Look at this ticket. You’re looking at a lost art right there. Adorned with band-approved art, this ticket is big (6” x 3 1/4”), it’s bold, and it’s beautiful. Easily standing out among the identical Ticketmaster-printed tickets of the day, The Hip can be forgiven for the dot-matrix venue and date info on this pretty little piece of paper. I can’t remember for sure, but I think I lined up at the box office to buy a bunch of these tickets for me and a group of friends for this show. I certainly do recall being thrilled when I saw the oversized artworks of admittance.
That’s exactly what this is: an artwork of admittance. It’s a limited-edition art print that gained me entrance to The Tragically Hip at the Ottawa Civic Centre on February 7th, 1995, and I love it. Can you see why I often find it frustrating when I have to use Print Tickets From Home and go to a concert at a place called the KFC Yum! Center, or the Northwell Health Theater? It just chips away at the experience a little.
Anyway, I flashed my artwork of admittance (notice there is no barcode to scan, no tear in the ticket, no Sharpie mark; just good old Canadian trust) and joined nine friends on the floor for what was probably my third or fourth Tragically Hip concert. They were firmly established as the biggest, best Canadian band going at the time and with good reason, and this Day For Night-heavy show rocked hard.
With a Grace, Too opener to get everybody moving and then to launch into Fully Completely followed by Inevitability Of Death…well, the whole floor was jumping up and down as a single mass as hard as they could. There was also the very chilling Yawning Or Snarling as well as Scared; both poignant if seething numbers delivered with an intensity that rivaled Nine Inch Nails.
Last Of The Unplucked Gems was a memorable highlight, a beautiful song that seems obviously unfinished on the album and one I always hope they’ll finish live. They never do, so it must be finished after all.
Jams, gems, rockers, snarlers, friends, floor tickets; this show had it all. If I didn’t know already I figured out then that I’d be going to see The Tragically Hip every time I had the chance, and I pretty much did.
(No recollection on whether or not our crew caught the Odds or Change of Heart. Odds are we that saw part of one of the opening bands at most but given our penchant for pre-parties back in the day it seems right to say that we saw neither. But you never know.)