Tragically Hip Tour Dates
The Tragically Hip have been living their music dreams for over thirty years, yet that hasn’t had any effect on their desire to keep on making good music and playing live shows for their millions of fans around the world. In Canada, they are widely considered to be national icons and have enjoyed a cult status in the music industry ever since their debut, with the government even releasing a series of stamps to commemorate their thirty years in the business, in 2013.
The band was originally the idea of three friends Gordon Downie (lead vocals, guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass, backing vocals) and Rob Baker (guitar). They were students at the Kingston Collegiate in Ontario, Canada and had been friends for quite some time before they decided to start a band together in 1984. All three had displayed a penchant for playing rock music, and they decided to look for likeminded individuals to complement their sound.
So they brought in Johnny Fay to play the drums and percussions, as well as saxophonist Davis Manning to add a unique element to their sound. He did not last for long however, and would eventually leave the band, with guitarist and backing vocalist Paul Langlois taking his place instead.
After initially going through several band names, the group finally settled on the Tragically Hip after watching a movie by Michael Nesmith called ‘Elephant Parts.’ This film contained a series of music videos, each of which was followed by a corresponding comedy sketch about various topics. One of these sketches was called the Tragically Hip and would eventually inspire the band’s name.
After the band had officially been formed, they embarked on an extensive concert tour and travelled across the country playing almost anywhere they could. They started off by doing sets in bars and pubs before moving on to bigger and more, well established, venues. Slowly and surely they built a fan base and started to receive ample airplay on Canadian radio channels. Before long their popularity had crept across the border in to the US as well, and their rise to superstardom seemed inevitable.
Their popularity in the US had caught the attention of recording companies and eventually prompted Bruce Dickinson, an employee of the Music Corporation of America (MCA) to take notice as well. He first saw the group perform in New York, before he travelled to Canada to see them perform at the Toronto Music Awards. By this time he had been suitably impressed, and signed them to a recording contract soon after.
The Hips released their first record, a self titled EP in 1987 and it contained eight of their original songs, with fan favorite track “Highway Girl” making its first appearance on this album as well. The EP received an underwhelming response when it was first released, except for the song, which became a mild hit, and helped set the standard for their first full studio album.
Called “Up to Here,” their debut album came out in 1989 and it properly introduced the public to their sound. It became a massive hit in the country and went on to be certified Diamond. It also made it to number thirteen on the Canadian music charts and recorded their first appearance on the Billboard 200. Even today it is among their bestselling records of all-time, and even won them their first Juno Award in 1990.
By the time the 90s rolled around, the Hips were among the trendiest bands in Canada and were fast making a name for themselves in the US. They kicked off the decade with the album “Road Apples” in 1991 and like its predecessor, it became an overnight success. It became their first record to top the Canadian music charts and was even certified eight times platinum in the country.
During the rest of this time period, they released four more albums, starting with “Fully Completely” in 1992, “Day for Night” in 1994, “Trouble at the Henhouse” in 1996 and “Phantom Power” in 1998. All four topped the Canadian music charts, while the last two also made it to the top ten of the US Top Heatseekers music charts. All of them also recorded multiplatinum sales in Canada, except for their 1992 record, which was certified diamond in the country.
Since the turn of the Millennia, the Hips have released a total of six albums, starting with the 2000 record “Music @ Work.” The album was an incredible success, and became their sixth straight record to make it to the number one spot on the Canadian music charts. It also made it to number eight on the US Heatseekers music charts and number hundred and thirty nine on the Billboard charts. Additionally the album recorded multiplatinum sales in Canada and made sure that the band celebrated the new millennium in style.
Since that time they have released five more albums, with 2004’s “In Between Evolution” and 2009’s “We Are the Same” making it to number one, 2002’s “In Violet Light” and 2006’s “World Container” making it to number two, as well as 2012’s “Now for Plan A” making it to number three, on the Canadian music charts. This last album also became their best performing record in the US, as it made it to number three on the US Heatseekers music list and a hundred and twenty nine on the Billboard charts.
After two years of touring and appearing in various music festivals, in 2014 the band decided to head back into the studio to make another album. Titled “Man Machine Poem,” the album was supposed to be another collection of their quality rock songs, and their fans couldn’t wait. However, in 2016 the band made a terrible announcement to the dismay of their fans.
Gordon Downie, their lead vocalist and guitarist of over thirty years, had been diagnosed with Brain Cancer. To make the news even worse, it was also announced that the cancer was incurable and even though his body had been responding to various treatments positively, there was a good chance that it wouldn’t really make much of a difference.
As soon as the news broke, fans, celebrities, friends and well wishers took to the internet and social media to express their solidarity with the singer and wish him, his family and the band well. With such a sad story dominating the news, it came as a surprise when a few days later the band announced their plans to head out on tour in the summer of 2016. Keeping in mind Downie’s illness, this might be the last major tour they perform together, and as such, they wanted to go out on their own terms, with a farewell to remember for all time.
The Tragically Hip have been a very successful band, but perhaps what is even more important, is that they have managed to stay consistent throughout their career. The quality they exhibited in their very first album over thirty years ago is the same as the album they released recently, and maintaining the same lineup throughout most of their history has helped as well. Each member of the band brings something unique and special to the table, and forms an important cog that is essential for the growth of the group.
However, in 2016 fans everywhere were shocked to learn that one of these cogs was suffering from a serious illness. Gordon Downie’s Brain Cancer diagnosis left many wondering whether the group would be able to survive the impact of such a loss and how they could even hope to continue. But, in typical Hips fashion they proved to the people that they are made of sterner stuff. Not only will they be releasing a brand new album soon, they will also be heading out on tour; probably the last one featuring Downie. By the look of things, this might be the last tour of the original lineup of the band. So if you don’t want to miss out, then get your Tragically Hip Tour tickets as soon as possible and watch these living legends on stage, possibly for the last time.