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Tragically Hip thrills faithful Artpark crowd

The Tragically Hip hit the Artpark stage performing "Ocean" Saturday night, with a sea of fans packing the amphitheater for the first show of the group's two-night, sold-out stand.

And even though the Hip started later than expected, fans roared their approval as the Canadian group's musicians came into view.

Exploding onto the stage, the Tragically Hip -- Gordon Downie on lead vocals, Bobby Baker on guitar, Paul Langlois on guitar, Gord Sinclair on bass and Johnny Fay on drums -- immediately followed up with "Music at Work," while the entire venue lit up as Downie crooned the song from one of the band's untraditional albums, released in 2000.

Since 1987, the band has released 13 albums, including its first, self-titled album, as well as "In Violet Light," "Phantom Power" and "Road Apples."

The band became popular in Canada and, with the release of the album "Fully Completely," broke into the U.S. market, selling out practically every show.

The show at Artpark was no exception. The Hip, as devoted fans refer to them, played songs from their new album, "World Container," released in 2006.

The band treated fans to the group's most memorable songs, like "Grace, Too," in which Downie pandered to fans by pretended to take bullets to his chest.

The Hip also entertained the crowd with its classic "New Orleans Is Sinking," featuring firework sound effects. Downie told fans the fireworks were representative of war and then picked up his guitar as fellow band members strummed the opening of the song. Regardless of any positions fans held about war, the entire venue came alive as fans jumped, danced and sang along.

Fans ate up the Hip's down-tempo "Ahead by a Century." Even as the mood in the amphitheater calmed down, fans swayed with the beat and sang along with Downie.

Spectators cheered as the band extended the ending of the song to rock out even more.

As the show wound down, the Hip treated the audience to newer music, like "The Lonely End of the Rink" and "The Kids Don't Get It." No matter what song, the energy level from band and fans never waned.

The Tragically Hip will perform again tonight.


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