Calgarians join the rest of the country to honour The Tragically Hip with Kingston concert

Jeremy Butler arrived at the Stephen Avenue The Tragically Hip viewing party at about 3 p.m. Saturday. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

'They sing Canadian, they talk Canadian'

Man Machine Poem tour, Kingston, Ont., Aug. 20, 2016 4:48

Jeremy Butler arrived at The Tragically Hip viewing party on Calgary's Stephen Avenue at about 3 p.m. Saturday.

He didn't want to leave anything to chance.

"I think being able to share it with the city and being down here and part of this community," Butler said, pausing.

"You have never really, truly experienced The Tragically Hip until you have seen them live."

When asked why he was such a dedicated fan, he didn't hesitate.

Jeremy Butler got to Calgary's Stephen Avenue almost 4 hours before the live broadcast of The Tragically Hip Man Machine Poem tour finale from Kingston on Saturday. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

"It means everything," he said.

"My wife and I, we lost my father-in-law to the exact same thing a year prior to Gord [Downie] making his announcement with the glioblastoma, so what it means to me? It means everything. I have my father-in-law here with me, I feel it."

Butler was among countless Calgarians who lined up early at locations and venues across the city, joining fans across the province and country for live broadcasts of the group's Man Machine Poem tour finale.

Jason Baker would not have missed it for the world.

Jason Baker would not have missed the concert for anything. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

"I love the Hip. They made my childhood, they have had a huge influence on my life," Baker explained.

"I watched them Aug. 1 when they were [in Calgary] and I just wanted to see the final send off. Kingston is about 20 minutes from my hometown so I grew up watching these guys."

Baker says it's about a national identity and coming together.

A Calgary fan takes a moment to feel the music. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

"They sing Canadian, they talk Canadian," he said.

"I lived in the U.S. for a long time and I realized how Canadian they were when I came back."

Social media was blowing up Saturday evening with Canadians sharing their love for the group.

Broadcast events drew thousands in communities across the country as Canadians came together.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the Kingston, Ont., show, calling the group "an essential part of who we are."

Another Calgary fan just lets the music move through him. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

The lineup at the National Music Centre started early.

The lineup to get into the National Music Centre venue went around the block early in the afternoon. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

After the concert Jeff White said he was glad to see it on a big screen.

"I thought it was pretty unbelievable. Tragically Hip are probably the best Canadian band of all time. It is really emotional," White said.

"They killed it, I am blown away. I have shivers all up and down my spine. It was awesome.

Jeff White says it was an honour to see the concert on a big screen. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Their encore went on a lot longer than I thought it would but I am seriously just blown away. I am kind of fangirling."

He says the group's appeal is far and wide.

Hundreds enjoyed the concert at Calgary's newly-opened National Music Centre. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"It's a honour, it is just the kind of the music that just makes you feel everything. You can go and dance, you can cry, you can laugh, you can party to it. Gord is an amazing lyricist, crazy musician. They are all amazing. I am blown away, it is like winning the Stanley Cup."

Meanwhile, Butler says the group has always meant a lot to him.

"Everything," he said.

Calgary fans had many venue options to chose from Saturday for the Tragically Hip concert broadcast. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

"The Hip sing to the Canadian soul and if you don't get it then you probably never will. They have given everything to us over the last 30 years, the least we can do is give back a little bit of our time."

With files from Andrew Brown, Evelyne Asselin

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