Armed with skill and its frustration

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"Get Back Again" by The Tragically Hip

(Live in Halifax, April 6, 1990)

He describes it as a “weepy little tune”. 

"Wheat Kings"

Justin Bieber covering The Tragically Hip, live.

I know he’s Canadian and everything, but could he be more obvious in trying to gain actual musical cred?

The Dark Canuck
The Tragically Hip

“The Dark Canuck” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: In Violet Light, Universal Music Canada 2002)

If you need a good connection for drugs
Or a strong tolerance for alcohol
Too little religious education
Some pain threshold
If from the outside
There’s no demand for what you do
And inside there’s an army waiting
For their marching orders for you
Come sit on my swing-seat
Come sit on my porch
After Ten at night, smoke your cigarettes
if you like, of course

New Orleans Is Sinking
The Tragically Hip

“New Orleans Is Sinking” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: Live Between Us, MCA 1996)

One of the Hip’s iconic songs, it is perhaps the most important song in their canon because of the number of other songs it has spawned - most notably “Nautical Disaster”. It has also provided some of the more interesting moments such as the Killer Whale Tank rant from the Road Apples tour. This version of the song is much the same, with David Bowie’s “China Girl” making a brief appearance in the middle. By some standards, this version is actually quite tame - but then again, those standards are quite high.

Grace, Too
The Tragically Hip

“Grace, Too” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: Live Between Us, MCA 1997)

Because one can never have too many versions of “Grace, Too”.

This one is particularly outstanding because:

  • Gord thanks the opening band, The Rheostatics, at the beginning of the song, stating that “we are all richer for having seen them tonight”. (Not only does Gord thank The Rheostatics, but  he actually begins to sing the lyrics for “Bad Time To Be Poor” later in the show during “Nautical Disaster”.
  • “Jesus Christ… a big fucking bear!”
  • He starts reciting the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
  • “I was raised on tv, like so many of you I see around me”

Grace, Too (2007.2.6 - Hamilton)
The Tragically Hip

“Grace, Too” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: Live From the Vault: Volume 3, Hamilton 02.06.2007)

They say I’m Tragically Hip

Fifty-Mission Cap (1995.2.2 - Halifax)
The Tragically Hip

“Fifty-Mission Cap” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: Live From the Vault: Volume 1, Halifax 02/02/1995)

Gord suggests that “this song is NOT a hockey song” at the beginning of this live performance (unfortunately, because of the way the songs are edited it actually happens on the end of the previous song - but trust me, it’s there). This simple utterance brought to mind Bono’s statement at the beginning of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” on Under a Blood Red Sky - “this song is not a rebel song…”. While it may be argued that Bono was correct and was trying to re-direct people to the actual message of the song (as opposed to trying to start more trouble), “Fifty-Mission Cap” is obviously about hockey, But it is also about more - recognizing responsibility (as a pilot) and enjoying and appreciating life.
However, gord raises another question with his quip - what ARE the similarities between the songs? Why choose THIS song to try to draw the parallel? I think the answer is simple - both songs are essential parts of their respective cultures. Going to Ireland and trying to avoid the years of civil war is every bit as difficult as going to Canada and trying to avoid hockey. But in the end, maybe Gord is just proud that his nation’s identity is linked to something enjoyable.

I looked up and you were there
Just sitting there all alone
Holding your fist in the air
Like, if you need me you’re on your own

You drove me home through a snowy tomb
I fell asleep in my seat
I had the dream of having no room
You were there just staring at me

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
At the lonely end of the rink, you and me

Oh to join the rush
As the season builds

I hear your voice ‘cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, ‘you won’t die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes’

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
At the lonely end of the rink, the lonely end of the rink

Oh to join the rush
as the season builds
Jump into the rush
As the seasons build

You drove me home through a snowy gloom
And I fell asleep in my seat
Then I had the dream of having no room
You were there just staring at me

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me

(Source: Spotify)

If there’s a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ole’ 72 
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger 
And all I remember was sitting beside you 
You said you didn’t give a fuck about hockey 
And I never saw someone say that before 
You held my hand and we walked home the long way 
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr 

(Source: Spotify)

Wheat Kings (2007.2.6 - Hamilton)
The Tragically Hip

“Wheat Kings” by The Tragically Hip
(Words/Music: The Tragically Hip, Album: Live From the Vault: Volume 3, Halifax 02/06/2007)

you can’t be fond of living in the past,
cause if you are then there’s no way that you’re gonna last

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