Life in progress

“Armed with will and determination, and grace, too.”


I may sound like a broken record, and for that I apologize. It’s the Canadian thing to do, eh? But I feel the need to record this both for myself and on behalf of my fellow Canadians.

There is no power equal to that of music. It brings us together and gives us, as humans, a connection that crosses all barriers. As one who has traveled the world for the privilege of hearing it live, I can attest to this. It’s one thing to listen to it on the radio, or on your home stereo, knowing that you can replay it a million times, but that’s light years from standing before a stage, surrounded by not only the sound but the energy, the vibration, and the unique experience that is being at a concert. It must be that, times ten, for the performers.

So we come to the point. The Tragically Hip. In case you somehow missed the news, their lead singer, Gordon Downie, was diagnosed in May with terminal brain cancer. Their final concert last night at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston was a one-off like none other. I watched as Gordie stood on stage with his eyes closed, absorbing the sound, the experience, just as I have so many times. Living in that moment because that moment was all he had, and all he will ever have. I pray he wasn’t in pain, that the adrenaline was enough. We, as a country, watched as he bravely did what he does best. If he’s like me, he shared with us what he loves the most besides his family – the power of music.

He spoke about The Hip’s third performance in Kingston, 28 years ago, when six people attended the show. Last night it’s estimated that 11.7 million Canadians watched their final performance. It wasn’t enough for me to watch it after the fact: I needed to feel the undeniable connection of my country, my Prime Minister who was there at the concert less than an hour from where I live, and of course, the band.

This video, choppy as it is, shows a moment at the end that will stay with me for the rest of my life. As someone on twitter said last night, we watched a man who is dying. With Courage and Grace, Too.

Grace, Too

He said, “I’m fabulously rich, come on just let’s go”
She kind of bit her lip, “Jeez, I don’t know”
But I can guarantee, there’ll be no knock on the door
I’m total pro, that’s what I’m here for

I come from downtown, born ready for you
Armed with will and determination, and grace, too

The secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse
When the appearance of conflict meets the appearance of force
But I can guarantee, there’ll be no knock on the door
I’m total pro here, that’s what I’m here for

I come from downtown, born ready for you
Armed with skill and it’s frustration, and grace, too

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

19 thoughts on ““Armed with will and determination, and grace, too.”

  1. Pingback: 48. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right | Linda G. Hill

  2. Here in the UK, the Guardian newspaper has a tribute article about the Tragically Hip, and the devastating news about Gord…’The Tragically Hip, a band so embedded in the national psyche that their lead singer has been hailed the country’s unofficial poet laureate’…There is a picture of Gord and Justin Trudeau. Sounds like a once in a lifetime occasion. Good to be together.


    • It really was a special thing. I’m not even a fan of the band, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
      The word “Canada” comes from the Iroquois word “kanata” which means “village.” Saturday night was probably the closest the second-largest country in the world will ever come to having a village gathering.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂


  3. Thanks Linda. I needed Kleenex again! Truly a fantastic man and a legend Gordie will always be remembered for. Such a sad thing for the whole band to have to absorb as well. I couldn’t believe his stamina performing for over 2 hours with hardly a break, sweating and shouting his songs out with all he had in him. Truly a courageous soul. Thank you. ❤


  4. Rats! I couldn’t watch the video. Message said that it was owned by the CBC and they blocked it on copyright grounds. Maybe I’ll be able to watch on YouTube.


  5. I feel the same way being a Hip fan from the beginning. I went to see it at a public forum just to feel the connection with others and taped it at home. Just after the storm sequence in the concert, a storm blew into Grand Bend and stopped the show. Drove home in teeming rain but watched the full show at home, so glad I taped it!
    Now I feel sad. What a powerful concert!


  6. Wow. What a way to say goodbye to his fans. Powerful.


  7. So very, very cool=hanging with Justin at the Hip concert.


  8. I understand what you mean about the end of the video, it was indeed very moving.


  9. I had never heard of them – did they not come to the US. They are my generation of music – I ,too, am a musician. keyboard player. i haven’t gigged in awhile but I still write and record a lot of improv found at soundcloud. look for sonni-quick. enuff about me. Since the sound wasn’t very good on your recording I found some other videos. Better late than never. It will be a heartbreaker for many at the end.


Don't hesitate - jump right in!

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.