Downie calls out to Trudeau during Tragically Hip’s final show of tour

Tragically Hip kick off tour's final show with fan favourites

KINGSTON, Ont. — The Tragically Hip mixed fan favourites, newer songs and some politics on Saturday night during the final show of their “Man Machine Poem” tour.

Lead singer Gord Downie, who started the show wearing a metallic silver suit and hat with a “Jaws” T-shirt underneath, hugged and kissed his bandmates before they stepped on stage at the K-Rock Centre in the group’s hometown of Kingston, Ont.

Minutes earlier, as the raucous sold-out crowd waited for the band to emerge, an impromptu rendition of O Canada broke out and a banner reading “Thank You Prime Minister Downie!” was passed around the arena.

The band immediately gave fans what they wanted to hear, starting their set with four straight hits from the classic album “Fully Completely:” opener “50 Mission Cap,” followed by “Courage (for Hugh MacLennan),” “Wheat Kings” and “At the Hundredth Meridian.”

The Hip then segued into their latest album “Man Machine Poem,” with four tracks including the single “In a World Possessed by the Human Mind.”

Before “Machine,” Downie launched into one of his trademark onstage rants, calling out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in the crowd for the show. Trudeau’s official photographer tweeted a photo of the prime minister and Downie embracing before the concert.

“Well, you know, prime minister Trudeau’s got me, his work with First Nations. He’s got everybody. He’s going to take us where we need to go,” Downie said from the stage.

“It’s going to take us 100 years to figure out what the hell went on up there,” he continued, “but it isn’t cool and everybody knows that. It’s really, really bad, but we’re going to figure it out, you’re going to figure it out.”

Many anticipate this will be the band’s final tour, given the recent news that Downie is battling terminal brain cancer.

Before performing the “Road Apples” song “Fiddler’s Green,” Downie seemed to reference the outpouring of support from fans in the wake of his diagnosis.

“Thank you, people, for keeping me pushing and keeping me pushing,” he said, which prompted a “Gordie!” chant from the audience.

After playing 21 songs, Downie and his fellow bandmates — guitarists Rob Baker and Paul Langlois, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay — embraced and prepared to retire for a pre-encore break. Downie was left alone on stage to take in the roaring ovation.

After returning for a few more songs, Downie again spoke about his fondness for Trudeau.

“Thank you to the prime minister for coming to our show, it really means a lot to all of us,” he said.

“We’re in good hands, folks, real good hands. He cares about the people way up North, that we were trained our entire lives to ignore, trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what’s going on up there. And what’s going on up there ain’t good. It’s maybe worse than it’s ever been, so it’s not on the improve. (But) we’re going to get it fixed and we got the guy to do it, to start, to help.

“Thank you everybody. Thanks for listening to that. Thanks for listening, period. Have a nice life.”

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

New Cumberland fire engine long overdue, says fire chief

The prospect of a new fire hall delayed the order as existing engine bays were too small

BC Hydro increasing flow in Puntledge River

BC Hydro is warning the public to stay away from the Puntledge… Continue reading

Equipment donation helps North Island College’s trades expansion

Allan and Donna Edie recently provide more than $273,000 in equipment to college

Comox Valley Regional District announces key water treatment project land acquisition

District buys land from Courtenay and District Fish & Game Protective Association

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Shelley Downey acclaimed as North Island—Powell River federal Conservative candidate

Shelley Downey has been acclaimed as the Conservative candidate for North Island—Powell… Continue reading

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

RCMP ‘desperate’ for clues in case of missing Parksville mom

Carmel Gilmour was last seen more than a year ago

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

Most Read