On Saturday night something happened in Kingston that unified this Country from coast to coast. No, it wasn’t a hockey game but it was a band that scored a hit song telling the story of a one time Toronto Maple Leaf player who scored a Stanley Cup winning goal, Bill Barilko. The song in question, “Fifty Mission Cap” and the band, The Tragically Hip.
The “Hip” played that and many others before a raucous crowd at the K-Rock Center in their hometown of Kingston. The show was the final one in a tour that started in July back in Vancouver. This tour according to many insiders will be the final time the Tragically Hip perform together due to Gord Downies inoperable brain cancer.
I had the great fortune of being able to join other Hip fans at the civic square in Welland to watch the concert live on the City’s new big screen, which no doubt was a hit and will be used for future events.
I looked out over the crowd of 3,000 and saw many Canadian Flags waving and then it hit me, we weren’t saying goodbye to another band, we were saying goodbye to a uniquely Canadian Band. It didn’t matter where the Hip played they always brought images of Canada home with some of the greatest homegrown lyrics and tunes like, “Wheat Kings, Bobcaygeon and many many more.
Gord Downie was very emotional saying his goodbyes to the Kingston crowd and a television audience of over 11 million. He could have said things that would have made us feel sorry for him but that’s not Gord’s style, he simply wished us all “a good life” that life will be better for many because we will always have the music of “THE HIP.”