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September 04, 2005


Stephen Downes

I was at the show as well, and the review is generally accurate, though a little harsher and more cynical than I would have been.

Les Trois Accords, yes, spoke in French. Given that every other band spoke in English, it was the elast they could do. They played OK, though I got the impression they were a little overwhelmed by the size of the crowd (which would have been about 50,000 when they played - the eventual size of 80K was reached only for the Tragixcally Hip).

I lost track of who was who, and I don't really know the next three bands (I've heard of them, well, two of them, but I don't know their music). So they were fresh to me.

I thought Our Lady Peace were pretty good (I thought at the time they were some other unknown warm-up band, so they actually exceeded my expectations). Sure, the banter was lightweight, but the song 'Wipe That Smirk Off Your Face' itself was pretty good. When they finished I was left with the feeling that it would be worth buying one of their CDs - except I don't buy CDs any more because of DRM and lawsuits (maybe I'll scout out some MP3s).

Maroon 5 - who I have never even heard of before the show - was OK (Andrea liked them better than Our Lady Peace) but didn't really appeal to me. They also seemed out of their league at a show like this.

The Tragically Hip is one of those bands I've heard of but who's radio presence always seemed to be more pretension than substance. And I was pretty sure they wouldn't play the one song of their that I actually know (and they didn't, it being a bad time to refer to new Orleans).

Still. This was the first time I've seen Gord Downie perform and I was suitably impressed. You say it gets better? When Downie gets into one of his rants (yeah, they can only be called rants) there's an edge to his voice that reaches out and grab you. Where has all this music been all this time (as compared to the Tragically Hip pap they played on the radio)? Some throwaway tunes I recognized, but by far and away the best stuff was material that has probably never seen the sunny side of an AM dial (maybe it has, what would I know?).

Anyhow, my view on the Tragically Hip has changed, from 'pretentious Toronto media darlings' to 'band you have to get to know to appreciate'. I guess by any band's standards, that marks a successful show

The Stones were, well, the Stones. Probably their best bits were 'Sympathy for the Devil' and a dark rendition of 'Paint it Black'. I also gained a new appreciation for 'can't Always get What You Want', which seems re-engineeded be as relevant to today's protest movement as to the 60s movement to which it was originally addressed. I also really appreciated 'In the Nighttime', which could probably get good airplay if released now. Their newer songs were uninspired, but nonetheless left me with the impression that there is always the possibility of another 'Some Girls' in the band.

Yes, they played everything, they played a long show, and they put in a whole-hearted performance - you don't get the feeling that this is a band that is resting on its laurals. The music was very tight, the vocals crisp and clear and (which judicious help from the back-up singers) on key. There were pyrotechnics, but not a lot; the focus was tightly on the band and the music.

I watched the show from near light pillar twelve, which is about amile away from the stage. Consequently, the musicians themselves were about an eighth of an inch tall. But the screens were crisp and sharp, and except for an annoying lag (screen programmers should calculate for the speed of sound at such distances) were everything I could have wanted. Even at such distances the show was vivid and colourful and real-life.

The site was under-serviced for 80,000 people - if you tried to get food any time after 5:00 or so, you were in for more than an hour wait (when I got food at around 2:00 the service was brisk). Waits for the porta-potties were similarly bad, which meant you had to plan ahead (still, there was enough time for relief between The Hip and the Stones). The crowd was massive, but good natured and friendly.

The bus service was a nightmare, and after the show I learned that it takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to walk the 10.6 kilometers from the concert site at Magnetic Hill to my home near downtown Moncton.

Would I do it again? Yes.

Also posted at - I borrowed your photo while mine develop (I wasn't up to smuggling in my digital camera) - let me know if that's a problem, please.

alexander o'neill

OK, I edited the post to fix the mangled result of Blogger's spellcheck. (does typepad have spellcheck? I didn't even see a button for it..)

alexander o'neill

Cynical? Moi?


Stephen, you're welcome to use the photos. They're on flicr under a 'Creative Commons Attribution Licence', so as long as my name and a linkback to the Flickr source page accompanies the photo feel free to go nuts :)

And yeah, the Hip live are definitely an experience that hearing their singles only hints at.


I was there.
Thought Our Lady Peace rocked, but that is me. I'm listening to them now as a matter of fact.

The Hip--Love em. Third time seeing them in concert. They were good, but they are better at a smaller venue. I seen them in SJ in December and they blew me away.


I'm from fredericton, me and a bunch of friends travelled down for the concert. Stayed at one of the make shift campgrounds, that was super fun.
When i got to the concert trois Accord was still on stage. Likely i was still alittle drunk from a morning of drinking at the camp. I thought they were good, actually enjoyed them more than Maroon 5.
I thought Our Lady Peace did a great job. I'm not even a fan of their music but i thought they did a better job than Tragically hip (nothing against hip, i love em). Alot of people i talked to that were farther back said they couldn't understand anything the Hip were saying.
My friends and I used Maroon 5's set to go buy (highly over priced) t-shirts. Their guitarist had a good solo/tune up when they first came out, but that was pretty much all i enjoyed about them... besides the jokes we made about them.
By the time Tragically Hip came on we had pushed our way back up near the front. they played a good set. but like i said i thought OLP was alittle better, or atleast just as good. after the hip we had the pleasure of watching several kids past out and have to be hauled out, but it was ok, just made room for us to get closer.
Stones were amazing, played almost all the songs i wanted to hear. Loved, "Can't always get what you want", "Brown sugar", "sympathy for the devil", "tough justice" (side note: new cd is great). the ray tribute caught me totally off gaurd, i'm a huge ray fan. when the stage moved out to the center. we were very close. right before honky tonk women, ronnie stopped playing and threw his guitar pick at some lady on her husbands shoulders... it missed and hit me i snatched it up.
They proved that they could still rock out, and had tons of energy. I was very impressed. my only beef was they didn't play wild horses, we all thought they would finish with that. but still a great show. my friends and i have seen some big bands play. but this was by far the best show!

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