The Tragically Hip – Sunday August 14, 2016

The last time I saw The Tragically Hip was for Canada’s 125th birthday celebration at Molson Park in Barrie in 1992, a few months before the release of Fully Completely and before they became the biggest band in the country. Twenty-four years and eleven albums later, they are playing their final tour after Gord Downie announced he had terminal brain cancer.


The Hip have been a band that, every other year or so, would release a solid album and tour the country. It seemed like they could’ve gone on forever. 2016 has already seen the world lose Bowie and Prince, it’s a year that has reminded us that even what seemed perennial will one day end.

The band opened with Blow at High Dough and New Orleans is Sinking, harkening back to those early bar room band days and mixed it with songs from the most recent album Man, Machine, Poem. The first intermission featured a video of a thunderstorm over Georgian Bay, their songs the musical equivalent of a Group of Seven Painting.


They weren’t for everyone, and I’m reluctant to call them a ‘happy middle ground’ because that doesn’t do them justice. Sure, they played straight-ahead rock music, but if you listened closely there was real beauty in the lyrics and complex vocal melodies given to the songs. There were so many lines that could possibly mean a thousand things but never meant nothing.

As the concert progressed, as the band played through the years, I was taken back through those years in my life, around campfires in Algonquin, cottage weekends up north, exploration camps in northern Ontario, the Ungava Bay, the arctic circle, sharing drinks and missing home with ex-pats in Mexico, Chile and Peru, a constant in the soundtrack of my youth.

This final tour was such an incredible gift to their fans and you could see Gord soak up the moment as he stood alone on stage staring out at the crowd. He gave us so much over the years, gave me so much. It’s hard to believe that it’s coming to an end. I was glad to have seen their final show in Toronto, it was an evening filled with incredible memories and incredible music. Thank you, Gord. (The show’s setlist is below)


Set list:

From Up to Here:

  • Blow at High Dough
  • New Orleans is Sinking
  • Opiated
  • Boots or Hearts

From Man, Machine, Poem

  • Machine
  • What Blue
  • Ocean Next
  • In A World Possessed By The Human Mind


From Now For Plan A

  • Streets Ahead
  • We Want To Be It
  • Man Machine Poem
  • At Transformation

From Trouble At The Henhouse

  • Gift Shop
  • Flamenco
  • Springtime in Vienna
  • Ahead By A Century

From Road Apples

  • Last of the Unplucked Gems
  • Three Pistols
  • Twist My Arm
  • Long Time Running
  • Little Bones

Encore 1 – From Phantom Power

  • Escape is at Hand for the Travelling Band
  • Poets
  • Bobcaygeon

Encore 2 – From Day for Night

  • Daredevil
  • Grace Too




3 thoughts on “The Tragically Hip – Sunday August 14, 2016

  1. Very well said Dave, I remember the first time I ever heard their music and it was someone from Edmonton that was playing their cd Road Apples. I immediately went out and bought the cd myself. Of course this was before the days of iTunes. Let their music live on forever!

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