Tragically Hip Not Tragic. Gord Downie FTW

Saw The Hip in concert last night in Cobourg. Before the happy rant, how about the setlist?

  1. At Transformation
  2. Grace Too
  3. Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin’ Man
  4. Man Machine Poem
  5. Gift Shop
  6. Ahead By A Century
  7. Streets Ahead
  8. Flamenco
  9. Poets
  10. Daredevil
  11. We Want To Be It
  12. Fully Completely
  13. Wheat Kings
  14. New Orleans Is Sinking > Nautical Disaster > New Orleans Is Sinking
  15. Fire In The Hole
  16. Goodnight Attawapiskat
  17. Blow At High Dough


And the all-important encore:

  1. My Music At Work
  2. At The Hundredth Meridian
  3. Bobcaygeon
  4. Courage
  5. Little Bones



Gord Downie. How does one describe Gord Downie to anybody who has never attended a Hip concert? I’m not sure it can be done. I want to say he’s a cross between David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Jim Carey of the Jim Carey. But that doesn’t quite capture the uniqueness that is Gord Downie. He’s basically a cross between Gord Downie and Gord Downie.

Last night he was in full SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN PERSONA. His handkerchief was a fine prop. He used it both to wipe away his perspiration and to dust off any seat he chose to take about the stage. And he also used it for his feats of death-defying hanky magic as he fought with his mic stand. The man is a walking piece of performance art. He writes some of the best lyrics in modern music and he tells a story every time he sings a song. It’s no wonder his stage presence is so unutterably powerful.

Once, a long time ago in a world far far asunder, I was a poet. I had a poem about Gord Downie published. It went something like this:

An Open Letter of Adoration to Gordon Downie

 Did you ever see a hypothetical sky, Gordo?
The kind that strips the greys away,
swallows clouds and shivers stars to focus?
Did you ever rest supine, dockside
midnight hush,
or did you simply like the way
it fell from your iconic tongue,
beautiful, sublime and free,
filled with nostalgia and tears
of Bobcaygeon love?
Did you ever hypothetical, Gordo?
Twist your words to night
and black and white?
Or did you simply like the way
they fell, iconic from your tongue?
You fill your lungs with melancholy, Gordo,
and send it on its way,
bright the night with shivered sound,
delivering metaphorical, but one star at a time.

Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. Cobourg, Ontario. June 20/13
Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. Cobourg, Ontario. June 20/13

If you ever get the opportunity to take in The Hip, don’t turn it down. They are Canadiana at its best.

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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