Anyone who was not on the seventh floor of The Manhattan Center on the night of Oct. 23 was in the wrong place. Around 800 people were lucky enough to experience a Canadian rock invasion upon the United States led by The Tragically Hip and Joel Plaskett Emergency. These two bands put on an unforgettable show.
Joel Plaskett warmed up the thin crowd of mostly Canadian expatriates (although there were fans from as far away as Florida and South Carolina) with some solid tunes from their new CD, Ashtray Rock, such as “Snowed In” and “Face of the Earth.” Although most of the crowd hadn’t heard of the opening act before that night, the band really got the crowd going as more and more Hip fans filtered in. That’s one of the great things about the Hip; they always pick great opening acts.
The anticipation could be felt and heard in between sets as the fans chanted, “HIP! HIP! HIP!” When the band finally walked on stage, the (now quite large) crowd erupted. Gord Downie, the frontman, gave the crowd a wave and wasted no time getting into the music. They opened with a single from their 10th full-length album, World Container, released in October 2006 entitled “The Lonely End of the Rink.”
Although the rest of the band provides most of the music, Gord Downie is the face of the Hip. Some call him crazy. Some call him a god. Some both, but one thing is for sure: He puts on an amazing show with his singing, goofy dance moves, and interaction with the crowd. Gord’s got the dance moves of Mick Jagger and the spontaneity of Ozzy Ozbourne. He frequently leans over to interact with the front row of the audience. At one point he pretended the microphone was stuck in the middle of his chest, had an audience member pull it out, and then gave the microphone to him.
The setlist was balanced very well with songs from the new cd and classic hits from their older cds. “Nautical Disaster,” “At The Hundredth Meridian,” and “New Orleans is Sinking,” and several other songs from their first three albums were played. Before Gord Played “New Orleans is Sinking,” he shouted, “This one’s for Bush! New Orleans is sinking and I don’t want to help!”
This show was on the last leg of a tour that started all the way back in October 2006. The band toured in Canada, both coasts of the US, and Europe. In an informal interview after the show, lead guitarist Rob Baker had this to say, “We feel that we have a really strong album and that we should really put it out there. We’re excited to go back home and start recording again, too.”