Man Machine Poem Tour

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Man Machine Poem Tour
Tour by The Tragically Hip
Man Machine Poem Tour Poster.jpg
Tour poster
LocationCanada
Associated albumMan Machine Poem
Start dateJuly 22, 2016 (2016-07-22)
End dateAugust 20, 2016 (2016-08-20)
No. of shows15

The Man Machine Poem Tour was a concert tour by The Tragically Hip in support of their thirteenth full-length studio album Man Machine Poem. The tour consisted of 15 shows, the first held on July 22, 2016, in Victoria, British Columbia, and the last held on August 20, 2016, at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario.

The tour was announced on May 25, 2016, following an announcement the previous day regarding singer Gord Downie's brain cancer diagnosis.[1][2] A portion of the proceeds of the tour were donated to the Sunnybrook Foundation, the independent fundraising arm of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; in addition to the ticket sale proceeds themselves, both Sunnybrook and the Canadian Cancer Society reported a significant increase in direct donations, totalling over one million dollars, from the public during the tour.[3] CBC broadcast the tour's final concert in Kingston on its radio, television, and digital platforms, which was seen by 11.7 million viewers across all platforms, and a DVD of the concert was released in December 2017.[4]

Although generally reported by the media as such, at the time the band refrained from officially labeling the concerts as their farewell tour, and instead communicated the hope that Downie's health would remain stable enough for them to tour again in the future.[5] However, Downie died of the illness on October 17, 2017.[6] In July 2018, guitarist Rob Baker declared that the Tragically Hip were now inactive and the members had no plans to perform under the name again without Downie.[7]

Cultural analysis[edit]

Throughout the summer, the nature of the tour resulted in a considerable volume of analysis of the band, the tour and its impact on Canadian culture appearing in the media.[8] This included a number of international outlets which had never before devoted significant coverage to the band, including CNN,[9] BBC News,[10] The Guardian[11] and The New Yorker.[12]

Canadian media outlets which would ordinarily only publish reviews of local concerts published an ongoing series of reviews of every stop on the tour, including unusually thorough analysis of the setlists.[13]

The newsmagazine Maclean's published interviews throughout the summer with other musicians and cultural figures who had been friends, fans, collaborators or tourmates of the band, including Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo,[14] Geoffrey Kelly of Spirit of the West,[15] John K. Samson of The Weakerthans,[16] Dave Bidini of Rheostatics,[17] Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil,[18] novelist Joseph Boyden,[19] singer-songwriters Joel Plaskett[20] and Sarah Harmer,[21] and record producer Steve Berlin.[22]

Both Maclean's and the Toronto Star also sent journalists to the town of Bobcaygeon, Ontario to explore the impact of one of the Tragically Hip's most famous songs, "Bobcaygeon".[23][24]

Ticket sales controversy[edit]

Due to the news of Downie's cancer diagnosis, demand for tickets was higher than for any of the band's concert tours since the 1990s.[25] However, many fans ended up stymied by ticket scalpers;[25] even in the advance presale to members of the band's fan club, all available tickets were sold out within minutes, and the tickets almost immediately began showing up on resale sites such as StubHub, at prices of up to $5,000 for the Kingston show,[25] and up to $1,300 for most other shows.[26] The same occurred when general market tickets were released;[26] in some cities, the general release tickets were entirely sold out less than one minute after going on sale.[27] One scalper even set up a dedicated domain, thehiptickets.com.[28]

The band described themselves as sad and concerned by the situation, but noted that ticket sales were largely out of their own control.[29] They responded by adding further shows to the tour,[26] and by redesigning the planned stage configuration in order to release additional seats.[26] Ontario's provincial government announced plans to review its regulations around ticket sales,[30] and two scalpers were arrested in Winnipeg.[31] The public outcry led CBC Television to explore options for broadcast of the Kingston show,[29] and also resulted in a record number of booking requests for the Practically Hip, a long-running Tragically Hip tribute band, to play private Tragically Hip tribute parties across Canada.[32]

Jesse Modz, a DJ for CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines, Ontario, aired a segment on his radio show in which he fooled a scalper in Mississauga into driving to St. Catharines by offering a $300 premium on top of the asking price; when the scalper arrived, Modz did not purchase the tickets, but rather confronted him about the ethics of scalping.[33]

Canadian music journalist Alan Cross called the situation "the most cold-blooded, market-driven display of capitalism that we've ever seen involving Canadian concerts."[26]

In October 2016, Live Nation Entertainment formally admitted for the first time that at least two-thirds of all tickets for the tour were snapped up by ticket brokers, leaving less than one-third of the tickets available to be purchased at face value by fans.[34]

In February 2017, the government of Ontario formally announced that it would introduce legislation to ban "scalper bots".[35]

Final concert[edit]

