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Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000

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Singing Along with The Tragically Hip

The Tragically Hip in concert at Rexall Place on July 30. Paula E. Kirman

One of the strangest questions I’ve ever heard has been, “Do you like music?” Are there any people out there who don’t like music? It’s as basic as air and water. Of course I like music – I’m human, aren’t I?

Through the years I’ve been to several concerts. I will admit to my very first one was New Kids on the Block. I was 12 years old, okay – I enjoyed bubblegum rock. That’s what you do at that age. I’ve also seen Bob Dylan three times. I’ve seen Stone Temple Pilots, Neil Young, Matthew Sweet, and many others. I love the energy of a live concert and I avail myself of it whenever I can.

My favourite concert to date has been The Tragically Hip tour for Man, Machine, Poem. We all know that this tour goes deeper than promoting an album due to lead singer Gord Downie’s cancer diagnosis.

My husband and I went to the Saturday concert on July 30. Every section was opened and all the seats were full. That sounds exciting but crowds are not something that I savour. The seating at Rexall is not comfortable and there aren’t appropriate hand rails, so I tend to feel like I’m going to fall over. I was unnerved, at the least.

We barely found our seats as the house lights went down and The Hip took the stage. The opening chords of “Blow at High Dough” careened through the air as we settled into our seats. There were very few people sitting and before long I was also on my feet. It’s unusual for me to stand during a concert due to the aforementioned lack of hand rails, but I spent most of that concert on my feet.

It surprised me how many lyrics of those songs came back to me. I haven’t heard some of those some shortly after high school but there they were ingrained in my memory and I shouted along with every one. Memories came back with each verse and I could feel that to be the case with the audience around me. They played “Courage” and a surge went through us. For whatever reason, that song has become an anthem and the energy it generated was almost primal. I never screamed as loud as I did when “Ahead by a Century” was played. It’s a sweet song about childhood that resonates with me.

I thought my energy was dwindling by the encores, but then they performed “Fireworks” and I screamed along and bounced with as much vigour as I had throughout the concert. All those songs and all those memories intertwined. It was an amazing performance and a wonderful audience and not something that I will soon forget.

_Keri lives and listens to music in Boyle Street. _

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