Even Bruce Allen would have loved the Tragically Hip at the Commodore

T-Hip-live-reduced

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 18, 1991

By Steve Newton

The first time I heard Bruce Allen’s late-night talk show on CFOX, I heard the Big A comment: “Colin James for five nights at the Commodore? Why?” Was Allen jealous because Loverboy might never have had enough over-19 fans to accomplish the feat? Did he fear that James might overshadow his own superstar, Bryan Adams?

Was he just looking for an argument?

Most likely the latter was true. And the fiesty manager may well have asked the same question about the Tragically Hip before their current five-show sell-out, which carries on until Saturday (July 20), at the venerable Granville Street venue. But on both counts I’ve got an equally clever answer for the famed music mogul: Why not?

“It’s a wonderful pleasure to be here at the Commodore—finally,” announced singer Gordon Downie, whose band has played 86 Street, the Town Pump, and even the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre during previous Vancouver visits.

The Cockeresque frontman kept the crowd entranced with his spazoid bird impressions while the Hip’s rough ’n’ tumble guitar/bass/drum noise built to a crescendo.

By the time the band had ripped through “Little Bones”, “New Orleans is Sinking”, and “Blow at High Dough”, the dynamic magic of Kingston, Ontario’s favourite sons was beyond argument.

I doubt if even Bruce Allen would have questioned their worth.

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