REVIEW: The Province on Pemberton

The Province

The Hip are the highlight

Sure, Coldplay is playing at Pemberton. But the festival’s peak for many was Saturday night’s set by the Tragically Hip.

The beloved act has played its share of mega shows and really knows how to take the energy to the next level from the opening notes.

Much of this appeal comes from the fact that the Kingston band provided the soundtrack to so many Canucks’ first kisses, drunks, road trips and grad weekends. And the rest can be credited to the bizarre, yet effective, antics of lead singer Gord Downie.

He was in awesome form; executing some leaps that came straight out of the Simpsons, traversing the stage like the chief of staff at the Ministry of Silly Walks and so forth. All the while with that distinct voice laying down those stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

The audience was by far the largest for any band so far — even the Bacardi B-Live tent had probably emptied. Because everyone just had to be there to sing along to “Courage,” “Music at Work” and many more.

It was a sweaty, hit-laden concert by the band that everyone at Pemberton had come to see; even if they didn’t know it at the time.

Live Nation’s Shane Bourbonnais had said he felt that the Hip had to be at the Pemberton Festival. It surely seemed to be a match made in music.

Perhaps the band should come next year and do one of its albums from beginning to end. Such gigs are the rage at major festivals everywhere now. Fans who bought early-bird tickets could vote on which album it would be.

Honestly, the only losers in this was Vancouver’s Black Mountain, which had to start when the Hip was chugging full steam on “Poets.”