solid tunes. Ocean, Fly, Drop-Off, Lonely End were all new to the crowd as they hadn't been released yet...

Listen, I know that Highway Girl, I'll Believe In You, Fight, Bring It All Back, Get Back Again may never again see the light of day on the stage. And whatever. That's cool. I've always loved how The Hip continue to create new music and evolve as they go and as they grow. Sometimes though I just find it frustrating when they write this great new material only to basically shelve it after 1 tour. One and Dones I call them...

Some songs that fit into this category include: Emergency (never played), Impossibilium, Butts Wigglin, Apartment Song, Coconut Cream, Put it Off, Stay, The Bastard, The Completists, Freak Turbulence, Sharks, Wild Mountain Honey, Train Overnight, As I Wind Down the Pines (never played), Are You Ready, Use It Up, The Darkest One, All Tore Up, Leave, A Beautiful Thing, Vaccination Scar, You're Everywhere, Mean Streak, The Heart of the Melt, One Night in Copenhagen, Luv (sic), Pretend, Last Night I Dreamed You Didn't Love Me, World Container.

And I'm really scared for the We Are the Same material because it was produced with keyboards. Country Day was dropped very early in the 2009 tour. The Depression Suite is the big one for me. I think it's one of The Hip's greatest songs. I think it's their Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead) or their You Enjoy Myself (Phish).

I guess time will tel what we see on this tour. Is it going to fall into a familiar pattern or will there be surprises along the way? What do you think?

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