When Gord Downie died Oct. 17, 2017, after a brave battle with brain cancer, Canada's favorite rock band, the Tragically Hip, lost its beloved frontman.
The first time I saw Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip perform was in a field in the middle of nowhere in Western Ontario in 1993. I was still living in my hometown of Buffalo, New York at the time, and I'd been a fan of the Hip since hearing their music on radio station CFNY. Buffalo is as Canadian as America gets; many people are dual citizens of both countries, and Buffalonians have easy access to Ontario, especially the cultural mecca of Toronto. Standing in that muddy field with 30,000 people, I felt for the first time the powerful connection between the Tragically Hip and their home country, swept into a vortex of screaming fans waving the Canadian flag and wearing Maple Leafs gear. Gord was the charismatic ringmaster, jerking and flailing all around the stage as if the music was flowing through him and he had no control over his body. I would see the band many times over the next 20 years, and I always walked out thinking I'd just seen the best concert ever.
Downie and his four high school buddies from Kingston, Ontario, formed the band in 1983. Their tight, energetic rock sound was the perfect platform for his poetic lyrics, which frequently told stories of colorful Canadian icons; even so, Downie also released five solo albums with his last being released at the end of this month. We'll always have the music Gord and the Hip gave us; in this gallery, we look at their greatest performances. –Kirk Fox