If you’re not Canadian, this won’t mean much to you. It means a lot to me.
I’ve been crying for five hours and I can’t stop. Two Canadian heroes embracing at The Tragically Hip’s final show before Gord Downie’s illness escalates, which it will very soon. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Canada’s most cherished rock star was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and has gone back to his hometown of Kingston to give one last concert.) There were tears in both their eyes when Downie addressed Trudeau in sincere appreciation of his leadership. I felt so connected to everyone in Canada, watching that. Everyone was watching, everywhere, because The Tragically Hip writes music for everyone – unpretentious, insightful, relatable, and specifically Canadian. It was becoming difficult for Downie to continue with each encore, struggling to remember all the words to his hits, needing help from his band to get up and down the stairs, gritting his teeth, hugging himself, clenching his eyes shut as the tears welled up, fighting harder to put on a good show when it seemed to suddenly hit him that it would be the very last in his life, and not wanting it to be. It’s so difficult to say goodbye. And through all this, he was still the delightfully awkward, passionate, flirtatious character that we know him to be. Half camp counsellor, half disco ball, with a glittery pink suit and a pinecone on his hat. It was a truly remarkable and profoundly emotional performance. I’m so glad that our Prime Minister was there. This was very meaningful. People will be talking about this concert for a long time. There was so much love and gratitude at this show. You know it’s a quintessentially Canadian band when fans in the audience are holding up signs saying, “THANK YOU!” Gord thanked each of his band mates with a kiss on the lips. His address to Justin Trudeau tonight will go down as one of the most iconic moments in Canadian cultural and political history.
“Thank you, everybody. Thanks for listening to that. Thanks for listening, period. Have a nice life.”