Singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer
Downie thanks fans after three encores
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau attends concert
Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip played its last tour stop at the hometown of lead singer Gord Downie.
The band announced in May that Downie has terminal brain cancer and planned its summer tour as a “way of dealing with the news.”
“This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us,” the band said in a statement before the performance Saturday night.
For 30 years, Tragically Hip has been one of Canada’s most successful acts, racking up 14 Juno awards and nine No. 1s. And Downie, 52, is one of its most charismatic singers.
The almost three-hour show in Kingston, Ontario, featured music from throughout the Tragically Hip music catalog – including fan favorites like Nautical Disaster, Bobcaygeon and Ahead by a Century, CNN partner CBC News reported.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the performance, which was broadcast live nationwide.
Wearing a black band T-shirt and denim jacket, the Prime Minster told CBC “there’s so much to celebrate tonight, there’s mixed feelings for sure … I don’t know whether we’re saying goodbye to Gord, whether we’re celebrating him, honoring him … or whether we’re celebrating Canada – all those things are folding in together.”
Downie ended the concert after three encores with a simple, heartfelt “thank you for that.”
In the United States, fellow musician Eddie Vedder honored the band at a Pearl Jam concert in Chicago.
“There’s something going on up north of the border tonight, and it involves somebody that we can say is a family member … and I just want to send them our energy … and wish the best to Mr. Gord Downie. We love you,” Vedder told his audience.
The Kingston concert marked the end of Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour, which started on July 22.