Over a year after revealing his diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, Gord Downie, leader of the legendary Canadian rock group The Tragically Hip, has passed away, at 53 years old. Although silver linings can be tough to spot in times like these, the good news is that Downie had enough warning to end his time with The Tragically Hip on his own terms. Three months after Downie’s ailment became public knowledge, The Tragically Hip played what would ultimately be their final show: The last stop of their Man Machine Poem tour, in the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario, on August 20th, 2016.
Canada’s CBC aired the performance on TV and online, and the event really lived up to its title, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration: It was watched by an estimated 11.7 million people, or about a third of Canada’s population. Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance, and in an interview before the show, he called the group an “essential part of what we are and who we are as a country.”
The Tragically Hip closed out their final show (featuring a massive 30-song set) with a trio of encores, ending the final one with the 1996 track “Ahead By A Century,” their first No. 1 Canadian single. Watch fan-shot footage of the performance above, and revisit our look at the importance of The Tragically Hip here.