REVIEW: Vancouver Sun on Pemberton Festival

From The Vancouver Sun.

There are few things more quintessentially Canadian than the cryptic rock sounds of the Tragically Hip mixed with the smell of sweat and beer in the air, and a remote outdoor setting.

By the time the Canadian rock icons took to the main stage Saturday around 6 p.m., it looked as though nearly all of the 40,000 people on the festival grounds had crawled out of their tents, shaken off the effects of the night before and were ready to get back at it. The Hip may well have attracted the biggest crowd so far at this event.

Frontman Gord Downie was drenched in sweat by the third tune, as the sun re-emerged from behind the clouds and people stripped off their jackets and sweatshirts.The Kingston boys were clearly out to make the most of their 60 minutes on stage, playing a series of crowd favourites from their older albums, with a minimal selection from the newer World Container.

Among the crowd-pleasers were Grace Too, Ahead by a Century, and the rousing Hip classic, Courage — which had people crowd surfing and fist-pumping with frenzied energy.

Downie was up to his usual theatrics, acting like a monkey and putting a white handkerchief over his eyes as he pretended to drive blind (please don’t ask me what that’s all about).

Even if it was confounding, it was intriguing to watch and a joy to listen to.

There’s no denying the Hip’s songs have become a staple soundtrack for Canadian summer nights spent in the great outdoors. Even if you’ve never been a fan, chances are someone in the next cabin or campground has been blaring the Hip’s guitar rock late into the night.
© Vancouver Sun