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The Tragically Hip – Up to Here (1989)

July 24, 2016


When I was young enough to know everything, I despised the song Boots or Hearts.


Country? Hip? To borrow the opening line from the despised song, “Well I think that there’s a problem here!”

Come on guys, I only have the Up to Here cassette, I have to fast forward the side B opener in an attempt to skip it…and fast forward to 2016, it’s now my favourite Up to Here track of course.

Not to mention the finest side B opener in The Hip catalogue.

Also a lovely choice for the opener at the tour-opening Victoria concert on Friday night.


If you’re a cover band in Canada, you play The Hip.

Or you’re simply not a cover band in Canada.

Up to Here features a few staples to have in the rotation:

New Orleans is Sinking, preferably with a paraphrased Killer Whale Tank rant

38 Years Old, to demonstrate some acoustic versatility

Blow at High Dough, ideally changing the “Elvis” name-check to something topical/another celebrity/someone in the audience. Like these young lads did in this remarkably Hi-def clip from 2002, sometime between hating & loving Boots or Hearts:


“He was a coal miner in the spring…”
– TTH, Another Midnight

When I think about it, no other quote has had a bigger impact on my teaching career.

As a grade 12 student, I was in an American History class one morning, singing that line to myself, likely over and over again. Not unlike that scene in Tommy Boy, where Chris Farley & David Spade keep up with Michael Stipe for “6 O’ Clock TV hour” and then trail off dramatically.

Perhaps on my 3rd rendition or so (I really should have learned the next line), our Teacher Candidate, Mrs. Hall, turned to me and said, “A little Tragically Hip this morning?”

I was flabbergasted.

This was in ‘98/’99, she did not have convenient access to a search engine (Netscape Navigator?) to look up what lyrics I was singing.

She was however able to identify this obscure album track based solely on my wandering, incomplete-at-best mumbling. She wisely avoided the perils of trying to appear cool; she merely played an impromptu game of name that tune, hit it out of the park, and moved on with life.

That’s how it’s done.

Needless to say, Mrs. Hall had my undivided attention and enthusiastic participation for the remainder of the course.

Almost two decades later, when the 11 tracks on Up To Here were playing this week, my attention was equally undivided, my sing-a-long participation equally enthusiastic.

As a personal bonus, I’ve also finally memorized the follow-up Another Midnight line to mumble:

“He was a coal miner in the spring…blinded with its dusty resolutions”


hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I play: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I play: Road Apples (1991)

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I play: Fully Completely (1992)

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I play: Day for Night (1994)

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I play: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I play: Live Between Us (1997)

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I play: Phantom Power (1998)

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I play: Music at Work (2000)

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Violet Light (2002)

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: World Container (2006)

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I play: We are the Same (2009)

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2011)

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I play: Man Machine Poem (2016)


From → Uncategorized

  1. Wonderful! I love this album!

  2. Slick Post Young Fella….This whole album is simply Gold! Like I said yesterday this is a real cool idea that your reviewing these albums as the tour rolls!
    I know everyone is saying this is the last HIP tour but have the Hip actually said anything about it?
    By the way who’s the hot shot on the 6 string in the clip?
    Great read dude!

    • Cheers Deke!
      I don’t think they’ve formally said it was a finale tour (and I’m definitely not saying it is).
      I think should be a celebration of almost 3 decades of awesomeness – and what awesomeness it is!
      Haha, I assume you mean the one in the backwards hat, he really is a terrific six string player!

  3. Yup, this albums owns. So many memories, so many associations to times and places.

    So many great lines from this band can get stuck in your head, it’s true. Good on Mrs. Hall for nailing it first try!

    Nice one, Geoff! I just know I’m gonna love this series.

    Also, you can get the CD for $5 at all your finest shoppes. 🙂

    • Many thanks Aaron!
      So many great lines for sure – I always loved the “I’ll believe/be leaving you” wordplay, and the “20 miles before the crash” is a nice motivating line to have in your head on a long run!

      • Man, Gordie has come up with SO many classic lines. Tied to their incredible music, they’re sure to be stuck in your head all day.

        “all the drinks are on the Crown, it’s just a matter of a Trickle Down…”

  4. Tommy Boy and The Hip. Sweeeet.

    I had a teacher moment with Gordon Lightfoot when our grade school teacher played Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. She quicklu became my favourite teacher after that. Cool how music can link young and old alike.

    Can I get the first pair of tickets to your reunion concert?

    • It’s such a great way to connect, absolutely Brian.
      I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble getting reunion tour tickets, we’ll try to set up a gig at the 401 Kitchener On Route!

  5. Great post, Geoff. Got this lined up for a little later (or tomorrow). I don’t have any teacher moments like that, but my English teacher did turn me on to Nick Cave and Tom Waits – a C90 tape with selections from Murder Ballads and Rain Dogs on each side!

    • Now that’s a fine English teacher J!
      I have to give credit to some of my students & former students for keeping me informed, they’ll bring in LPs & say, Mr. Stephen, you’ve got to hear this. THe future is bright!

      • He was the best, Geoff! A really encouraging chap …

  6. I wrongly assumed (you know what happens when you assume) that you went to high school in Kingston, and that is why your teacher would have known the Hip lyrics. That makes it even more impressive. Although, their lyrics are so full of history, Canadiana, and English Lit that I can see how a young teacher would gravitate towards them. Perhaps even use them as part of lessons. She definitely owned that incident.

    • I aspire to one day impress a student in the same way!
      As for assuming, I believe on Fresh Prince, the basketball coach said “when you make an assumption, you are an ass, and the ump will tion you!”

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Tragically Hip – Road Apples (1991) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. The Tragically Hip – Fully Completely (1992) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. The Tragically Hip – Day for Night (1994) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. The Tragically Hip – Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. The Tragically Hip – Live Between Us (1997) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. The Tragically Hip – Phantom Power (1998) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. The Tragically Hip – Music @ Work (2000) | 1001albumsin10years
  8. The Tragically Hip – In Violet Light (2002) | 1001albumsin10years
  9. The Tragically Hip – In Between Evolution (2004) | 1001albumsin10years
  10. The Tragically Hip – World Container (2006) | 1001albumsin10years
  11. The Tragically Hip – We are the Same (2009) | 1001albumsin10years
  12. The Tragically Hip – Now for Plan A (2012) | 1001albumsin10years
  13. The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem (2016) | 1001albumsin10years
  14. Top 5 “I’m Grateful For…” | 1001albumsin10years

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