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Every night on The Tragically Hip’s 2016 cross-Canada tour, frontman Gord Downie stood alone at the end of the night looking out at the crowd – waving, blowing kisses, bowing, giving the thumbs up.

A long, last look at the audience – and then exited the stage.

October 17, 2017 was his final exit. Long Time Running a tribute to Downie premiered on Oct. 20th.

Gord Downie6

An Unjust Bit Of Thievery

Downie, co-founder of one of Canada’s most loved bands – fondly known as “The Hip” – knew every concert exit was poignant. Downie was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.

His diagnosis was a double whammy as Downie’s wife faced her own battle with breast cancer in 2012. Laura has recovered. The Globe’s Marsha Lederman termed Downie’s cancer, “a real robbery – an immensely unjust bit of thievery.”

There was a lot to like about Downie beyond his music, especially the will, determination, and grace he called upon for the tour.

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 7: Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, for Ben Rayner interview. (Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

TORONTO, ON – JUNE 7: Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, for Ben Rayner interview. (Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Now For Plan A

The Hip formed up in 1984 – a group of high school buddies. They won fourteen Juno awards and the hearts of devoted fans along the way. They’ve also faced their challenges.

Downie described his struggles with Laura’s cancer to George Stroumboulopulos, “There were a lot of emotions. You know, anger, fear, impatience. Impatience is a big one. Love. You’re just clamoring to help… It was hard to write because that felt, somehow, I don’t know, not right.”Gord Downie

The Lookahead

Her battles had a major influence on Downie when he began to write again for the album Now for Plan A featuring the song “The Lookahead.” He termed the effort and creativity in writing the songs as “rafter scratching.”

The Lookahead is about a look his wife would give that silently assured him, “Its gonna be alright. You know everythings gonna be alright. No matter what.”

I go back to the brusque nurse
Her heart a bad cake in a melting box
I thought you should know it’s no worse
Her blood is still clear and sanguineous
You weigh a snowflake
The glamour of the sky
Past perfect eyes
And hearts leapt
To give me the lookahead
C’mon honey just gimme that lookahead.gord downie2

Its Gonna Be Alright

It seems like so many of those close to me are needing their own lookahead. Cathy, Katie, Linda, Carolyn, Cindy, Kathy – all facing cancer. They are wives, moms, sisters, daughters, grandmothers.

One refrain has echoed over and over from each one – “I don’t know how I would get through this without my faith in Jesus.” They feel assured everything is “gonna be alright.”

Cherish your life and your loved ones.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Faye Marie Dombrowski says:

    My former sister-in-law was diagnosed in May with glioblastoma – the same cancer Gord Downie has. She loves the Lord & has come to terms with the diagnosis. I am sending her your book “Ornament” as an encouragement for her & her husband.

  • bob jones says:

    Thank you for letting me know. Prayed for your sister-in-law. I trust Kristen’s story of faith, hope and joy would be a light for her and to let her know God can be trusted. He is good.

  • adena lowry says:

    My husband and I huge Hip fans. We sat and watched the Kingston concert on Saturday night holding hands and reminiscing about our dating days and the Hip. I’ve been praying for Gord Downie to find Jesus in all this. The lines from “Fully Completely” have been rolling around my head, “It’ll move me, or it’ll move right through me – fully completely”. I think that’s what it’s like with the Holy Spirit if you let him.

  • bob jones says:

    Saw it too. I liked some of The Hip songs on the radio without knowing it was The Hip. Gord announcing that he had cancer got my attention. The man sure gets into his songs. Gotta believe he and his wife have someone in their lives who are devoted to Jesus and sharing and praying for them.

  • rob wells says:

    im sure Gord called on Jesus, even if it was in his last breath Jesus will be waiting for him bcs thats how Jesus rolls, im not condoneing waiting to your last moment to call on Him bcs you likely wont get that chance and “Hell aint no place to be.

  • Priscilla Ireland says:

    I’m a super Fan of The Hip and I was heartbroken when Front Man Gord had go on to be with the Lord..We will see him one day as I’m a strong believer in God..My prayers go out to his wife&Children…May God wrap his arms around you and Comfort you…Amen..

  • Bob Jones says:

    Have you seen “Long Time Running?” Canada’s love fest with The Hip. Remarkable devotion from Downie to do one last tour. And a band together for 30 years – friends first – landing their legacy safely in their final concert.

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