Toronto Mike

The Tragically Hip at the ACC

I attended a Hip concert for the twelfth time last night. I fear it may have also been my last.

It's the first time I've gone solo to a Hip show, so I jumped on my bike at 6:30pm and head east to the ACC. It was hot, tailgaters were having a blast by Ontario Place and Jays fans were collecting near the dome. I locked up my bike, bought a tee shirt and got to my seat by 8pm.


The Hip opened with Courage and didn't let up for 2.5 hours. It was an incredible performance with a stellar playlist. What struck me as a huge fan for 27 years was how heavy certain lyrics sound when sung by a man with terminal brain cancer.

Use it up
Use it all up
Don't save a thing for later
~ Use It Up
Okay, you made me scared, you did what you set out to do
And I'm not prepared, you really had me going there for a minute or two
He said, you made me scared too, I wasn't sure I was getting through
I got to go, it's been a pleasure doing business with you
~ Scared
This one thing probably never goes away
I think this one thing is always supposed to stay
This one thing doesn't have to go away
~ Fireworks
See when it starts to fall apart
Man, it really falls apart
Like boots or hearts, oh when they start
They really fall apart, well fall apart
~ Boots or Hearts

The Tragically HIp closed with Ahead By a Century. In '99 I heard them play this song at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Then, it felt hopeful, but last night it felt like goodbye.

Stare in the morning shroud and then the day began
I tilted your cloud, you tilted my hand
Rain falls in real time and rain fell through the night
No dress rehearsal, this is our life
~ Ahead By A Century

What I'll remember most is the total and absolute mutual adoration and admiration. All 20,000 were there to let Gord know he's appreciated. I have never, ever heard the ACC that loud, and I was at the gold medal juniors game against Russia. This level of love and respect was something very, very special.


Gord was in good spirits the entire night, full of knowing smiles and delivering the strong performance to which we Hip fans have grown accustomed. When Gord stood on stage after Ahead By a Century before the house lights went on, I didn't want him to leave. I wanted him to stay there forever. I did not want this concert to end.

Loudest I've ever heard it in here— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) August 13, 2016

Then, in the dark of night, I rode home along the lake, singing Hip songs as I pedaled.

.@thehipdotcom No, thank you. Thank you forever.— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) August 13, 2016


Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)
Locked in the Trunk of a Car
At the Hundredth Meridian
In a World Possessed by the Human Mind
In Sarnia
What Blue
The Dire Wolf
Use It Up
It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken
Throwing Off Glass
Grace, Too
Greasy Jungle
Nautical Disaster
Something On
New Orleans Is Sinking
Boots or Hearts
Blow at High Dough
Encore 2:
Gift Shop
Ahead by a Century

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