Two powerful and poignant narratives of The Tragically Hip’s final, 2016 Man Machine Poem tour are being released via Universal Music Canada (UMC) and Eagle Rock Entertainment. Long Time Running, the feature film documentary of The Hip’s preparations for and completion of the tour, has just been released on Blu-ray and DVD today, December 1, while A National Celebration, which encompasses the band’s hometown concert in Kingston, Ontario on August 20, 2016, will be released on December 22, 2017.
Long Time Running was created in collaboration between the band, Banger Films, and SHED Creative Agency, a division of UMC. The film was directed by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier (Watermark, Manufactured Landscapes) and chronicles the rehearsals for and progress of The Tragically Hip’s 15-date cross-Canada tour.
Including reflections from Hip bandmembers Rob Baker, Gord Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, and Gord Sinclair, Long Time Running is a candid revelation of the time, unflinchingly displaying the grace, fragility, courage, and beauty of the band’s tour de force journey, coming, as it did, following the announcement of Downie’s incurable brain cancer diagnosis. (Sadly, Downie passed away on October 17 of this year, and you can read my personal recollections of his life and vaunted career here.)
Long Time Running premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its theatrical release via Elevation Pictures this past September, and was broadcast on October 20 by BellMedia, which also aired the television version on November 12. Long Time Running was also made available internationally via Netflix on November 12. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of Long Time Running contain a 10-minute featurette featuring interviews not in the theatrical cut, including reminiscences from Leslie Feist and Sarah Harmer, among others.
In related news, A National Celebration will be made available as a standalone DVD, Blu-ray, and digital offering starting December 22. Mixed for Dolby Digital 5.1, the audio is fully complete and true to how it was performed, with no post-production overdubs, drop-ins, or ‘‘corrections’’ to the artists’ in-the-moment expressions. Containing all 30 songs from the night’s setlist, the recording captures an unparalleled, nation-linking occasion. Originally aired live by CBC across all platforms, the concert was experienced by an estimated one-third of Canadians, among the biggest events in the country’s broadcast history.
The knowledge that parting was inevitable, in light of Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis, could not temper the sorrow shared by his countless fans when he passed away. The expressions of grief were profound, and condolences were shared from every corner of the globe. The legacies he built personally and with his bandmates will continue to be lauded and cherished the world over.
For more than 30 years, The Tragically Hip have occupied a singular place in the Canadian musical zeitgeist, with a strong emotional connection for their fans which remains unrivaled and immutable. Possessing the enviable status of a band that enjoys mass popularity, with over 8 million albums sold worldwide, they also command the admiration of their peers and merit the industry recognition bestowed upon them through numerous accolades, including 16 Juno awards – the most recent of which were 2017 Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year honors. This year, the band members were named as recipients of the Order of Canada. Viva Das Hips!
THE TRAGICALLY HIP – SOCIALS