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

Heritage Surrey launches time-lapse mapping tool

It matches local historical images to modern-day locations

UPDATE: Delta man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Surrey RCMP asks for public’s help finding missing 52-year-old

Police say William Michaels last seen on Feb. 19

Private school for hockey players pitched for Surrey’s Excellent Ice arena

Lark Group draws up expansion plan for facility built and operated by the Surrey company since 1999

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read