I am not what you would describe as a true “dyed in the wool” fan of The Tragically Hip.
I could not tell you who Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair or Johnny Fay were if they walked up and shook my hand.
I am vaguely familiar with the titles of some of their most beloved songs.
But fire up “New Orleans Is Sinking”, “Blow At High Dough”, “Little Bones”, or “At The Hundreth Meridian” and no introductions are necessary. I know it’s The Hip.
So Tuesday Morning was a grim reminder of never taking an iconic rock band for granted.
The words reverberated around our newsroom as we all tried to snap to attention after a three day weekend. “Did you hear the news? Gordon Downie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.”
Thank goodness the 52 year old from the suburbs of Kingston, Ontario has been given medical clearance by his physicians to perform this summer in what will be an emotional tour. One of those Doctors even said it doesn’t have to be a “Farewell Tour.” But that comes with no guarantees.
Tears will be flowing. Others completely distraught with the idea of possibly seeing Gordon Downie and The Hip perform for the last time. I can’t imagine how many encores there will be at each performance. Can there be a Tragically Hip with a different lead singer?
There is one message that rings through loud and clear from people who have a “closer than most” bond with The Tragically Hip. The incredible connection The Hip has with the hundreds of thousands they have entertained five, ten, or twenty or more times.
And because of their unabashed attitude of embracing Canadiana for everything it is.
When Glenn Frey died in January, and began a 2016 that is not going to be soon forgotten for the number of musical super stars and geniuses who have passed away, I was shaken for days.
And I listened to every Eagles song I could. As a way of mourning what was a very personal loss to the soundtrack of my life.
Hip fans have not lost Gordon Downie yet. And according to the medical experts, it could be several years before that happens.
But I’m willing to bet there have been many who dealt with Tuesday Morning’s sobering news by also “cranking up the volume” of their favorite Tragically Hip single or album.
In my opinion, it’s the ultimate way to say thank you. And honor any artist or group for the way they made you feel.