Tragically Hip fans at backyard party in Surrey celebrate band’s final concert in a most Canadian way (photos, video)

Nearly 200 people gathered at Port Kells-area home for CBC broadcast and performance by The Hip Show tribute band

Jeremy Deane and pal Dawn Reynolds-Pigeon address the crowd of close to 200 people at a Tragically Hip-themed party and fundraiser at a home in the Port Kells area of Surrey on Saturday night

“No dress rehearsal,” sang Gord Downie, his face beaming from a big screen set up on the grass.

“This is our life.”

Tears flowed while The Tragically Hip played “Ahead by a Century” as the show-closing song of their final concert.

Downie, too sick with brain cancer to continue touring, led the beloved band through 30 songs in a nationally-televised performance from their hometown of Kingston, Ont., last Saturday night (Aug. 20).

Here in Surrey, a couple hundred people gathered in the tree-lined backyard of a Port Kells-area home, to sing along one final time.

They danced, too, and also ate and drank and hugged and hooted and hollered.

These hardcore Hip fans celebrated the band in a most Canadian way, on a beautiful summer evening surrounded by lawn chairs, coolers and friends, both old and new.

“Right now, I’m covered in tears and covered in joy,” Jeremy Deane told the crowd following the CBC broadcast.

“I don’t know half of you here tonight,” he said into a microphone, “but you’re coming up to me saying, ‘Wow, this is so awesome, thank you,’ and that’s what this was meant to be. It’s not just a party… it has everything to do with celebrating the Tragically Hip but specifically Gordon Downie.

“This was a dream night.”

Indeed, Deane, along with his girlfriend Paula Turrie, party host Dawn Reynolds-Pigeon and other pals, made the Hip’s swan song something very special.

They spent weeks clearing the yard, planning the potluck food and building a covered stage for The Hip Show, a long-established Tragically Hip tribute band that played two sets of music following the televised concert.

Rarely has the word “tribute” been more appropriate.

“I’m very nervous, because this is the real deal and such a celebration of everything that band has done,” Matt Mattson, singer with The Hip Show, said as the Kingston band played.

“It’s going to be beautiful but it’s all with mixed emotions.… We’re following the Tragically Hip tonight, and that’s a big container to carry. I just want to do ’em right.”

Bandleader Joe Foley nodded in agreement, alongside fellow guitarist David Van Andel and bassist Brad Uchida.

“After Gord’s illness was announced,” Uchida recalled, “I was getting calls and messages from friends asking, ‘Are you OK?’ And yes, personally, I’m OK, we’re OK, but it really got me thinking about the word ‘tribute,’ and what we do as a tribute band. That word means more now, because we really are paying tribute to that band, that man, their music. It’s a legacy thing now, and I’ve never been more proud, and privileged, to be in this position, to pay that tribute. It’s pretty overwhelming, actually.”

Deane, who has seen The Hip Show several times at bars such as Dublin Crossing, in the Clayton area, is among the biggest Hip fans Foley and the others have ever met.

“They’re fans of the band, our band, and now they’re friends, too,” Foley explained.

“Weeks ago I went looking for gigs to play tonight, on the Hip’s final night, and we could be playing in Stratford, Ontario right now, but no, we’re here, close to home. We had some offers but the best offer was right here, even with the production challenges we had here. It’s been great.”

As The Tragically Hip played, people lined up to drink Fireball whisky poured down a tube embedded in an ice sculpture made with Downie’s likeness.

Across the yard, event-goers posed for photos in a picture frame hung from the trees while holding a block of wood with the hashtag “#COURAGEFORGORD” printed on it.

Legendary B.C. Lions receiver Geroy Simon was among those who posed for a photo, along with his wife, Tracy Lasorsa-Simon.

The game of football was a common bond among many in this crowd of mostly 30- and 40-something parents, through the program at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Cloverdale.

“I don’t know all of the band’s songs,” said Simon, an American who grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, “but my wife sure does, because she’s Canadian.”

Ultimately, the private-party hosts wanted to celebrate the Hip by raising money for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research, via Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

And they sure did on Saturday night, to the tune of close to $3,500 through $25-a-head ticket sales, a raffle, 50/50 draw, “Twonie Toss” contest and cash donations.

The Hip Show gave back, too, by donating $500 to the cause.

Next up for the band is a show on Saturday, Sept. 24 at South Surrey’s Sawbucks Pub, currently being renovated following a fire there back in April.

In the meantime, the band and their fans will remember that night in Port Kells.

“This was such a special presentation, something we’ll probably never experience again,” Deane emphasized.

“What a great night.”

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Volunteers, donations needed as ‘Whalley Santa Cause’ returns to Surrey’s 135A Street

Volunteers will descend on the Surrey ‘Strip’ to give hampers to homeless on Christmas Day, but help is needed

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Right before Christmas, Surrey woman with two kids loses everything in fire

Bentley, her husband, and her two boys who have health issues are now left homeless

California competition gives Tamanawis an edge in high school hoops

The senior boys team played four games and watched UCLA in action last month

Surrey RCMP report ‘Tank-ful’ ending to stolen pit bull puppy case

Tank was reported stolen in late September, when he was 8 weeks old

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

5 to start your day

A rhyming MP getting into the Christmas spirit on the hill, Langley boy chased by two men and more

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Full Cupboard Holiday Program: Raising food, funds and awareness.

Envision Financial and Langley Advance support area food banks this season

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Most Read