Seeing my first show at the Artpark, I expected nothing less than a great Canada Day performance from The Hip. Thankfully again, I got what I expected. Avid fans from the Toronto/Hamilton/Buffalo area were whipped into a frenzy by Gord Downie and his band mates. From the start the boys were right on, playing many Hip favorites in a set list punctuated with songs from their latest release, World Container.
Near the beginning of the show Gord D. noted that we were in the Niagara Falls region. He then made a prophetic statement. Gord said, “Accidents causing injury or death are usually the result of showing off”. After saying that, the band launched into Daredevil. Downie was full of energy, (as he usually is), dancing and acting out. He raged back and forth across the stage belting out his lyrics while Robbie Baker and Paul Langois reproduced that wonderfully layered dual guitar sound. Johnny Fay played loud and hard on his stripped down Yamaha drum set as Gord S. plucked his bass, moving and dancing in his own unique style.
Some highlights of the show included Gord D. hiding behind his playback monitor as if he were in a fox hole in a war zone. He would grab an imaginary grenade, pull the pin with his teeth and toss it into the crowd. Then Gord would duck down behind his monitor as it exploded. During Locked in the Trunck of a Car, G.D. was dancing and jumping about. At one point Gord lept into the air using his mikestand as a pole vault. He fell to the ground as the mikestand snapped in half. He gave his mangled mikestand to a mom sitting right next to me who was with her 14 y.o. son attending his first Hip show. As the final song of the main set began to play, Billy Ray brought Gord another mikestand. Gord quickly dismantled it and gave another fan an unusual souvenier. Keeping the top half of the stand, Gord marched back and forth twriling it like a baton in his right hand. Now Gord was a “drum major” leading the marching band in a parade.
As the last song began to end, Gord prepared to “hang” himself with the cord from his mike. Wrapping it around his neck, he stood on his tippy-toes waving goodbye to everyone. The song ended and Gord collapsed to the stage, his dirty deed complete. After a three song encore, we were sent home happy and exhausted as Gord thanked everyone for celebrating Canada Day with The Hip.