#491: My First Tragically Hip Experience, by Scotty G (Guest Shot)


GETTING MORE TALE #491: My First Tragically Hip Experience, by Scotty G

As fans know, Gordon Downie of the Tragically Hip was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  It is devastating news.  Downie, living his life as an artist, has decided to go out as an artist and do a farewell tour in support of the new album Man Machine Poem.  As writers, we have been trying to come up with a way to honour the man without dwelling on the negative.  With that in mind, in a multi-site event, we have several posts for you today to honour the man and the legend, Mr. Gord Downie.  Mikeladano.com’s contribution  is this guest shot by the King of Rock Knowledge, and fellow ‘Fester, Scott.  He is what I like to refer to as a “Jedi Master of rock”, the kind of man that can pass down stories and legends to the next generation.  Scotty had the chance to see The Hip back in the early, early days and…well see for yourself!  Please welcome Mr. Scotty G!

Other tributes:
James at the KMA: I’m total pro, that’s what I’m here for
Aaron at the KMA: Gord Downie Tribute
Boppin’s Blog: Gord Downie – My Favourite Moments
Geoff at the 1001 Albums: The Tragically Hip: Ordinary Guys, Extraordinary Group
Sarca at Caught Me Gaming: That Night in Markham: My Tragically Hip Story (1993)
Deke from Stick It In Your Ear: Tragically Hip – Road Apples review

My first Hip experience was around 1988 or so, just prior to the release of Up To Here (1989). Somewhere after the Spoons and Rough Trade, and possibly prior to Sass Jordan, (I cant remember) at a Canada Day concert at Molson Park in Barrie, the Tragically Hip hit the stage.

Obviously young and lacking a whole lot of support, they carried their amps on stage themselves, placed them on chairs and started to play. I was kind of familiar with “Last American Exit” from the video, but that was it. They hit the stage and I was BLOWN AWAY. Mid-set, after really rocking one out, Gord called out to the crowd and asked if anyone had a dime? Literally, the crowd pelted the stage with change.  Gord grabbed the coin of choice and proceeded to tighten a screw in his mic stand. He thanked the crowd for the help, and they blasted into another tune.

Months later, with this show still in the forefront of my mind, Up To Here was released and with it came more opportunities to see the Hip in many small venues. One in particular, the Highlands in Cambridge*, always offered up good opportunities to meet bands and in this case a couple of us were welcomed into the dressing room where Gord very politely obliged our fan talk.  Joint after joint flew from Johnny Fay’s expert rolling fingers. Although it’s a long time ago, I have a good memory of it. I have to add that I am still amazed that he gave us the time of day, and seemed cool with having two 17 or 18-year-olds sitting in the dressing room asking silly questions while the band got stoned….

I got to see the Hip many times after that, and look back on those early performances with fondness. I never saw them live after the Road Apples tour, but will always recall the welcome that Gord and the band gave two young fans after a great show in Cambridge. He is a cool shit….


* I saw the London Quireboys at Highlands in Cambridge in December 1990 



  1. Ah the Highlands. Went to see an AC/DC tribute band play there back in the day. I recall it had an upper floor overlooking the stage. I think it was located somewhere near the hospital. It was torn down at some point. Not sure though.

    Liked by 1 person

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s