Last night the the first of three shows that the Tragically Hip will perform this week on their Man Machine Poem tour, what will most likely be the last tour of the iconic Canadian band.
For the band's immense local fanbase, "That night in Toronto" is more than a lyric from Bobcaygeon -- another Hip classic named for a town where Leafs alumni Allan Stanley, Johnny Bower and Bob Goldham spent considerable time in their post-hockey lives
"That night in Toronto" is the starting point for a story from one of many memories and many nights in Toronto. Many nights that have spanned a 30-plus year career at the forefront of Canadian music. A career that has captivated crowds at Maple Leaf Gardens, Air Canada Centre and venues across the city. A career that has physically imprinted the band on Toronto's streets as part of Canada's Walk of Fame.
One of the most famous connections between the band and the team is featured in the song Fifty Mission Cap, about the late Maple Leafs defender Bill Barilko, whom I wrote about last month.
As part of the Maple Leafs centennial, the banners that were hanging in the Air Canada Centre were removed and will be brought to the players hometowns. All are on their way across Canada and the world. Except for one:
The team raised the Barilko banner one more time, at the bands request, to be spotlighted during Fifty Mission Cap.
There are two more shows in Toronto, Friday August 12th, and Sunday August 14th. After that they stop in Hamilton on August 16th, Ottawa on August 18th, and the final show will be in the band's hometown of Kingston, at the OHL arena that is located on Tragically Hip Way.
The final show will be broadcast live on CBC Television, Radio, Youtube, and via their website and many municipalities are having public screenings. St. Catharines sold out their OHL arena, with 4,800 free tickets to watch the game being handed out, Niagara Parks Commission will screen the concert at Queen Victoria Park, at the top of the Horseshoe Falls. Toronto has many spots to watch the show, including the CNE bandshell, with a pre-show concert by Jefferson Starship, Horseshoe Tavern, and Revue Theatre among the choices. All events are free, but donations to various charities will be accepted.