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15 standout live performances from 2019

Unplanned karaoke, all-star collaborations and more gems from CBC Music's year in live music.

Unplanned karaoke, all-star collaborations and more gems from CBC Music's year in live music

Arkells perform as part of CBC Music's First Play Live. (CBC Music)

With another year coming to a close, CBC Music is reflecting on 52 weeks of incredible live music — including First Play Live sessions, the CBC Music Festival, the London Juno Awards and much more — and the lasting power of catching it all on camera.

Below are 15 live music moments that still give us chills.


Impromptu Pup karaoke

In April, Canadian rock staples Pup brought down the Garrison during the First Play Live of their Polaris-nominated album, Morbid Stuff. Most memorably, they invited a superfan onstage for a rousing, unplanned rendition of "Reservoir."

PUP performs songs from their album Morbid Stuff live at The Garrison in Toronto. 4:44

Charlotte Cardin covers Nickelback

In one of the most unlikely Junos single of the year sessions, singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin soulfully stripped down Nickelback's 2001 rock hit, "How You Remind Me."

Charlotte cardin spins Nickelback's 'How You Remind Me' for our Junos 365 Sessions. 2:49

nêhiyawak's powerful performance of 'Starlight'

The post-rock trio nêhiyawak performed "Starlight," off their 2019 album nipiy, which they explained was about "starlight tours," while in studio with CBC q's Tom Power. Referencing the 27th anniversary of Neil Stonechild's death, vocalist Kris Harper said: "Neil was one of the first to be turned with this 'starlight tour,' which had something to do with a member of enforcement maybe taking an Indigenous person off the street and dropping them off potentially in the wintertime at a place where they had to walk back — and sometimes these walks were fatal."


Buffy Sainte-Marie rocks the 2019 CBC Music Festival

After more than 50 years of making music, the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie took over the CBC Music Festival stage, bringing concert-goers to their feet with classics like "Power in the Blood" and "Universal Soldier."

Buffy Sainte-Marie performs "Power In The Blood" at the 2019 CBC Music Festival. 5:13

Cowboy Junkies perform 'Common Disaster'

The longstanding folk-rock group performed the 1996 hit during its induction to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in October, after singer Margo Timmins delivered a mighty speech about gender representation in music.

Cowboy Junkies perform their hit "A Common Disaster" at the Canadian Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Calgary, Alberta. 4:26

Haviah Mighty's Polaris Music Prize-winning medley

Haviah Mighty gifted the crowd with an upbeat medley of songs from her excellent debut 13th Floor at the 2019 Polaris Music Prize gala, and went on to win the coveted Canadian prize later that night. One month earlier, she delivered an equally thrilling set as part of her First Play Live in the newly renovated Drake Underground in Toronto.

Haviah Mighty performs a medley featuring tracks from 13th Floor at the 2019 Polaris Music Prize Gala. 8:24

Larnell Lewis's epic Junofest jazz showcase drum solo

Juno Award-winning percussionist Larnell Lewis elicited a rightful ovation after doing what he does best while jamming with Robi Botos on "Old Soul" at the 2019 Junofest jazz showcase.

Robi Botos performs "Old Soul" with Mike Downes, Larnell Lewis and Quinsin Nachoff at the 2019 Junofest Jazz Showcase. 13:15

Patrick Watson's tear-jerking performances of 'Broken' and 'Here Comes the River'

The Montreal singer-songwriter stopped by CBC Music to perform songs from his transformative 2019 album, Wave, stunning the audience with two ballads.

 
Patrick Watson performs "Broken" for CBC Music's First Play Live. 5:45

Corey Hart revisits his '80s hits, 35 years later

Decades after "Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender" ruled the airwaves, Montreal pop star Corey Hart performed the two '80s hits during the 2019 Juno Awards, where he was also inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. 

Corey Hart performs "Sunglasses at Night" at the 2019 Juno Awards. 2:52

DOOMSQUAD's First Play Live dance party

"This is like The Last Waltz but for weirdos in Toronto," called out DOOMSQUAD front man Trevor Blumas as he, siblings Allie and Jaclyn, and friends Lido Pimienta and Ejji Smith, came together for the most colourful First Play Live of the year.

DOOMSQUAD perform "Let Yourself Be Seen" for CBC Music's First Play Live. 7:35

Just John x Dom Dias perform the 2019 Raptors playoff anthem

The rapper/producer pair performed "Soundboi" live at CBC — a song that caught the ears of the Toronto Raptors during their victorious playoff campaign, becoming the team's official anthem.

Just John x Dom Dias perform "Soundboi" for CBC Music. 2:35

Elisapie, Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback come together at Playlist Live

The three Indigenous music powerhouses met onstage at CBC Music's 2019 Playlist Live Junos after-party to perform a gorgeous rendition of Elisapie's single, "Wolves Don't Live by the Rules."

Elisapie, Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback perform "Wolves Don't Live by the Rules" at Playlist Live 2019. 3:35

Lights' intimate acoustic session 

Canadian pop favourite Lights brought the acoustic version of Skin & Earth — her 2017 album which was accompanied by a 170-page, six-issue companion comic book series — to CBC Music's studio 211. 

Lights performs "Giants" for CBC Music's First Play Live. 4:18

Arkells get into the CBC Music crowd

The Juno-winning rock group took home the (unofficial) award for "crowd participation" with their sweaty, boisterous First Play Live performance of 2018's Rally Cry.

Arkells perform 'Hand Me Downs' for CBC Music's First Play Live. 5:54

Sarah McLachlan and Whitehorse team up at the Junos

Sarah McLachlan took a break from hosting the 2019 Juno Awards in London, Ont., to perform "Beautiful Girl" and "In Your Shoes," both from her 2014 album Shine On, with alternative album of the year nominees, Whitehorse.

Sarah McLachlan performs "Beautiful Girl" and "In Your Shoes" at the 2019 Juno Awards. 5:05