Super fans reflect on Tragically Hip concert in Winnipeg
They came from Thunder Bay and Halifax, and fought cancer to see their favourite band take the stage
The cheers echoed onto the streets of downtown Winnipeg on Friday night as the Tragically Hip filled the MTS Centre with their iconic tunes.
For many of their biggest fans, the concert was an emotional journey with a band they have known and loved for decades.
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The Tragically Hip's lead singer, Gord Downie, announced earlier this summer he has an incurable form of brain cancer. Some of the proceeds of this summer's tour will be donated to Sunnybrook Foundation to support cancer research.
Joanne Schiewe and her partner Jared Spier said the reaction from the crowd, especially during New Orleans is Sinking, was elating.
Schiewe, 35, has glioblastoma, the same type of cancer as Downie, and she wasn't sure she would live long enough to see the show.
The Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation made sure the couple got tickets and even arranged for them to go in through a separate door, so Schiewe could conserve her energy for the main event.
"[For Joanne] seeing Gord Downie fight on to keep doing what he loves to do, to keep on at his normal level of amazing, was absolutely inspiring," Spier said after the show.
"Jo didn't get to race her Half-Ironman two weeks ago ... so this was certainly a great consolation."
Spier said the show was more than they could have hoped for.
"The circumstances, both for Joanne and for Gord, obviously just made it mean that much more."
'Thank you to Canada's Beatles'
Jennifer and Greg Beaulne drove from Thunder Bay, Ont., to Winnipeg because it was the show closest to them.
The couple said price and distance were not a problem when it came to seeing "a loved one for the last time." They acquired tickets through a promo code they received from a cousin, which made them feel like the journey was meant to be.
Jennifer said the Tragically Hip's performance showed what powerful medicine music can be.
"The word cancer touches us all ... Friday night in the 'Peg will never be forgotten, and not because of the trials and tribulations of a disease [whose] prognoses is bleak but for a few hours of recognition, thanks, pride and love."
Greg said the Tragically Hip had provided the soundtrack to countless backyard parties, traffic commutes and sporting events.
"It was important that I go because this was the last chance to see a band that had been so important to me, so important to our national identity, so influential to our culture as a country and its vast reach," he said.
"Tears were shed, people danced and a great time was had by all. Thank you to 'Canada's Beatles'."
'I knew I had to see a show'
The distance between Halifax, N.S., and Winnipeg didn't stop Rory Young and his daughter, Kira, from watching the Tragically Hip take the stage.
The day tickets went on sale Rory sat refreshing the website for 40 minutes to ensure that he'd get seats and his daughter would have a chance to see the band.
Rory is originally from Winnipeg, so it was the natural destination when he found out the tour wouldn't be heading east of Toronto.
"The last time I saw the Hip in Winnipeg, I was a single guy. Tonight, my 12-year-old daughter is seeing her first Hip show with me and my nephew his second. This is my 37th show," Rory said.
"I thought the walls were going to crumble when Gord walked on stage. He could've read the phone book out loud and it still would've been a great show," he said.
What was it like for Kira?
"Loud, but really great. I really felt a bond between everybody in the room," she said.