In spite of my misgivings, I did watch the Grey Cup on Sunday, mostly for the spectacle of the event and to see if Winnipeg would lose (and sadly, they didn’t …).
There was the halftime show, but at the risk of angering country fans, it really wasn’t worth watching, in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong — Keith Urban is a good guitarist, but his country songs leave much to be desired. If you want to see him actually use his talent, watch a DVD of the Crossroads guitar festival event that Eric Clapton puts on. The 2013 version of the epic concert has Urban teamed up with Vince Gill, and he actually showcases his playing talents there (ironically, one of the best songs they play is pure rock, a Rolling Stones classic, “Tumbling Dice”.)
My main beef with Urban is that he’s Australian, not Canadian — and the Grey Cup is a quintessential Canadian sports championship event.
We have the Stanley Cup, yes — but usually that championship series is played in the U.S. The Grey Cup is only played here, with Canadian teams, and to honour the uniquely Canadian flavour of CFL football, to me there should be Canadian talent featured at halftime.
The fact is, there are some incredibly talented good Canadian performers who could headline a halftime show and do us proud.
For the younger fans, we have Shawn Mendes who has been achieving worldwide success, including in the United States.
We have Michael Bublé, who also has international status as a singer, not to mention Celine Dion, whose reach and status as a performer has been showcased for many years now, including a successful run in Las Vegas.
Since there has been an over-abundance of country acts at CFL games this season, that could be balanced with a primo rock act like The Sheepdogs, the pride of Saskatoon. The group has made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and also has garnered much success with their music.
If we have to have country, what about the pride of Weyburn, Tenille Arts? She did a show at Mosaic at a Riders game this year, and has been garnering much exposure and success in her career, including her first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
There are many other performers who could be suggested also. My point is, we don’t have to bring in a performer from outside of Canada to gain legitimacy or prestige, or whatever else the consideration is.
We can and should be proud of who we are as Canadians, and of our homegrown culture and artistic achievements, and this huge annual event can help to celebrate that.