Tragically Hip – Bobcaygeon

Of course, I love the Hip. LOVE. But I don’t know if this was the movie I would have made. I mean, yes, the in-concert footage is great, the boys played well. But that part was a given, the only sure thing about the whole production.

Big Music Fest is the one that happens down the street from my house, some summers. Every show they actually manage to put on, it seems to go just well enough… but there’s always SOMETHING with it, you know? Something odd, or sketchy or just… something. As soon as I saw it was these guys putting on this show, I thought Here we go. I have to think that this went as well as it did, and their Wiarton attempt years earlier as well, because of the Hip and their team being seasoned, consummate professionals more so than the promoter’s efforts.

And I suppose whomever filmed this thing thought they were doing us a favour by introducing us to the local yokels, adding colour and personality to the thing, right? Well, sure. Give us a little taste of that. But a majority portion of this film was taken up by people just repeating what we all feel: we love the Hip, we all have a story about a where or a when with this band. So, what else do you have to say? I dunno, I’d have left most of that out. Or maybe interview more than the very small number of people they did, ya know? There were 25,000 in town for the gig? And you could only find that few to interview? Lazy. Whatever, it was still too many yapping people, not enough Hip.

Oh well, can’t please everybody, like the girl whose wedding day had the show’s noise in the background. Or that bar owner at the town meeting… I wonder if he knew he was being filmed, because his ‘argument’ ended up looking pretty unfocussed. Even the band, on the bus after the show, probably forgetting the cameras at that point, complaining about the showers in their hotel. Really?

And finally, I didn’t get the ‘sense of occasion’ I expected when they finally played Bobcaygeon, the song. Just another song in the set, it seemed. It was the whole reason for the movie, the big money-shot and… well, they played it and that was that. It was all very anti-climatic, felt cold.

Also, I totally would have left that song for the encore. Playing it last of the set was cool, but then coming out and playing 50 Mission Cap for the encore? Wrong song to have in peoples’ heads as they’re walking out of that field, boys. It’s so simple. Play Bobcaygeon last. It’s why people were there, really. Make them wait for it, then let them float home on it. Or, don’t do the encore at all. Just end the full set with that song. Either way, they totally missed the boat on that one.

Ach, but nobody ever asks me these things.

I wouldn’t rate this film very high (if I had a rating system), and all the points it did get would come from the pleasure of the live footage. I’m glad to have seen it, but for all the work that went into it, the film’s final product felt lacking.

*UPDATE on 2013-02-10: Thanks to Jeff, in the comments (below this post), we now have a bit more perspective on the show. Sadly, what we’ve learned only makes what we felt about the DVD that much stronger. For those who are into it, check out the actual setlist of the show HERE.

7 thoughts on “Tragically Hip – Bobcaygeon

  1. Jeff says:

    You’re 100% right. I can’t believe the band didn’t play up the song more than they did. It felt like they were playing it and ‘just another show’ which seemed like the way they treated the whole show given the pre- and post-show footage.

    The filmmaker even played some tricks with the footage shown. There were actually two songs played AFTER Bobcaygeon in the main set and 50 Mission Cap was the 2nd of 5 songs in the encore.

    I think the anti-climatic feel of the song/show ultimately falls on the shoulders of the band. They could have put that crowd over the top if they approached the song the whole experience was focused around from a different, more significant angle.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks for your input, Jeff! I hadn’t looked up the set-list for the show, so I didn’t know there were other songs AFTER the big one everyone wanted. That makes it even worse! Doesn’t change how the band handled it, either.

      Were you there? If you were, what was the feel in the crowd? A typical Hip-show crowd? Or was there a sense of special anticipation in the air given the location/song? If not, we’re left to imagine what it was like, and (whatever it was) I don’t feel this movie captured it.

      Yes, some of this falls to the band, but also I stand by my opinion if that Big Music Fest guy is involved at all, there’ll be SOMETHING off about it. I don’t know him, I have never attended one of his events, so right there I’m no expert and just talking, here. But I know plenty of people who have attended events under his banner, and I’ve read the newspaper articles from the local shows here, and there’s just always something wonky, ya know?

      Anyway, it’s an interesting keepsake, but I don’t count it as definitive for that concert at all, and I wasn’t even there.


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