TORONTO – Narrowing the Tragically Hip’s extensive career of classics down to a short list of essentials is an impossible task for many fans — and it couldn’t have been easy for the band for its much-anticipated “Man Machine Poem” tour.
The Hip has charged through a varied selection of songs over the course of 14 shows and in the process, a list emerged of favoured albums and tracks.
Here’s a look at which ones were embraced and overlooked in the lead up to the final stop in Kingston, Ont., on Saturday, according to website Setlist.fm:
Most played classic singles: “Ahead By a Century,” “Bobcaygeon,” “Grace, Too” and “Poets.”
All four songs are staples of Canadian music culture, so it’s no surprise they repeatedly showed up on the tour. Each one has been played a stunning 12 times over the past four weeks as the band pushed across Canada.
The band announced the tour back in May, one day after lead singer Gord Downie revealed he has terminal brain cancer.
Overlooked fan favourites: “Locked in the Trunk of a Car,” “My Music at Work” and “Nautical Disaster.”
Considering that even casual Hip fans can probably sing the lyrics to these hit singles, it’s surprising each was barely played. “Nautical Disaster,” which the band played on Saturday Night Live back in 1995 along with “Grace, Too,” made the set list just three times. “Locked in the Trunk of a Car” and “My Music at Work” were played only twice. All three songs were also voted onto the band’s 2005 greatest hits compilation “Yer Favourites,” a selection of outstanding tracks chosen in a poll on the band’s website.
Most played album: “Man Machine Poem.”
It’s hardly a shock the Hip’s latest album got the most attention on the tour. Top picks from the album were the single “In a World Possessed by the Human Mind,” “Machine” and “What Blue,” played a leading 14 times each.
Least played album: “We Are the Same.”
Considered by critics to be one of the Hip’s lesser efforts, both artistically and commercially, this album was almost completely ignored. “We Are the Same” only turned up at the band’s Edmonton show where they played four tracks — “Coffee Girl,” “The Last Recluse,” “Morning Moon” and “Now the Struggle Has a Name.”
Only unplayed album: “The Tragically Hip” EP.
Wrapping up the tour in their hometown is a clear sign the Hip hasn’t forgotten their roots, but perhaps there are a few songs they’d rather let pass. Apparently many of them are on their eight-track debut EP. While a couple of tracks from the 1987 release are considered fan favourites, none of them have been played this tour.
Global News will be reporting live from Kingston for Saturday night’s concert.