By Steve Newton
With the big nationwide broadcast of the Tragically Hip‘s Kingston concert just two days away, it’s time to travel back to another time when Canada as a whole was psyched about seeing Gord and the boys do their thing on the small screen.
On March 25, 1995, the Hip played Saturday Night Live, when one of my fave actors, John Goodman (“Mark it zero!”), was hosting. Fellow Kingstonite Dan Aykroyd introduced the band, which surprised the hell out of peeps by not opening with a certified crowd-pleasing rocker like “New Orleans is Sinking” or “Little Bones”, but instead offering up its slow-boiling single “Grace, Too”. Downie changed the opening line from “He said I’m fabulously rich” to “He said I’m tragically hip”, because he could.
Looking back, I remember how thrilled I was when the band chose “Nautical Disaster” as its other SNL selection, because that’s probly my fave Hip song ever. I can’t believe their stirring performance of that genius tune didn’t break down that border barrier once and for all and make them multiplatinum superstars in the States.
Anyway, less than four months after that historic Saturday Night Live gig I asked Downie about it, and he was his usual expansive and expressive self.
Have a listen:
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