It’s hard to (say it’s sad but true) believe that I may have seen the Tragically Hip Live (between us) for the last time this summer (is killing me).
In an effort to truly appreciate and retain this notion Shan and I bought tickets in both Calgary and Winnipeg. It would be futile to discuss which was the better show because they were both brilliant performances. Everything from the outfits to the playlists. Both performances from the heart and genuine like only Gord and the boys could deliver.
For the Winnipeg show we had some shirts made each with our favorite quotes on them. All 20 or so of us met before the concert at a restaurant and looking around that room at my friends with these shirts on flooded my thoughts with memories of the Hip. Camping with Al, Another Roadside Attractions, looking for Gord with Timmy in the Keystone Centre, Pigeon Camera 20 times at Boston Pizza, that blizzard, the countless concerts with the boys, and skating our hearts out as Three Pistols.
Standing beside Ratte at this one when “Ahead by a Century” came on thinking about how many times I drunk dialed that song for him at concerts when we were apart. In fact I remember when the internet was still a mystery and using Ponch’s 56K modem to download that song when it was brand new so that I could play it back for Ratte over the phone. It took like 9 hours but I stayed up.
On my other side; arm in arm with Shannon swaying back and forth to “Wheat Kings” and singing along. Thoughts of our wedding and how we had to have “Are we Family” as our exit song. Tonight her shirt reads “If a song can’t save us, then nothing can” and tonight I believe that.
Watching Gord, Shan said it felt like she didn’t want to take anymore from him. Like he was giving us what we needed in spite of himself. But I also saw a man doing what he loves to do and in the process saying goodbye to the fans who truly adore him. Imagine being diagnosed with terminal cancer and deciding it was time for one more trip across Canada. It’s pretty amazing really and I’m truly richer for having seen them this summer. When Gord stayed out and waved goodbye to the crowd I felt as if I got to say goodbye too.
Hey can we get a little New Orleans is sinking for Paul Ratte? It’s his birthday!