Yesterday on the Online Kitchen Party Facebook group, it was reported that greatbigsea.com has gone down, and so have the GBS-related Facebook and Twitter accounts.
This is what you see now if you try to go to the greatbigsea.com site:
(For my visually impaired followers, it’s a screencap that has a giant 404, followed by ‘The site you were looking for couldn’t be found. This domain is successfully pointed at WP Engine, but is not configured for an account on our platform.’ And a couple suggested courses of action in case you’re the person who just put up the site and haven’t fully configured it yet and um, yeah.)
Bob Hallett showed up on the Facebook thread (which should be publicly readable, the OKP group is public), essentially saying “there is a plan, but, Sean”. By which I think it’s safe to conclude that the shutdown of the site and of the social media accounts is part of the whole “for his own health and well-being, Sean needs Great Big Sea to be done” problem.
I think it’s also safe to conclude at this point that no matter how much the long-term loyal fandom might wish otherwise, the Great Big Sea we’ve all known and loved is dead.
And, well, I mean, I knew that already. A lot of us in the fandom had pretty much decided that when Sean announced his withdrawal from the band after the XX tour. It had certainly also seemed pretty obvious when Alan was quoted last November as saying that the band was essentially retired.
But a lot of us had been holding out at least a crumb of hope that if the band still had an online presence, maybe eventually all involved parties would reach an accord and make music together again someday.
Now? Not so much. And I have to admit, seeing the site gone, a corner of the Net I’ve loved for sixteen years now, made me tear up today. This makes it feel a lot more final.
I stand by my post from November; every word I said there still applies. I’m still very grateful for all the joy Great Big Sea has given me. I’m sad that Sean feels like he has to separate himself from that part of his life, while at the same time, I’m happy that he seems to be finding some peace and happiness of his own. If Alan or Sean comes to Seattle, I’ll certainly go see them. Their solo acts aren’t quite enough to get me to cross the border–but if they happen to have shows in Canada going on while I’m up there anyway, then I’ll absolutely go see them there, too.
And I’ll keep playing their songs, for values of “playing” meaning both “in iTunes” and “on my instruments”.
I’m thinking there needs to be one last Three Good Measures jam. Because Great Big Sea needs a proper wake.
And, y’know, I do know “Paddy Murphy”. Tonight, though, I’m kinda thinkin’ “General Taylor” is called for. Here’s superfan Lynda Elstad’s vid of same, from the Torbay concert in Newfoundland 2012 that Dara and I went to.
Sing with me, people. SING.