3 February 2000 -- Bruce Cockburn played at a free open air concert presented by the City of Toronto and CityTV, titled, "The Millennium Lights War Child concert" on New Year's Eve 1999. The concert marked the launch of Generation Peace, War Child Canada's Millennium Youth Project initiative. You can make a donation to War Child by visiting their website at http://www.warchild.org/.
Location: Harbour Front (at the foot of Yonge St.), Toronto, Canada. Expected Attendance: 50,000+. Time: 9pm - Midnight. The City of Toronto presented a "Millennium Lights" Fireworks show immediately following the concert. Apparently, Canadians and border-dwelling Americans with big TV antennae were able to see all of this on TV.
Although it was not certain prior to the appearance at what point in the evening Cockburn was scheduled to play, the Project was willing to bet a bottle of Nicaraguan Rum that "Last Night of the World" would be on Cockburn's Y2K setlist.
For those in other parts of the world who wanted to get into the theme of the evening, the Project mailing of 30 December recommended:
Don't be tempted by the slick glittery alure of "partying with The Artist 'like it's 1999'". Grab instead your CD of "Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu", skip to track number 3, hit repeat, and crank it up loud at every appropriate moment during your New Year's Eve 1999 celebrations.
To avoid getting beaten over the head by your fellow party-goers, ply them with generous quantities of Flora de Caña and they won't notice a thing.
If you still don't know what Flora de Caña is, you need to read this page,. If you do know what Flora de Caña is, and are thinking "Hey, I'm pretty cool for knowing what Flora de Caña is" right now, get real. 99 to 1 you never tasted any.
For some truly cool New Year's Eve party action, grab your guitar, a copy of this or this, and practice like you only have one day left to practice it. Which you do.
Above all, have a good time, and see you in 2000.
The Bruce Cockburn on Bruce Cockburn Project
Cockburn played three songs at the new year's eve concert, "Lovers in a Dangerous Time", "Last Night of the World" (give the man a Nicaraguan rum) and "Waiting for a Miracle". He performed with an unnamed bassist and drummer - I wasn't close enough to recognise them [Editor's Note: I think it was Steve Lucas (bass) and Ben Riley (drums), who toured with BC during 'The Charity Of Night' tour and appear on the 'You Pay Your Money...' CD, and who I believe will be touring with BC in Feb/March 2000 across the US & Cananda]. I haven't been able to get a count for the crowd but it was easily more than a 50,000 at the concert itself.
Cockburn was the second artist to perform, but the "live" broadcast (which used edited highlights of the performances) an hour later probably put him on later in the line-up on TV. The concert was not only broadcast on Toronto station City-TV but was broadcast across Canada (and in other parts of the world) on the cable network MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic.
Cockburn's comments on "Last Night of the World" were amusing. He pooh-poohed on the Y2K hysteria and at the end of the song said "Last Night of the World...Not."
He introduced "Waiting" by mentioning the War Child project and commenting that as we approach this next millennium there are a lot of forces out there that are threatening the survival of the planet and it's people, but there are also people that are working to change that and while the song was a bit unseasonable (in the -7 celcius chill) this song is about the hope to bring to the next millennium.
Overall, Cockburn seemed a bit out of place in a crowd of "youth"-oriented New Years revellers who had come to see hip-hop sensation Choclair (a couple of idiots screamed "We Want Choclair!" in the middle of his intro to "Waiting") and Canada's answer to the Backstreet Boys, 3-Deep. But his presence was warmly welcomed by many of the old fogey thirtysomethings in the crowd like myself, and the crowd did seem to groove to his music on the whole.
I left immediately after Cockburn performed -- I was near the front and I'll never try moving through 50,000 people ever again. The fireworks at midnight were spectactular.