Hugh’s Review: 2006-09-09 – Straford, ON

This was a wonderfully enjoyable show. It definitly had a southern Ontario feel to it, and that’s a good thing! The show took place in the middle of a huge plowed-under cornfield on the outskirts of Stratford, Ontario. (As a tribute to Lord Brazle I dub it the ” Dope Deal in the Middle of a Cornfield” show. The setlist involved a great mix of old and new songs. The surprising thing to me about the show was that THe Hip’s long time road crew was replaced by faces that I assume came from the new management company. Leather-hatted Billy Ray is the only roadie left from the previous crew. Just before The Hip came on stage I thought I spotted Bob Rock standing in the stage left wing on Paul’s side. I wasn’t sure, but that blond mane of hair is almost unmistakeable. This was later confirmed when Gord D. dedicated Don’t Wake Daddy to “Bob”. Who else could it be? After hearing of the great live performances the band is known for, I guess Bob had to see it for himself. He wasn’t disappointed in my opinion. I loved the show and this is number 30 for me.

The Hip played four new songs from their upcoming CD release. “In View” made it’s live debut. I think it rocks and I throughly enjoyed it. Just as Fort York 2 had its 38 Years Old suprise, this setlist included 50 Mission Cap! As the song played on, Gord walked along the feed back speakers at the front of the stage like he was balancing on a log placed precariously between two nearby cliffs. He “fell off” then began using his speaker like a Stair Master machine. He was pumping his arms and legs in a running motion while going up and down on the speaker. His antics had Gord S. and Robbie laughing between each other as they played different songs.

The best songs of the night for me were numbers 12-15 in the 17 song main set. These included “In View, Don’t Wake Daddy, Wheat Kings and Poets”. Gord broke out my favorite peacock imitation during Poets. I almost forgot to mention the very unusual camera angle used for the two big video screen feeds. It was directly above the band members head’s looking down. It provided great views of the finger work of Paul, Gord S. and Robbie as they played their guitars. Robbie’s guitar playing was magical. His guitar riffs were bluesy, crisp and hard. The last thing I want to mention was Gord’s almost full display of his acting/pantomime repertoire. During the jam just before the rant in 100th Meridian, Gord began crazy dancing and kicking his mikestand back and forth as he does so skillfully while reeling the mike back in with the cord. Next he jumped on his motorcycle straddling the mikestand. He put his full weight on the mikestand as he gunned the throttle and burned rubber down the road. Great camera views on the video feed, including the overhead I mentioned. Gord threw the mikestand down and it was bent in a moderate “U” shape. Gord squated down like a weight lifter and placed the bent bar on his shoulders and it appeared to be groaning from to much weight on each end. He pressed it to the top and let the feet of the mikestand slide down his shoulders until it landed on the stage in a somewhat upright manner. The bend was unmistakable. Gord used only his arms and hands to muscle the mikestand into a near straight position again. Now Gord used the mikestand to stir the giant cauldron of witch’s brew in front of him. Lastly he paddled up and down the stage with his mikestand/paddle and canoe before launching into the ending rant. Entertaining to say the least!

Good to see Chris, Jamie, Mark and all my pals from the Hipbase. As Chris mentioned there were numerous recording rigs. The crowd was intense in front of Gord and he asked them to tone it down a couple of times. There was a little minor pushing and shoving in the VIP section I was in on Robbie’s side, but not enough to ruin anything. Like everyone else, all I can do is wait for the album to drop and wonder what the touring schedule will be like.