Less than a month away from a brand new album, Man Machine Poem (due June 17th), Tragically Hip fans, and really the Canadian music world in general was dealt an awful blow when The Hip announced via their website that frontman Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer back in December.
Since the news was dropped earlier this week, it seems all the talk on social media has revolved around The Hip, Gord, and what he means to not only the music scene in this country, but to our identity as Canadians. If there is a more quintessentially Canadian band than The Tragically Hip, I certainly haven’t heard it.
I’ve had the opportunity to see them perform on four separate occasions, in three different provinces (including once on Canada Day which was an incredible experience in itself), and I always felt that they’d keep on going forever. I honestly believed that I would have the opportunity several more times, as they ALWAYS seem to be making their way across our beautiful country. That’s why the news of Gord’s illness hit me so hard.
One day after the announcement, the Hip revealed their 2016 tour lineup, which included 11 dates from Victoria to Ottawa, finally wrapping up in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario on August 20th. It’s kind of a strange thought to be able to actually buy tickets to what will essentially be the LAST Tragically Hip concert ever performed. In the case of artists like David Bowie and Prince, we were never given that opportunity. You can check out a full list of their shows here.
In the meantime, many people have been trying to figure out the proper way to honor a legendary musician like Gord Downie. One way, might be to award the legendary crooner with the prestigious Order of Canada. In fact, a petition has been started to bestow the honor on Gord, and if you believe he deserves it, you can sign the petition. They’re less than 1,000 signatures away from their current goal!
In other Gord Downie related news, an open choir based out of Toronto known as Choir! Choir! Choir!, who have paid tribute to David Bowie and Prince already this year, paid tribute to The Tragically Hip by covering their tune ‘Ahead By A Century’. You can check that performance out below!