If you’ve been in Canada the past few weeks or months, you know* that this summer is the last tour for the Tragically Hip under tragic circumstances. Lead singer Gord Downie announced this spring that he has terminal brain cancer. Tickets for the most sought after concert series in years sold out in minutes.
These performances have become a national cultural event. The final concert is tonight in the band’s hometown of Kingston, Onatrio. CBC will air it live on TV, radio, and online. Considering they have the Canadian broadcast rights to the Olympics and are instead choosing to air the Hip concert gives you some idea what a touchstone this is.
Through it all, friends have talked and posted excitedly the band; what they’ve meant to them, the sadness that it’s coming to an end; struggles and triumphs when they got tickets; frustration when they couldn’t; and where they’ll be watching. I’ve smiled and exclaimed excitedly or dismay; I’ve liked the heck out their posts; but it’s been a cover for a dark secret:
I’m not a fan of the Tragically Hip.
Never have been.
Feel free to judge, but I’m just not. I understand that they are clearly very meaningful to apparently many, many people in my life, but I’m not one of them. I like a couple of songs but I never bought a cd or downloaded a song. I’m not sure how I missed out on being a Hip fan: I remember so many of my friends raving about them. It just didn’t seem to be my thing. I’ve never felt like it made my life dramatically less or that was missing out on something critical. Except for maybe this evening.
So tonight, while most of Canada tunes in, I’ll be in the minority who’s not glued to my TV, radio or computer; or at one of the many viewing parties; or for a lucky few, there in person. I’ll probably turn it on for minute just to check it out, but I’ll likely move on quickly.
For the Hip fans: enjoy your night. I know it means a lot. Forgive me for not being one of you.
* I suppose it’s possible you’ve missed it, but highly unlikely if you’ve watched CBC or been online for more than 5 minutes.