The Tragically Hip kicked off their 15-date cross-Canada farewell tour with a bang in Victoria tonight.
Fans from across the country packed the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center for what is expected to be the legendary Canadian band’s final performance in the city.
“We saw them twice last year, and then the bad news came earlier this year, so you got to show up and support the boys,” said one fan just before the show.
“I think its going to be hard to watch too, but were just so thrilled to be able to see them so it will be good,” said another.
Lead singer Gord Downie took to the stage decked out in a shimmering pink suit, his first concert since it was announced he’d been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer just months ago.
Chris Mushumanski tweeted “Gord’s voice is excellent!! He is in amazing shape.”
Downie led the band through two tracks from their seminal 1989 record Up to Here to kick off the show, starting with Boots or Hearts and then launching into chart-topper New Orleans is Sinking.
Mary Griffin tweeted “Surrounded by fans crazy for him. Gord Downie is slaying it in
The Hip then played several tracks from their latest release Man Machine Poem including Machine and In a World Possessed by the Human Mind.
Downie ditched the pink and switched into to a silver suit for 1998’s Something On and Bobcaygeon.
“The energy in here is insane” wrote Chris Kerr.
The Tragically Hip move on to Vancouver next for shows on Sunday and Tuesday at Rogers Arena.
The tour winds up on August 20th in Kingston, Ontario where the band formed back in 1984.
It may well mark the end of a three decade musical journey that has seen their music touch legions of fans across the country.
If tonight is any indication, it promises to be a long and rousing farewell.