The final show on the tour was held on August 20, 2016 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in the band's hometown of Kingston. The concert was simulcast in a special, The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration, airing commercial-free across the CBC's television and radio outlets, including CBC Television, CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2, as well as on Sirius XM satellite radio, and online via CBC Music and YouTube.[36][29] CBC broke away from its second-last night of primetime coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics to air the concert;[37] Ron Maclean hosted a short introduction from Rio de Janeiro,[38] where the Canadian Olympic athletes were themselves gathered for a viewing party at Canada House.[39] The concert was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon request by the band.[40]

At least 11.7 million watched part of the concert across these platforms;[41][42] 4.3 million were watching the television broadcast, while precise breakdowns of radio listeners, online streaming viewers or attendees at public screening parties have not been released. Public viewing was also set up in Kingston at the Springer Market Square[43] and attended by approximately 22,000 people.[44] Many other towns and cities across Canada also hosted public broadcasts of the concert.[45] One particularly noted example was in Bobcaygeon, which held a public viewing on its main street;[46] in addition to local residents, the event was also attended by a significant number of people who had made a "pilgrimage" to view the concert there because of the song.[46]

The CBC aired an encore of the concert on June 24, 2017.[47]

The Kingston concert was released on DVD in December 2017, under the title A National Celebration.[4] The DVD was released both on its own and as a box set with the documentary film Long Time Running.[4]

Honours[edit]

On the same night as the Kingston concert, American rock band Pearl Jam were performing in Chicago; lead singer Eddie Vedder paid tribute to Downie and dedicated a performance of "Light Years" to Downie and the Tragically Hip.[48] Canadian band Blue Rodeo were also performing a previously scheduled concert in Toronto on the same night; during that show, they performed a rendition of the Hip's song "Bobcaygeon" as video screens around the venue displayed scenes from the concurrent Hip concert in Kingston.[49] Longtime Blue Rodeo guitarist and mandolinist Bob Egan, who was retiring from music and performing his final show with the band that evening, had been a guest musician on the original Tragically Hip recording of the song.

The tour resulted in Downie being selected by the Canadian Press as its Canadian Newsmaker of the Year for 2016.[50] This marked the first time in the award's history that a musician was chosen.[50]

At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards, the CBC's broadcast of the final concert was nominated for and won six awards, including Best Live Entertainment Special, Best Direction in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series (David Russell), Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Non-Fiction Program or Series (Brent Clark), Best Photography in a Variety Program or Series (Alex Nadon and Tyler Pigeon), Best Sound in a Variety or Animated Program or Series (Jay Vicari, Peter Gary, Jon Erickson, Lee Moro and Mark Vreeken), and Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series (The Tragically Hip).[51][52][53]

The band and the tour are the subjects of Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier's documentary film Long Time Running, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[54]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
July 22, 2016 Victoria Canada Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
July 24, 2016 Vancouver Rogers Arena
July 26, 2016
July 28, 2016 Edmonton Rexall Place
July 30, 2016
August 1, 2016 Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome
August 3, 2016
August 5, 2016 Winnipeg MTS Centre
August 8, 2016 London Budweiser Gardens
August 10, 2016 Toronto Air Canada Centre
August 12, 2016
August 14, 2016
August 16, 2016 Hamilton FirstOntario Centre
August 18, 2016 Ottawa Canadian Tire Centre
August 20, 2016 Kingston Rogers K-Rock Centre

Setlists[edit]

The setlist for each show was different. Typically the band played 20 or 21 songs followed by a three-song encore and then an additional two-song encore. For the final show, the band played 21 songs and then returned to play three encores of three songs.

At virtually all shows, all songs from the same album were performed consecutively in sets of two, three or four, with that album not subsequently returned to for the rest of the show;[36] only the third and final encore of the Kingston show, which placed "Locked in the Trunk of a Car" alongside songs from Trouble at the Henhouse instead of with the Fully Completely set that opened the show, deviated from this pattern.

