An emotional night as fans from coast to coast filled public venues for what’s believed to be iconic Canadian band the Tragically Hip’s swan song.
It was a packed house at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom, one of more than a dozen Metro Vancouver venues screening the Hip’s final Kingston, Ontario concert.
With frontman Gord Downie saying goodbye to fans after a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, many said it was important to share the experience together.
“It’s a privilege to be able to spend it with a bunch of fans.”
“I want to be with everyone, and just feel it, cry together, sing together,”
“It’s totally bittersweet.”
“I wouldn’t say its bitter at all. It’s sweet. I think it’s everyone coming together for the family band.”
Almost everyone had a story to share, like Grant Arundell who recalls fighting homesickness with the Hip at the Canadian Embassy in London.
“This was ’99, so they had like a sort of CD listening station and Day for Night was there, so for a couple of days I would go there, two or three hours a day, and just listen to that CD, and write in a journal and stuff. Just to try and get that feeling back, of feeling homesick, and feeling really good. In particular, Nautical Disaster.”
The final performance was broadcast live across the country by the CBC, with memories and tears flowing openly and unashamed.