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Gordon Downie of the Tragically Hip performs during the Live 8 concert on July 2, 2005, in Barrie, Ont.

Carlos Osorio/Carlos Osorio/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

"I get a sense of connectedness; exclusive tight, but nothing dangerous." A line from The Tragically Hip's Inevitability Of Death, one of the many of their songs with references to Canadiana. The lyric "Terry's gift is forever green; it got me up, back on the scene" acknowledges Terry Fox, the iconic cancer-struck cross-country runner.

Tomorrow, the band, icons themselves for their staggering, athletically anthemic rock and the take-notice words of frontman Gord Downie, play Burl's Creek, near Barrie, Ont., where audience members will make connections – to the band, to the country, and amongst themselves. With that in mind, we offer a primer on the true-northness of Downie's lines.

- "Can't tie yourself up for this deal," from New Orleans is Sinking: Possibly unsolicited and unappreciated political advice to the Prime Minister who would sign the North American free trade agreement.

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- "If there's a goal that everyone remembers, it was back in ol' '72; we all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger," from Fireworks: Who fired the puck in Moscow? Foster Hewitt told a nation it was Paul Henderson.

- "Late breaking story on the CBC; a nation whispers, we always knew that he'd go free," from Wheat Kings: On April 16, 1992, after spending 8,355 days incarcerated, the wrongly convicted David Milgaard was freed, as the Crown corporation anchorman Peter Mansbridge announced nationwide.

The Tragically Hip, with Death Cab For Cutie, New Pornographers, The Rural Alberta Advantage. June 30, 3 p.m. $86.50, The Commons at Butler's Barracks, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.; July 1, 3 p.m. $85.50 to $141. Burl's Creek, Oro Station, Ont.,

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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