Did you hear it?
That was the sound of Canadians nationwide and around the world pausing for three hours to be part of The Hip’s final concert in Kingston, Ontario.
It was beautiful to watch the event industry come together to bring the show to Canadians, for there was a moment, one you can’t quite put a finger on, when this was no longer simply a concert—but an event.
You could perhaps say, it was when Gord Downie, who despite dealing with terminal cancer, committed to his fans to move forward with the Man Machine Poem tour. Or when the CBC recognized the outrage from fans when tour tickets sold out in minutes and went into action to broadcast worldwide, a commercial free concert.
This is the power of emotional connections in events. No marketing gimmicks, simply pure, raw emotion and a commitment by Downie, the band, and an industry, to bring the poet’s music to Canadians.
The event was like a rolling thunder, building across the nation, live streamed from stadiums, in bars and clubs and city halls—30,000 alone, gathered at Kingston’s Springer Market Square.
In Toronto, The Danforth Music Hall, Exhibition Stadium, even Union Station carried the concert. From coast to coast, fans gathered to sing with The Hip, an outpouring of love for the musical poet, their hero – Gord Downie.
In Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Halifax, Fredericton, St. John’s, all through the territories and everywhere in between we gathered. Fans tweeted from Ireland and Malta, Canadian athletes in Rio gathered at the Canadian consulate.
So many logistics, so many hearts filled. Thank you to the event professionals who made it happen. But most of all, Thank You Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip for opening your heart and soul and letting Canadians in.
You can channel your emotion into donating, for Gord, and for others you love touched by cancer.