Two of Manitoba's biggest musical names will headline the free Unite 150 concert June 27 on the grounds in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Former Guess Who bandmates Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings recently announced they'd be heading out on the road together in 2020, and a Winnipeg show had been promised. Its date was confirmed Friday.
"We’re the two guys who wrote and sang these songs and I think people know that and want to hear the real thing. Bachman Cummings are out there delivering that," Cummings said in a news release.
"Not all artists are lucky enough to have this kind of staying power. Randy and I are able to touch Guess Who, BTO and Cummings solo stuff. We still have an audience that wants to hear those songs done by the original guys."
Unite 150 is an all-day, outdoor event at Memorial Park organized by the host committee planning the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Manitoba joining Confederation. The event coincides with Multiculturalism Day, a theme which will also contribute to the day's programming.
Host committee co-chairman Stuart Murray said the day will feature a gamut of musical talent representing the province's cultural diversity, but when it came to choosing an act to wrap up the event, having Manitoba "rock royalty" play against the backdrop of the provincial legislature presented a tremendous opportunity.
"We weren't sure that was going to happen, but you start conversations with their agents and propose different opportunities," Murray said. "What came about was that certainly Randy and Burton are very interested in showcasing their songbook to Manitobans.
"To get a chance to have them come together, to hear the original guys play the original songs underneath the magnificent Manitoba sky in front of the legislature, is a 'pinch me' moment."
Bachman and Cummings have built a list of accolades as substantial as their vast catalogue of hits. They are members of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Canadian Walk of Fame, are the first inductees into the Prairie Music Hall of Fame, recipients of the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.
Both Bachman, 76, and Cummings, 72, were born and raised in Winnipeg.
As members of the Guess Who in the 1960s (Bachman left the group in 1970), they achieved international success with songs such as These Eyes and American Woman. Subsequent solo careers, including Bachman-Turner Overdrive, piled up gold and platinum record sales.
Murray said Bachman Cummings will play a full concert, and those who aren't able to make it down to Winnipeg for the Saturday evening show can livestream the event online.
"For Manitobans and their relationship growing up with these two people, it's going to be epic," Murray said.
The full Unite 150 lineup will be announced at a later date.
"What could be more Manitoban than Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings helping us celebrate the 150th anniversary of Manitoba entering Confederation?" Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage Cathy Cox said in a news release.
"This will be one of many highlights this year, and this concert will be something we talk about for years to come."
Updated on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 6:15 PM CST: Fixes typo in photo caption.
8:01 PM: Final version