Toronto

30 shows in 18 years: Meet Eric, the Tragically Hip's superfan

Eric MacKenzie is the Tragically Hip's superfan. He's going to more than half the concerts from Victoria to Kingston on their Man Machine Poem tour.

But how is he getting all these tickets when fans across Canada are coming empty-handed?

Eric MacKenzie and the Hip's guitarist Rob Baker after Fully Completely show in London, Ont. in 2015. (Eric MacKenzie)

Sunday will mark the last of three performances by the Tragically Hip in Toronto, and superfan Eric MacKenzie will be there, again.

In fact the Ottawa man has five shows already under his belt since the Hip's Man Machine Poem tour's first stop in Victoria, B.C. And he plans on following them to Kingston, Ont. where they'll play the grand finale of their tour on Aug. 20. 

But how is he getting all these tickets when fans across Canada are coming empty-handed? 

"It was a real blessing. I know there was a large ticket fiasco that ensued, but my wife and I were diligently trying," said MacKenzie in an interview on Metro Morning Friday. "So we just really lucked out." 

MacKenzie poses with drummer Johnny Fay after the Hip's Fully Completely show in London, Ont. in 2015. (Eric MacKenzie)

30 times in the past 18 years

"Between 1999 and 2014, I've only seen them 17 times," said MacKenzie. 

Only 17 times? 

Well, by the end of this tour, he will have seen the band a total of 13 times in the past year-and-a-half, bringing him to a grand total of 30 live performances, he said. 

A display of the Tragically Hip set lists from various concerts MacKenzie has attended. (Eric MacKenzie)

MacKenzie said this recent "blessing" came after his wife suggested he go to the opening leg of the tour in B.C. for his birthday. 

"I couldn't help but take her up on her kind offer," he said. 

He wasn't originally planning on going to Edmonton. But after the Tragically Hip played 52 different songs in the first three shows in B.C., he said he was inspired.

Eric MacKenzie and his wife Christine Frenette. (Eric MacKenzie)

"Every show has been so special and unique that it's something that it's just so worth taking advantage of."

'I've left each show reminding myself I don't need to cry'

MacKenzie said the band dug deep into their catalogues for each show, surprising fans with their "few hidden gems that they wouldn't normally play."  He said fans were "just mesmerized." 

"I've left each show reminding myself I don't need to cry because I'm going to see them again," he chuckled.

For others who weren't as fortunate as him, "they've just been literally causing puddles [around] their feet." 

The end of each song is met with a deafening roar from the fans, according to MacKenzie.

A photo shot by MacKenzie at the Man Machine Poem show in Edmonton, Alta. in July. (Eric MacKenzie)

The Hip will be playing in Hamilton and Ottawa before finishing up in Kingston, Ont. and the committed MacKenzie will continue to be there celebrating his all-time favourite band. 

"I can't imagine how it will transcend in Kingston, or what type of last waltz there will be." 

CBC will be screening the last show of the Hip's summer tour on Aug. 20 at these locations

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