I have had questions, so many about life that I am still unsure of, and so many of those questions were answered in the past nights, by Gord Downie. Some of them were about him, and some of them were for him, and most of those questions he answered through metaphors, images and smiles, not similes. On how one would like to go. Is the worst way reserved for the happiest and most successful? Or is it reserved for those who have figured out life? And in that case, is that person the one that can handle this?
Gord has answered these questions for me. In his grief, he is dramatic, because it’s all just a gift shop. Every lyrical cadence written years ago seemed to enhance this moment of his, as if his judgements on life and death, happiness and fear would all explode for this perfect time. This is our life.
To some, the show was a celebration of his music. To others it was a celebration of Canada. To all, it was a show of strength in the untimely nature of life. To the curious musician- would pitch, timbre, tone, rhythm be affected by this cruel disease? If so, would the average person notice?
My first impression was worry – until the first note. Pitch is something that people take for granted. They assume that musicians are born with the innate ability to sing, to play and to find their first note. But there are chords comprising harmony, and an introduction. For even a well trained ear, there are still at least 3 probabilities in a musical chord to begin the song. And when he did, watch the band through a bunch of dancers… I knew right then and there, that he would be okay.
Like many of you, I have been in love with Gord Downie for seemingly my whole life. His voice and his smile; his insight and his smile. I have loved his awkward look, as if his mother dressed him for Sunday School and told him to be a good boy. I loved that his eyes were always high. I became a DJ because of my love for music, and The Tragically Hip were my first.
I attended most of the shows, because I needed to. I needed answers to so many of my Hip questions, and my questions about my life. During the sets, I wondered why this song? In Kingston, I questioned their choices. Was the band trying to play every song in fear that they would never get another chance? Or was it because their die-hard fans expected it. Was “Fiddler’s Green,” once a song that was too hard to play, now played at the perfect time? Would this give Gord peace?
Journalists have hung on to his “last” words, but as any Tragically Hip fan knows, it is in what Gord Downie has not said where there is meaning. It’s the pauses, the gestures, the tilts, the mannerisms and the silence. He didn’t need to mention cancer, or the cruelty of this disease; it just wasn’t his to mention. He didn’t need to give a voice to the fundraising, or the people who were going through the same battle as him. He said nothing.
And that to me, was everything.