Kitchener-Waterloo

Gord Downie's songs 'drip with Canadiana:' Tragically Hip fans react

Local fans of The Tragically Hip reacted online to news Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.

Local fans react to news Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer

Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip sings during the band's perfromance at the Concert for Toronto on June 21, 2003. (Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press)

Fans in Waterloo region reacted with shock and sadness after hearing Tuesday that frontman Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip has terminal brain cancer.

"It didn't really sink in right away," said Craig Dougan, the lead singer of Almost Hip, a Tragically Hip cover band that has been playing shows since October 1990.

"It was devastating news, obviously, but I wasn't sure how to react," he said after receiving the news via Facebook Tuesday morning.

Dougan, a self-described groupie, has seen the band several times including tours in Europe and the United States. But the first time was in a club called Ballingers in Cambridge, Ont.

I don't think there's too many people writing lyrics like he does.- Craig Dougan, lead singer of Almost Hip

He said the club was wall-to-wall with people, it was hot and the performance was tense.

Downie, he said, was "incredible."

"I don't think there's too many people writing lyrics like he does. A lot of music comes out of Canada, but you don't see the same style of writing," he said. "Everybody will interpret it their own way and that's great. Even myself, as a lyricist, I want people to interpret my music in their own special way."

'Still the best concert'

Other fans took to social media to share their thoughts on the news and their memories of seeing The Hip live.

People also reacted on the CBC KW Facebook page.

Dougan said The Hip are icons in the Canadian music industry.

"Their music and their lyrics drip with Canadiana," he said, adding the plan for the Tragically Hip to tour this summer is unsurprising.

"It's like saying good-bye," Dougan said. "It's definitely him being able to go across the country one more time."

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