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Sunday, November 17, 2019

In Memory of Gord Downie: 1964 - 2017

Gord Downie & Neil Young
Live8 Concert in Canada

Gord Downie and Neil Young performed together at the 2005 Live8 Concert in Canada. The Live8 concerts ended with Neil Young and an all-star finale -- including Tragically Hip's Gord Downie -- on "Rockin' In The Free World". Quite a fitting conclusion for a day in music history.

Recently, we received the following comment on Gord Downie: 1964 - 2017 by toad:
I printed out and framed that photo of Neil & Gord and now it's in my living room.

Neil became a favorite of mine in the 80s when as a teen I discovered his music and The Hip followed a decade later. It's been almost two years without Gord Downie now. His death has left a legit void in my life. I didn't personally know the guy but I'm sure we've all experienced that thing when someone you appreciate is taken away too soon and the world becomes a little dimmer.

I am not Canadian but music from The Tragically Hip was played a lot on Windsor, Ontario stations (89X and 97.1 The River) whose signals were easily received on our Detroit radios. I saw The Hip four times in concert and they were my absolute favorite live band. If you never saw them perform, find some concert footage on Youtube. Gord's stream of consciousness ranting during shows is something to behold. Hip lyrics, like the lyrics in Neil's best songs, were enigmatic and often dark. I could list a good 40 or 50 songs by that band that I feel are just pure genius.

For those who are unfamiliar with their stuff, find a way to listen to these four albums: Fully Completely (1992), Day for Night (1994), Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) & Phantom Power (1998). The Hip hit their stride during that period. Then, watch the final concert (2016) from their hometown in Kingston, Ontario. This was post brain surgery, about one year prior to Gord's passing. He had to learn all of the songs over again to treat fans to one final, courageous, glorious, farewell tour. So bittersweet.

It was always a bit baffling why they didn't gain more popularity in the US outside of places like Detroit & Buffalo. But in a way, it adds to the band's allure. A good chunk of our people are dopey (Trump supporters certainly taught us that) so it's no surprise The Hip never caught on with certain Americans. While those of us who appreciate great music will miss Gord, we will keep his memory alive in the States.

Fully and completely.
Thanks toad for sharing and keeping the memory of Tragically Hip's Gord Downie alive.

Honestly, we're another one of those south of the border folks who never really got into Tragically Hip.

Back in our tape trading days, we would occasionally get a Tragically Hip concert and check out but didn't quite click with us.

That said, now's probably a good a time as any to pull out some of those tapes and re-visit. Thanks for suggestions on TH albums. We've already put a few on our wish list.

We never heard their albums -- only concert tapes. Maybe it was the tape quality or the gig performance that never moved us further. We did catch the Live8 Concert back in 2005, but can't find that tape either at the moment but recall Neil and Gord had a pretty good jam together on RITFW. That was the only time we saw TH.

More on Gord Downie: 1964 - 2017 and Live8 Concert in Canada.

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At 11/17/2019 06:24:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

I've always thought Gord had a similar writing style to Neil's.
Thrash, start with the tunes 'Bobcaygon' and 'Wheat Kings'. Those two songs are impossible to miss and share a lot with Uncle Neil.
Peace Gordo.

At 11/17/2019 08:38:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

So glad that You have a thought for Gord and The Tragically Hip . Possibly one of the best Canadian band ever . Neil’s fans do yourself a favor and listen to the Hip this weekend.And yes Bobcaygon is a good song to start.

At 11/17/2019 12:32:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks for the TH suggestions.

'Wheat Kings' sounds perfect. :)

Added to our wishlist.

At 11/17/2019 08:33:00 PM, Blogger Tinnr said...

Yeah truly was a tragic loss, was listening to The Tragically Hip when their first album came out, and listening to Neil Young since 1969, another magnificent artist.

At 11/18/2019 12:24:00 AM, Blogger Jayner84 said...

Gord was my hero, still is. He was a poet a Shakespeare of our time. Grace Two is my favorite song and 700 foot ceiling. Canada was a smaller place when Gord was alive, he was our glue to stick together. He's always telling a story, if it was about the shores of France on DDay or the discovery of a large nation as a European exploring. Listen to his lyrics! Love you Gord R.I.P Always <3

At 11/18/2019 01:20:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

you never heard their albums or you NEVER PLAYED THEIR ALBUMS?

At 11/23/2019 11:05:00 PM, Blogger Odatat said...

There are a whole lot of TH fans here in Tucson and Phoenix.Th played many concerts here.And good air play on the radio.We had the pleasure of seeing them 8 times over the years.Best one was at the Rialto theater. Miss you much Gord.

At 11/27/2019 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Netflix has a documentary on their 2016 tour of Canada called Long Time Running worth watching


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