In keeping with The Tragically Hip tradition, the band ushered in the new year with a concert at the Chicago HOB. TV cameras were mounted everywhere, with one camera on a large boom which swung out over the fans, to tape the performance for a live local broadcast. The Hip ripped through their first five songs as midnight approached. Gord D. was in fine form as the 100th Meridian began. He was singing and dancing around the stage using his red handkerchief as a tail. This must have been planned, but as the song reached the rant, the three TV broadcast hosts burst on stage to announce that midnight was upon us, stopping the song. The Hip appeared surprised/annoyed as they set down their instuments for the balloon drop and countdown. Hugs and handshakes were given as Gord sang Auld Lang Syne. After a few minutes the stage was cleared of balloons and TV hosts. Gord then launched back into the 100th Meridian rant as the band joined in along with him.
Near the middle of their set, The Hip kicked out some great energy with some of my favorite rockers. They played Kids Don’t Get It, followed by Grace Too and Yer Not the Ocean. At the end of Grace Too, Gord did a little James Brown tribute by dancing about wildy using some James Brown moves while screaming his name. Robbie Baker was awesome using his finger slide during his guitar lead on Blow at High Dough. He played on as Gord rode his motorcycle mikestand to finish out the song. I don’t know how good the CBS2 broadcast will be. I could see a playback monitor at the side of the stage from my front row spot. Many songs were not shown in their entirety as the broadcast cut to the TV hosts or went to commercial. Also, The Hip played about a half hour past the end of the broadcast. The Hip played close to an hour and forty-five minute set.
After the show my friend and fellow Hipbaser John Cage (Chris W) was able to get us into the HOB Foundation room which is a private bar for members only. We stayed for an hour and we were able to meet Paul, Gord Sinclair and Gord Downie. Gord S. said he had difficutly getting to Chicago because of a snowstorm in Kingston. We said hello to Paul and we were able to speak with Gord D. for about ten minutes. I have met him after shows before and he has been tired or subdued after his performance, but this night he was full of energy. Even though our conversation lasted for only a few minutes, we touched on many subjects. We talked about some of the lyrics on World Container and Carolyn and I told Gord we loved his “WHOA” ‘s on Kids Don’t Get It. He said they’re harder to do than it may appear. He said you can’t just throw one out there. You must put the right amount of emotional energy into it. We mentioned we noticed Gord’s James Brown tribute and he said blues and rock were definetly influenced by Brown. Somehow we were discussing our ethnic heritage and Gord spoke about remembering our connections to Europe and how we are all bound by our backgrounds and the global economy. Gord also mentioned that the band really enjoyed working with Bob Rock and there was a good chance they would work together in the future. We tried to get some info on U.S. tour dates, but nothing to report. In the end we had a great evening watching the show with all of our Hipbase friends gathered near the front of the stage. Nothing can beat being with friends and watching The Hip ring in the new year.