The Tragically Hip - "A National Celebration" [DVD Review]

- Jan 23, 2018 at 10:53AM
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Rating: 8 out of 10
Last year Canadians lost a piece of their history which they're never going to get back, The Tragically Hip - a band that was truly a reflection of a nation, from the coast of Nova Scotia to the mountains of BC.

After the passing of Gord Downie, every Canadian knew that on some level we all felt a piece of Canadiana leave us. As gloomy as that may sound, there's a silver lining that spun itself into gold by reminding us how unforgettable The Hip really are, and that's A National Celebration. This DVD captures the commemorative live event celebrating the band's last-ever performance in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario.

The guys did a brilliant job of keeping the uplifting mood by putting on an unforgettable performance, reminding fans the world over how much this group means to us as both people and music lovers. They opened with "Fifty Mission Cap" without saying a word, allowing everyone to bask in their music's glowing warmth.

From there, the audience was whisked away with vibrant renditions of classic cuts including the endearing "Courage", the acoustic ballad "Wheat Kings", and the boisterously punchy vibe of "At The Hundredth Meridian". Despite Downie's waning health, there was never a moment without enthusiastic passion, searing energy, or a drop of heart missing from his performance.

Downie also appeared in an eclectic range of costumes that soared with his signature flare and eccentric style. He sprang back on stage in an electrifying purple suit just in time for the opening of "My Music At Work". Downie took a second to savor the moment by saying, "A singer needs to keep his or her voice warm. It took me twenty-eight years to figure that out. So thank you people, for keeping me pushing."

From there, the band burst into "Little Bones" by fuelling themselves via the audience by firing back at their fans with relentless "phantom power". For the opening of their first encore, they charged forth with "New Orleans is Sinking" and "Blow at High Dough". For their third encore, they closed the show with "Ahead By a Century". The lyrics, "There is no dress rehearsal, this is our life", have a particularly heavy emotional weight to them considering the circumstances surrounding this performance.

It's moments like these that truly make the Hip shine; the raw, authentic sincerity in the songwriting's simplicity that is truly reflective of a feeling, a moment and a time in the audience's lives we'll never get again, but it's something we'll remember eternally. It's a bittersweet swan song from a cherished Canadian band that's as iconic to us as they are respected, but a beautiful send-off nonetheless. It's always tough to say goodbye, but thankfully, we'll all have the music and memories for a lifetime. RIP Tragically Hip.

Run Time: 2 hours 41 minutes
Release Date: December 8, 2017

Get a taste of the DVD with this live clip.

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