Hugh’s Review: 2006-10-23 – Toronto, ON

The Phoenix Theatre was filled with excited Hip fans anticipating the 9 pm start of a nearly two hour rock show. The temperature was quickly rising along with “The Hip” chants, as our boys from Kingston took to the stage to play every song from their new album. The new tracks were intertwined with many long time favorites. Fans old and new, were singing along to many of the new tracks, but the seldom played Pigeon Camera and Titanic Terrarium were the suprises of the night.

The show started with Family Band and went into the classic Courage. Gord battered his mikestand back and forth throughout the song, finally sending it crashing to the floor. He then walked over to the dislodged mike, grabbed it between his feet and used a common soccer move to kick the mike backwards over his shoulder and into his hand. A few songs later Gord asked the crowd if anyone remembered Gus as he roamed from side to side on the stage like an angry polar bear, just before the song began. This was followed by Poets and an animated Downie who strutted back and forth like a rooster/peacock, fluttering his red handkerchief behind him like a tail. Gord ended the song by holding the base of his mikestand to his crotch and extended it like a giant penis out over the crowd. The fans responded by screaming wildly at him.

The Hip are always a hard working band, but I noticed that each band member’s shirt was as sweat-soaked as Gord Downie’s this night. The 100th Meridian was awesome as Gord danced wildly next to Robbie as he ripped through his solo for that song. I was impressed by Johnny Fay’s drumming all night, but he was more than exceptional on Titanic Terrarium. Johnny brought the song to a loud cresendo and back to a quiet beat with his drumming. He was switching back and forth between his regular drumsticks and his padded toms. In fact, the song ended with him using one of each.

The Hip played a 20 song main set, then returned for a two song encore which ended with Fire in the Hole. Gord D. is always very entertaining to watch because of his on stage antics and the emotion he puts into the delivery of his lyrics. During the last song, he did something I have never seen him do before. We are all familiar with his mikestand battles and how he deftly kicks it back and forth. Last night he “stickhandled” the mikestand using only his feet. The mikestand was just like a hockey stick as he manuvered it from side to side, never losing control for over a minute, never touching it with his hands!

Overall this was a great show. I really enjoyed how all the World Container tracks sounded great live. It seemed as if the band really enjoyed playing them. It was also good to see all the fans singing along to all the new songs less than one week after the new release.