By Steve Newton
Can’t think of anything else to blog about right now, so I’ll do this:
On July 12, 1995, the Tragically Hip played a food-bank benefit at the Railway Club in Vancouver.
Yesterday, to mark the 25th anniversary of that gig, I tweeted out a link to the short review of the gig I’d written for the Georgia Straight.
It wasn’t much of a review, I’ll admit, more just a mention that the last-minute charity show took place, and a few observations. (I was already assigned to write a full-blown review of the band’s Another Roadside Attraction festival at Thunderbird Stadium the following day.)
I’d gotten put on the tight guest-list for the Railway Club show by the band itself because they’d liked what I’d written about them previously, in interviews with Gord Downie (known then as Gordon) and Rob Baker (aka Bobby Baker). And I’d raved about the band while reviewing shows at the Commodore Ballroom and Seabird Island. According to then-manager Jake Gold, I was their “man in Van”. I remember him actually saying that to me outside the Railway that night.
And to be sure I was a huge Hip fan at that time. I’d adored all four of their previous albums–Up to Here, Road Apples, Fully Completely, and Day for Night–and knew they were a killer live act.
But in my opinion the Railway Club show wasn’t the Hip’s finest moment. I enjoyed the show, but for whatever reason, they were sloppier and more out of sync than usual. I mentioned that in the original review a quarter-century ago, but apparently Tragically Hip rhythm guitarist Paul Langlois only noticed it now.
He tweeted this reply to my tweet:
And you said, about us, “The six-song set was messy and full of mistakes..but there were no reports of irate fans demanding refunds”. I think you’ve got the wrong band bud. Never played a messy set full of mistakes in our whole career. Upon further consideration, you owe us $10.
Now, my goal in tweeting that ancient review was not to tick off anyone in the band, it was just to remind them of a particular moment in their stellar career. But it didn’t take long for the hardcore Hip fans to start piling on.
“Hahaha…you tell him Paul” replied @RORO_009.
“Exactly. Obviously has never really seen @thehipdotcom,” posited @smilenwaven.
“I hope you get your 10 bucks back, Paul,” quipped @Alli7on.
“Plus interest,” added @MacmanFR.
Then there were the obligatory “BURN!” GIFs affectionately sent from @hitintotherift and @ThreeStarPet.
Heck, even the Hip’s old manager @Jake0458 got his licks in, simply tweeting “Yep”.
There were also a couple of nastier putdowns tweeted my way, but you know what? It was all worth it, if only that it gave me something light and fluffy to blog about on this COVID-crazy Monday night.
And if you ever happen to read this, Mr. Paul Langlois, no hard feelings. I realize you’re a solid rhythm player. And thanks especially for those cool riffs on “Looking for a Place to Happen”.
But you ain’t gettin’ that $10.