She said I’m Tragically Hip
Come on, just lets go!
She kinda bit her lip…geez I dont know
I’ve written non tech related posts here before – usually it takes something near and dear to my heart to spark them. Hockey and music was kinda my crutch throughout my life – In the spirit of share, and the spirit of getting 30 posts out in 30 days this one will deal with the latter
For those that don’t know there’s an iconic Canadian band called The Tragically Hip Their lead singer, Gordon Downie announced earlier this year that he had incurable brain cancer, you know, the shitty kind, as if their was a kind that wasn’t. Instead of undergoing treatment and calling it quits The Hip announced a country wide tour, starting in Vancouver, 15 shows later ending in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario – a small quaint city not far from where I live now and a place I called home for some time during college!
God knows I tried to get tickets – I was online right at 10 o’clock the day they were released and I had four in my shopping cart but during check out something happened – I along with many, many other people, tremendous other people (see what I did there :)) doing the same thing were denied and the tickets were gone within seconds. Sheesh, you’d think these ticket companies could get some better IT behind these types of things! But this wasn’t just for the Kingston show but for every show they had planned! Within minutes of that you could see tickets popping up on StubHub more than 500% their face value! Needless to say I wasn’t going to this one. As a tour started the band tried to accommodate this by releasing new shows and holding lotteries for new tickets available only to people who could pick them up at the door of the venue! Again I tried but was left dissapointed again!
So, in the end we were left with a country trying to mourn someone they grew up with and couldn’t get into see his, what some called, last show! Then to my surprise CBC picked up on this and worked out a deal that would have final show, August 20th in Kingston, live-streamed across the country. Satellite, Internet, CBC Mobile, Facebook, YouTube – it was going to be on every media channel across Canada. So with all that said projectors went up in backyards across Canada! Market Square in Kingston packed in 30,000 people, the most they have ever had gather downtown to see what many were calling the final concert. One of those 30,000 – our newly minted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Personally, I gathered in one of those backyards with some close friends to watch the concert, have some drinks, and celebrate the life of a man who had entertained me my entire life. The music was great, the drinks were great (as always), but the biggest thing I took away from that warm night in August was the memories. The whole night was full of friends reliving memories together – “Remember when?” “This song reminds me of that time…” Friends reminiscing, replaying times in their minds. Seeing people whom I haven’t in quite a while, remembering times with some who are unfortunately no longer here. This is what I took away from that night – memories, friendships, recollections of the handful of times I’ve saw them perform.
Before the show there was so much chatter on what he might be like, will he look ok? And 15 seconds in I think we all saw the same ol’ Gord we have so many times before. For nearly three hours he took us on a journey from that bar band that started out in Kingston to the national treasure they are now. Even in his condition he used his time wisely, using the viewership of 11.7 million people to help spread the word about Canada’s struggles and ignorance towards the residential school issues of the past – that’s a whole other shameful post to be written though….
Though entertaining it was all but bittersweet seeing his interview a month or so after with Peter Mansbridge on CBC. There, Downie declared he is indeed suffering, requiring 6 prompters on the stage in order to remember the lyrics of his own songs, having Mansbridges name written on his hand just so he can remember who he is talking to – even though they have known each other for some time…having to struggle to remember his kids names…
“For some reason every line, I just couldn’t, it’s the worst kind of punishment”, he said, “It was one savage kick in the pants, can’t remember peoples names and can’t remember lyrics”
A musician, an artist, a poet – who can’t remember lyrics. A father, a husband, a friend – who can’t remember your name – Thinking of all this, it reminds to cherish, cherish what you have now, celebrate what you have now – someday it may no longer be there.
I mention “the country” a lot in this post – don’t get me wrong, it’s not all of Canada. As with any music people have personal tastes and for some The Tragically Hip just isn’t their flavor of choice. But, no one, no one can argue that something happened in our Country the night of August 20th – This group, this man, united our country and during that time their was not a sole that could claim they weren’t touched somehow by having been a part of it! Personally, I feel more thankful having been part of that night – thankful for what I have and holding it tight – for someday it will all end and I’ll just be floating through Fiddler’s Green.