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charlene 11-06-2017 10:50 AM

WINNIPEG,Manitoba review-Nov.2017
 
https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/ar...455111943.html


CONCERT REVIEW

Gordon Lightfoot

Nov. 3, Club Regent Event Centre

Attendance: Sold out

4 stars out of five

Legendary Lightfoot serenades surprisingly rowdy crowd

When someone says 78-year-old Canadian folk icon Gordon Lightfoot will be performing at the Club Regent Event Centre, the last word that comes to mind is "rowdy."

But the sold out crowd in Friday night was more ready for a good time than it seemed even Lightfoot expected; he was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation before he even sang or spoke a word and more than one bellow of "I love you, Gord" ripped through the air.

"We couldn't do it without ya," he replied, dropping that line for the first time of many.

Dressed like a bellhop from a Wes Anderson film red velour jacket, grey slacks, shiny black shoes the wiry Lightfoot got off to a bit of a shaky start with The Watchman's Gone, his voice sounding even more fragile than memory serves. As he went on, however, he seemed to get into the swing of things quickly "Let me relax a bit here," he laughed while imitating a squat already sounding stronger during the second and third tracks of the night, Waiting For You and Now and Then.

With more than 20 albums spread out over a 50 year career, Lightfoot is certainly not short on material to choose from while on his The Legend Lives On tour, and pulled songs from all corners of his back catalogue, from deep cuts to some of his biggest hits. Many of the versions played Friday night were abridged, with a verse or two omitted in order to save a bit of time and get through more material, but all the classics were present and accounted for: Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway, Early Morning Rain.

Lightfoot is 78 years old a fact mentioned above that is worth repeating. Seventy-eight years old and on tour across the country, able to power through a 90-minute set without any kind of notable break (he did leave once to blow his nose, as his allergies were bothering him quite a bit and the nasal spray he hilariously injected while still on stage wasn't cutting it, apparently).

There were many such comical moments Lightfoot has a wonderfully dry sense of humour and unsurprisingly knows how to spin a good yarn. He walked everyone through the time he was canoeing in Northern Manitoba and was forced to edit down The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald then and there so it would be short enough for radio (he cut two minutes off, and it went on to be No. 1) and the time he very nearly met Elvis Presley.

As a performer, Lightfoot is pretty low-key. He leans most of his guitars up against an amp instead of putting them on a stand; when he's singing, he's motionless save for a little jiggle in his knee in time to the fastest beat; he closes his eyes tight when a particularly solid guitar riff is on its way; and he starts most of his songs with the beautifully casual lead-ins, "How's about this one?" or "Ah-one-two-three-four."

It would be a travesty not to mention Lightfoot's four-piece band, whom he says he's been working with for quite some time. It takes a very skilled set of musicians to accompany a voice such as Lightfoot's to be there, fully, but to not overpower him. Their balance and precision was amazing to observe, and special kudos go to keyboard player Michael Heffernan, whose arrangements added some much needed depth, and lead guitarist Carter Lancaster, who plucked out notoriously difficult lines with improbable ease.

A particularly stunning moment was the aptly titled Beautiful, from his 1972 record Don Quixote. While Lightfoot's voice has lost much of the smooth, velvety texture it had in his youth, it still has the ability to evoke deep emotion, and did so wholly during this song.

He ended the night with a brief encore of Song for a Winter's Night appropriate given the snowy weather he and his team have been avoiding as they move west to east across the country.

Lightfoot is a Canadian music icon for a reason, and while he may not be vocally at the tip-top of his game, the artistry and endearing nature of his work hasn't faded one bit.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

imported_Next_Saturday 11-06-2017 01:09 PM

Re: WINNIPEG,Manitoba review-Nov.2017
 
"Dressed like a bellhop from a Wes Anderson film"

Hahahaha

charlene 11-06-2017 06:09 PM

Re: WINNIPEG,Manitoba review-Nov.2017
 
I've always said "like a wine steward/sommelier" in a fine restaurant.lol..


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