092394 The Tragically Hip’s Day for Night Album Release Party, Kingston, ON

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By hook or by crook I had obtained an invitation to The Tragically Hip’s private friends-and-family-only CD release party for their fourth (and arguably best) full length studio album, Day For Night. 

It was being held on September 23rd, 1994 in a licensed pool hall in downtown Kingston and I had no idea what to expect, having never attended an actual band-sponsored private event before.  Would there be a performance?  Maybe a mini acoustic set?  Would the band be handing out signed albums?  Would there be dancing walruses?

In actuality it was about eighty friends and family milling about sipping drinks and socializing.  Duh.  The band was there milling about as well, and no wonder, they were among friends (and family).  I found a couch in the corner and nursed a drink or two with my two friends, looking all the world like three out-of-place neo-hippies sipping drinks in the corner.  I remember seeing Gord Downie talking to some people by the pool tables and leaning in really close…clearly they were good friends.  We did speak with Bobby Baker for a time (my buddy’s parents are friends with Bobby’s parents) and I really enjoyed listening to Day For Night for the first time looping through the in-house system, and overall it was a pleasant experience.

Clearly there was no performance or aquatic dance forthcoming so the three of us made it an early night.  I heard Grace, Too come up at least three times so we must have stayed for a couple of hours or more.  On our way out into the slick, reflective evening we were each handed zero free copies of the new album.

I did of course run out and buy the CD as soon as it hit the stores, and to this day it’s my favourite recording by The Tragically Hip.  I’m sure that has nothing to do with having attended this event; it’s just a great, great album and I think the rest of Canada generally agrees with me.

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