The only unplayed album on the tour was their debut EP The Tragically Hip.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Slingerland, Calum (May 25, 2016). "The Tragically Hip Unveil 'Man Machine Poem' Tour". Exclaim!.
  2. ^ "Gord Downie's cancer treatable but not curable: docs". CTV News. May 24, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "Tragically Hip tour raises more than $1M for Canadian brain cancer research". Toronto Star, September 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "The Tragically Hip's Final Concert and Tour Doc Set for Home Release". Exclaim!, November 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "What happens next". The Globe and Mail, January 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Mazerolle, John (October 18, 2017). "Tragically Hip's Gord Downie dead at 53". CBC News. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  7. ^ West, Rachel. "The Tragically Hip talk life after Gord Downie: 'We're all still adjusting'". Global News. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  8. ^ "How the Tragically Hip was always ahead by a century". Toronto Star, August 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie says goodbye in his hometown". CNN, August 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Tragically Hip: The most Canadian band in the world". BBC News, May 28, 2016.
  11. ^ "Explaining the importance of The Tragically Hip's final show". The Guardian, August 23, 2016.
  12. ^ "Watching Canada’s Biggest Rock Band Say a Dramatic Goodbye". The New Yorker, August 20, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Friend, David (August 19, 2016). "The Tragically Hip tour setlists analyzed: songs played most and least". Toronto Sun. The Canadian Press. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "On the Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo and a shared legacy". Maclean's, August 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "On the Hip’s final tour, and enduring illness on stage". Maclean's, August 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "On the Tragically Hip’s ‘beautifully meaningful non-sequiturs’". Maclean's, August 10, 2016.
  17. ^ "On the Tragically Hip’s ‘golden thread’". Maclean's, August 10, 2016.
  18. ^ "When Midnight Oil met the Tragically Hip". Maclean's, August 10, 2016.
  19. ^ "Canada to the Tragically Hip: ‘We got your back, guys’". Maclean's, August 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "Joel Plaskett on the Tragically Hip: ‘Lucky in their presence’". Maclean's, August 13, 2016.
  21. ^ "Sarah Harmer on the Tragically Hip’s legacy—and laundry". Maclean's, August 17, 2016.
  22. ^ "Producer Steve Berlin eulogizes the Tragically Hip". Maclean's, August 1, 2016.
  23. ^ "Searching for the Tragically Hip’s mythical Bobcaygeon". Maclean's, July 15, 2016.
  24. ^ "Town of Bobcaygeon reflects on The Tragically Hip". Toronto Star, August 17, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c "Definitely not hip". The Globe and Mail, January 5, 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d e "Tragically Hip scalpers: Getting ahead by a tragedy". Toronto Sun, May 30, 2016.
  27. ^ "Tragically Hip fans fuming after tickets sell out in less than a minute". CBC News, June 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Scalpers Have Created an Entire Website Devoted to Reselling Tragically Hip Tickets". Exclaim!, June 3, 2016.
  29. ^ a b c "CBC to broadcast final concert for The Tragically Hip". Toronto Sun, June 17, 2016.
  30. ^ "How the government made ticket-scalping legal in Ontario". Toronto Star, June 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "2 Tragically Hip ticket scalpers arrested in police sting ahead of Winnipeg show". CBC News, August 4, 2016.
  32. ^ "Practically Hip set to honour Gord Downie, bring hits to Lighthouse Theatre". Norfolk News, March 1, 2017.
  33. ^ "Radio DJ Lures Scalper With Tragically Hip Tickets Prank". ET Canada, June 3, 2016.
  34. ^ "'There's a big problem': Two-thirds of Tragically Hip tickets weren't sold directly to fans". CBC News, October 21, 2016.
  35. ^ "After Tragically Hip show outrage, Ontario moves on ‘scalper bots’". The Globe and Mail, February 28, 2017.
  36. ^ a b "One nation under Gord". The Globe and Mail, August 2016.
  37. ^ "Love-in for the Hip at Rio’s Canada House". Toronto Star, August 20, 2016.
  38. ^ "CBC deserves Olympic medal for pure salute to The Hip". Bill Brioux, August 21, 2016.
  39. ^ "Olympians celebrate the Tragically Hip". CBC Sports, August 21, 2016.
  40. ^ Kohut, Tania (August 23, 2016). "The Tragically Hip invited Justin Trudeau to Kingston concert: PMO". Global News. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  41. ^ "How to watch the Tragically Hip's Aug. 20 concert on CBC". CBC Music. August 12, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  42. ^ "Tragically Hip concert draws millions of TV viewers". CBC News. August 21, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  43. ^ "Everything you need to know about Tragically Hip Day in Kingston". KingstonRegion.com. August 13, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  44. ^ "The Tragically Hip's Hometown Spreads The Love for Last Show". Billboard. August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  45. ^ "Where to watch the Tragically Hip's show if you're not in Kingston". CBC Music. August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  46. ^ a b "Bobcaygeon belts out its Tragically Hip moment". Maclean's, August 21, 2016.
  47. ^ "CBC changes mind, plans to reair the Tragically Hip’s momentous hometown concert". Hamilton Spectator, May 24, 2017.
  48. ^ "Pearl Jam salute the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie during Chicago concert". Entertainment Weekly, August 21, 2016.
  49. ^ "Blue Rodeo drummer talks new album, Tragically Hip tribute". Penticton Western News, January 17, 2017.
  50. ^ a b Friend, David (December 23, 2016). "Gord Downie chosen as Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year". Global News. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  51. ^ "Orphan Black, Schitt's Creek, Kim's Convenience up for Canadian Screen Awards". CBC News, January 17, 2017.
  52. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards 2017: The National, CBC Olympics win top awards". CBC News, March 8, 2017.
  53. ^ "'Orphan Black' wins big on second night for Canadian Screen Awards". Halifax Chronicle-Herald, March 9, 2017.
  54. ^ "Toronto: 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Captures Audience Award". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 18, 2017.