*photos by Tom Pandi from the Tragically Hip concert at the ACC for the Man Machine Poem tour
The day has finally come: today, August 20th, Canadian legends The Tragically Hip take the stage for the very last time and Canada, and the world, will be watching.
My whole music listening life, I’ve had a strange love/hate relationship with the Tragically Hip. In my teens and twenties I gladly chose grunge music created in the Pacific North West rather than the quirky Canadian rock made in Kingston, Ontario, never understanding what the charm was that this band held on my fellow Canadian music lovers. But one day that shifted, and rather than change the station when the strains of “Ahead by a century” came on, I would leave it there and listen. Pretty soon, I was listening to nearly ever Hip song that came on the radio near me, and I even started seeking their tunes out on my own. I took it as a sign of maturity, my recognition that despite what I may have once felt, that I could see, and hear, what everyone else had always seen; no matter what your musical taste, the Tragically Hip were, and are, a national treasure. And now, the time has come for that treasure to be placed on a ceremonial shelf for evermore, but not before cementing its place in Canadian history with a final farewell.
Today the Tragically Hip will mark the end of an era in the city where it all began. The 15-date sold out cross-Canada Man Machine Poem tour, in celebration of the Hip’s 14th and final album of the same name, will make its final stop in Kingston, Ontario where Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay will take the stage in their home town at the K-Rock Centre. While many Hip fans were unfortunately shut out of seeing their heroes live, thanks to scalper debacles and the unfortunate finite nature of concert spots, all hope is not lost for those who love Canadian music. Tonight, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration will broadcast nationally and stream globally live and commercial free at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBC Radio, CBC Television, CBCmusic.a and the CBC Music Apps (scroll down for details). As well, in preparation for this final concert event, fans in Canada and around the world can tune into the pre-show on CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2 at 8 p.m. on August 20, hosted by Rich Terfry, who will play some of the band’s greatest hits as selected by Canadians via a CBC Music poll.
That’s right, any music lover in Canada or around the world with access to a cellphone, computer, tablet, television and/or radio will get the chance to see history in the making. 420 community viewing parties have been confirmed across the country and internationally, ensuring that as many people as possible will get the chance to witness this historic event together even if miles separate them. Click here for a listing of these events.
So tonight, join Canada and the rest of the world and tune into what will be a once in a lifetime show, celebrating not the storied career of the Tragically Hip, but the bravery and generosity of Gord Downie, a hero of Canadian music. Who better to turn a tragedy into celebration, than our own Tragically Hip? And who better to turn a eulogy into a beautiful ballad, than Mr. Downie himself. And while you should keep the tissues handy remember; it’s not a funeral, it’s a party, and one that should not be missed.
Will you be watching the Hip tonight? Tweet us at @weraddicted and let us know where. Here are your options:
CBC Radio One
CBC Radio One on SiriusXM Channel 169
CBC Radio 2
CBC Music’s YouTube channel
CBC Facebook page CBC Music app on
the CBC Music app on Apple TV.