Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gordon Lightfoot in Concert

Last night in Baton Rouge. This is not a review of the concert but perhaps of life.

I love his music. Always have since @1973 when I first heard the voice. And then, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". Has there ever been another song title that flows so effortlessly? It's almost a song in and of itself. So many songs....

He's 73 yrs old and on tour again after a 5 week hiatus over the holidays and that ain't easy at any age. I don't know why he still does it. I don't really care 'why'. It's amazing that he does at all.

He is quite fragile-looking. Very thin and slightly stooped. He played:

Spanish Moss
If You Could Read My Mind
Don Quixote
Ribbon of Darkness
Home From the Forest
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Did She Mention My Name
Rainy Day People
Fine As Fine Can Be
A Painter Passing Through
Baby Step Back
Let It Ride
Sweet Guinevere
Never Too Close
The Watchman's Gone
Cotton Jenny
Sea of Tranquilty
In My Fashion
* not sung in that order

That's 22 songs that I can remember him singing and I know there was one more I can't recall the name of. The backdrops looked like huge sails with colored patterns projects on and I kept thinking what splendid fabric that would make.

The band was perfect and missing two former members who have died over the years. Lightfoot doesn't change his band for anything less.* see comments

His voice of his youth is firmly in the past now and there is no returning, except from the vinyls and digitized cds. Again, I don't care. He sings the songs and knows the words and needs no reminders of what they were back then or changes them up to be current. I suppose because the words are timeless to begin with and the melodies are endless.

I think I drove the girls mad playing the cassettes in the car endlessly. I hope they like him now but who can say. All I know is there aren't many singer-songwriters like him around today. You could listen to the music and understand the lyrics and they usually told a story but sometimes only left you interpreting the meaning for your own purpose.

I loved it. And the audience for the most part loved it. He made several punny jokes, such as
"I gave up drinking anything stronger than pop. Of course, Pop will drink anything!"
This was completely in keeping with a man of his generation. He wasn't trying to be edgy or tragically hip. No one groaned.

Several people left for whatever reason. Maybe they were disappointed in the thinness of his reedy voice. Maybe it reminded them too much of mortality and the relentless unflinching passage of time. All I know is 96% of the audience was over 60 and perhaps those who stayed saw what I did.


lightfootfan said...

Hi - glad to hear you feel for Gordon as I do..he's The Man.
Just want to clear up that the only band member he's lost was Terry Clements last February after 41 years. Carter Lancaster is the new guy. Rick has been with him since 67/68,Barry since early 70's and Mike since 1981. (Red Shea and Terry Whelan who were Gordon in the early 60's both passed away several years ago but had not been on tour with him for decades.)
thanks for the set list. I'll post alink to this at www.corfid.com - a fan based Lightfoot site and discussion board.
moderator @ www.corfid.com

Cats and Quilts said...

Thank you for the correction.