Courage and Grace: The Tragically Hip’s Final Concert

"Canada Is Closed for the night"

“Canada Is Closed” was the sentiment that resonated with Canadians from coast to coast, as nearly one third of the population tuned into CBC to watch The Tragically Hip’s final Man Machine Poem concert on Saturday night. Fans had been eagerly waiting to show their support, and experience what could be the Canadian band’s final show following frontman Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis.

Fortuitously occurring on the last day of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Canada’s patriotism has been building in tandem to the Hip’s final show. Combined with the grief swelling since Downie’s announcement back in May, it made for a emotional night.

While only about 7000 lucky fans were able to fit in the K-Rock centre in Kingston, 11.7 million Canadians watched the three hour long, three encore-spanning set online, in their homes, and at bars and venues through a CBC live special broadcast.

Wheat Kings is always one of my favourites. #thehip #manmachinepoemtour #kingston #summersixteen #ingordwetrust

A video posted by Jessica Jean (@jessicajeanphotos) on

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance and spoke to CBC before the show about The Tragically Hip, a band that is so well “anchored in Canada”.

During the performance, Downie took the time to thank Trudeau for making progress on helping Canada’s indigenous population. “He’s going to be looking good for about at least 12 more years. I don’t know if they let you go beyond that. But he’ll do it,” Downie said, as Trudeau was spotted in the crowd mouthing back “thank you”.

As to be expected, the final performance brought an outpouring of support and praise from notable figures accross the board:

As well, CBC wrapped up their coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics with The Hip’s “Ahead By a Century” and it makes for a tear-jerker.


Image: Nick Tiringer