There’s been plenty of Tragically Hip appreciation, celebration and nostalgia in the days since Gord Downie’s death last Wednesday. One question that seems to be circulating more than most is this: What was your favourite Tragically Hip moment?
Just about every Canadian seems to have one. For some, it was a memory of a particular show. For others, it was as simple as listening to Up to Here in the car with the family on the way to the cottage.
Me? Mine is peculiar. When the Hip became the first act to perform a concert at the new Air Canada Centre on February 22, 1999, they needed an MC for the night. I was honoured to get the job. It’s something I’ll obviously never forget.
I have others. The Hip at Molson Park in Barrie back in the 90s. The last show at the ACC. An early show at the old Spectrum on the Danforth. Hearing Fully Completely for the first time.
What’s yours? Distill it down to one story and let me know. I’ll read out some responses on my 6 pm show on the Edge on Tuesday evening.
Some email submissions
Then there’s Phil, who is also from Hamilton.
Gord Downie: Death Of A Canadian Icon
With the announcement on October 17th 2017 of the passing of Gord Downie an outpouring Of emotions swept through our country. There was wall to wall coverage of Downie’s death As Hip tunes played on the radio all day long.
Gordon Edgar Downie, (singer, poet, activist) meant so much to so many Canadians. Be it his Singing, lyrics, storytelling, or his unbridled stage antics, Gord touched us in one way or another. Gord wrote and sung about Canada and Canadian issues. The Tragically Hip’s music is woven into the fabric of our country.
Whenever he got together with his fellow band mates Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay, a special chemistry occurred both live and in the studio and as a result it struck a chord with Canadians.
Seeing The Hip live is like a religious experience. I was fortunate enough to have seen them three times and each time I was taken to heaven and back! Some fans are so devoted that they’ve seen the band 10 to 20 times and each has their favourite Hip song along a story behind it. It’s hip to be a Hip fan!
Back in May 2016 it was announced that Gord had glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. While most that are given this dire news resign to their fate, Gord on the other hand responded by taking his band on one final tour across Canada as a thank you and farewell to the fans.
Most artists look to our neighbours to the south for fame and fortune but Gord never sold out he was true to his roots and country. He also gave his time and money as a philanthropist to various causes including his fight for indigenous rights.
There were two Gord Downie’s, the quiet, coy, reserved family man and the eccentric, flamboyant, charismatic front man. Mr. Downie was a unique talent the likes of which this country may never see again. He was Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan wrapped into one.
There’s no need for us to get down on Downie’s passing. Instead, let’s celebrate the great body of work he left us.
Gord fought with Courage right till the end.
Phil Capobianco is a Hamilton writer and can be contacted at [email protected]