Wednesday, October 18, 2017

R.I.P. Gord Downie

Picture taken by me July 30th 2016 in Edmonton at Rexall Place.

What a tough day of work to get through today. I heard the news of the passing of the Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie at the age of 53 on CKUA Radio just as I got to work at 6:45 this morning. While we all knew this day was coming after Gordie announced last May that he had terminal brain cancer, it still didn't make it easy. This was especially hard, I thought Tom Petty and Stompin' Tom were tough deaths to deal with, this one hit me real hard. Though I had never spoke or met the man, it always felt like I knew him like a friend. So when I got home tonight from work it was time to put on a Hip album and let the tears flow, and flow they did and still do as I type this.

I've been following Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip since their first full album release that came out in 1989. I loved all of The Hip albums and Gord's solo albums, but it was always the live performances that really made them so incredible. Not only was Gord an amazing lyricist and poet, but he was also one of the best frontmen of a rock group ever. It was always thrill to see him perform live, his improvising of lyrics in songs, in between song banter and of course his dancing and such on stage. Gord Downie was Canada's Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan all wrapped up in one fabulous human being. Not only was a great front man but he was also a humanitarian.

There isn't another person, whether it being a Prime Minister, actor or athlete that could bring a Nation together like Gord and The Hip could. Last year when The Hip did one last tour (Man Machine Poem Tour) from Vancouver and culminating with the show in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario that was televised live on national TV where over 11 million people in Canada watched that concert. That is absolutely amazing that that many people in a country stopped to watch a live performance. That night has been called the night Canada came to a stand still. Well today I am sure is a day that will go down as the day where the most tears were shed in unison.

I have had many a good times listening to The Hip in all kinds of places, shapes, situations, live shows and sharing the experience with different friends and strangers. if there was anything we could all agree on, it was that The Tragically Hip were a real special band fronted by an even more special man. I was fortunate enough to see the Tragically Hip and Gord 19 times in concert. Seen them with lots of friends and in a lot of different towns, cities and venues. Some of the best times of my life revolved around a Hip concert. A Hip show was always an event and one where you would count down the days til you got to see the Tragically Hip play again. Man, am I ever going to miss that. Thankfully Gord left behind a very nice catalog of music that will live on and be played forever. Thank you Gord for soldiering on even through sickness, to tour one last time and still have the courage to put together new music, having released his solo album "Secret Path" in October of last year and a new one called "Introduce Yerself" that will be released on October 27th.

Mr. Downie you are going to be missed. There will never be another like you. Rest In Peace Gord Downie.

All the times I have seen Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip.

* July 26th 1991 in Edmonton at the Edmonton Convention Centre
* November 28th 1992 in Edmonton at the Agricom
* August 1st 1993 in Edmonton at Clarke Stadium as part of the Another Roadside Attraction Festival
* February 21st 1995 in Edmonton at Northlands Coliseum
* July 15th 1995 in High River, AB as part of the Another Roadside Attraction Festival
* November 12th 1995 in Edmonton at Edmonton Coliseum
* July 19th 1997 in Camrose, AB as part of the Another Roadside Attraction Festival
* March 6th 1999 in Red Deer, AB at the Centrium
* September 21st 2002 in Vernon, B.C. at the Vernon Multiplex
* January 14th 2007 in Edmonton at Rexall Place
* January 16th 2007 in Red Deer, AB at the Enmax Centrium
* July 26th 2008 in Pemberton, B.C. as part of the Pemberton Music Festival
* July 14th 2011 in Edmonton on th Northlands Grounds
* January 23rd 2013 in Edmonton at Rexall Place
* July 27th 2014 Gord Downie & The Sadies in Edmonton as part of the Interstellar Music Festival
* February 12th 2015 in Edmnoton at Rexall Place
* July 28th 2016 in Edmonton at Rexall Place
* July 30th 2016 in Edmonton at Rexall Place
* August 20th 2016 in Kingston, Ontario at Rogers K-Rock Centre

In the words of Gord Downie "Heaven Is A Better Place Today".

Picture taken by me at the final Hip show August 20th 2016 in Kingston, Ontario.

Picture taken by myself on July 27th 2014 when Gord Downie & The Sadies played the Interstellar Rodeo in Edmonton.

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