While I have never considered myself to be the biggest fan of The Tragically Hip, last night was an emotional one. Gord Downie and his bandmates played their hearts out for the hometown crowd in Kingston, Ontario. Although they will be forever cherished in the hearts of many, what was this last tour for, exactly?
When I first heard about Gord’s diagnosis, as most were, I was shocked! It was almost impossible to believe. How could this happen to someone so successful? So seemingly happy (the silly dancing, the warm, fun gestures, the heart-warming smile, etc.)? But such is life, I suppose. Having personally been touched by this story, I can relate in some ways. Not just ‘cuz I, also have a brain tumour, but because I would do (almost) anything for the people who support, and have always supported me. When you find out you have a brain tumour, it can be a very confusing, difficult time. I had to come to terms with the fact that things could (at the age of 13) go really bad here! Like Gord, I’m sure, I didn’t know why this happened to me, but I swore I was gonna’ get the most out my years! I drank, partied, and puked a lot. I lost count of all of my sins, to be honest. I took this beautiful experience of life and decided to gamble with it (perhaps there was some self-pity I was trying to extinguish). But one of my beautiful escapes was often music. Laying down, with horrible headaches, music was often therapeutic. I’m sure there are billions of others whom can relate to this, too.
What inspires me most about this last tour by The Hip, was that they did it! Considering the situation, rather than fold quietly, posting a static message on their website displaying the sad news, they set out on a mission for their fans! If my situation were as Mr. Downie’s, I don’t know if I’d wanna’ travel, pack/unpack all that gear, all the costumes, rehearsals, sweating out all of your energy, strain on your vocals, etc. Wouldn’t you just want to relllaaax? Take it eeeeasy?? Hammmmock on a beeeeeeeacch?? Not this guy. I think that’s what separates the average from the legendary – going out and sacrificing yourself for your beliefs; risking EVERYTHING for your cause. UNBELIEVABLE.
I don’t know everything about The Tragically Hip. I know some of them are from Kingston. I know their music is a HUGE part of Canadian culture. I know they have many, universally-enjoyed party tunes, and I know they have recently gained a lot more fans (I don’t believe out of pity, either). Many, like myself, find it unbelievable that a band would give back to their fans like this. Stories like this make me believe there IS hope for humanity! I always want to live my life in the service of others. That sounds corny and weirdly worded – but it’s true. Many of us are so selfish. If we knew the end was closer than expected – I think we’d be MORE selfish, too! The way these guys – The Tragically Hip – gave back to their followers, and music fans in general, was epic. I do not believe they were motivated by money in any way (unlike the ticket-selling, corporate-scalper-scums wanting to profit from this!), and that’s beautiful. You guys are awesome for what you have done! Truly amazing to your fans, country, and world as a whole. Best Wishes!