I discovered the Tragically Hip in 2005, when I was working at a tiny sandwich shop in Cobleskill. The owner, who’s name I have long forgotten, would put on In Between Evolution. It was magic. It was like love. I asked her to burn me a copy, because I was so poor from the lousy wages she paid that I could barely afford rent on the apartment I shared with my sister, let alone a CD. She obliged, and that album became the soundtrack to one last hometown summer and of the strange year in New York that would eventually inspire The Big Rewind.
I still think of a late-night run along the promenade in Brooklyn when I hear “Goodnight Josephine.” I played “It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night” on my honeymoon as we drove through Tennessee. And “In View” was the first song I played for Jason when we got back together.
And last night, my love for The Hip was rekindled as they performed for three hours in their final concert, broadcast live on the CBC. And not final as in “We’ll get back together in five years and tour again and you’ll pay big money to see it, suckers.” Final as in no more, the end, forever, because Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer at age 52.