It’s all about timing. A few months ago (early September) the ladies in my house asked me what I wanted for my Birthday and no sooner that question was asked than Canada’s very own The Tragically Hip were reissuing on both CD and Vinyl a huge set commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the iconic “Road Apples” album.
Umm, I would like one gift and one gift only Ladies and thats this box set!
Once I was given the green light by them it was off to The Hips web store and I preordered it straight from them as they had a limited offer of charging only $10 for shipping!
So this past Monday (Nov. 15th) I was notified that this set was on route to my house.
Just three days later on Thursday the 18th here it was in my hands.
“Road Apples” for myself is an iconic album and it’s easily to say in my all time Top 20 if we were keeping score.
For those unfamiliar with the album. It’s as if the five members of The Hip just plugged in and blasted out an ass kicker of a record live in the studio.
Included is a Blu-ray DVD with all remixes in 5.1 and 7.1 but really the selling the point is the vinyl especially the double “Live At The Roxy” (more on that in bit).
Included is the original “Road Apples” studio release along with the recently released “Saskadelphia” which features five studio tracks from the “Road Apple” sessions (plus a sixth track “Montreal” recorded live back in 2000).
“Hoof- Hearted” is a collection of outtakes and rarities from 1990/91. Included is an actual poster promoting the album as well as a killer 36 page booklet which zeros in on just this time frame of the band.
The booklet is awesome as it has a ton of pics from recording at Danial Lanois Kingsway Studio in New Orleans plus a breakdown of each song and even pictures of Good Downies hand written lyrics.
I must also mention the impact that producer Don Smith and Bruce Barris had shaping and teaching the tools of the trade when it came to recording in the studio. Each member of the band talks about the impact that Smith and Barris had on them at that time and still to this day.
“Live At The Roxy” recorded back in May 91 is the selling feature for me as it’s the The Hip in their element which is the live stage.
“Live At The Roxy” has been heavily bootlegged throughout the years as I had some tracks but not the full show so how psyched was I to finally hear the full show from Kingstons finest.
Look at that setlist below…
Gord and The Hipsters were on fire that night in Los Angeles as they rip n roar through a 15 song set. Up until this Roxy show was included I thought the best live Hip I had ever heard was the bonus live show (included on “Fully Completely”) from Toronto (recorded in the fall of 1992 at the Horseshoe) but that all changed once the needle hit the turntable!
Holy Moly…from opener “Little Bones” to the last track “Canadian Surf Club”, these guys are on fire. “On The Verge” has them almost going off the rails of the stage. I don’t think I ever heard them play this quick before…
Gord Downie is well, classic Gord on here. Introducing “Twist My Arm” to the crowd about a “guy delivering a pizza to a crack house” is mint or Gord singing a few lines of Poisons “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (which garners boos) before the band goes into “Long Time Running” is hilarious.
As I noted above this album has been heavily bootlegged two of those tracks are finally on here together those being “Highway Girl (Double Suicide)” and “New Orleans Is Sinking (Killer Whale Tank)” which not only includes Downie’s stories but the playing of guitarist Bobby Baker as well as the whole band (Gord Sinclair, Paul Langlois and Johnny Fay) is stellar.
Each show Gord would change up the stories so thankfully the tapes were rolling that night which Don Smith was on site recording.
What also be noted that on all the streaming platforms (Apple, Spotify) The Hip chose not to include the Roxy show as of right now.
Another reason for me wanting this box set!
One more thing. The remaining surviving members put this box set together. No outside interference which if you have followed these guys throughout there career you know that has always been the deal.
Special thanks to Sue,Kylee, Lex and Lauren!
A must own!