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Old 04-19-2002, 12:18 PM   #1
Moonforest
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Speaking of the clapping during the songs...if anyone's heard the live bootleg from 1976, he plays 'The Auctioneer' and everyone gets into it and is clapping like crazy along to the song. After a bit, Gordy says, "Cool it! Cool it! Leave the driving to us!".

Most musicians like it when the audience gets into it, but not Gordy! Maybe he's such a perfectionist that the mis-timed and unrythmic clapping of the 99% white audience drives him nuts.

We saw Gordy here in Denver last year and there was this total freak in the audience whistling like he was at a KISS concert or something. This clown hadn't a clue about any of the songs, hooting/whistling during the songs, etc...Gord was real curt with everyone in the audience that night, stomped his foot loudly during the pause in 'Don Quixote' (to keep the idiot from whistling during the pause, I'm sure), and the concert seemed real 'short' to me...though looking at the set list it looked like a normal show. It left me with a weird feeling; and Gord didn't schedule a show here this year! I've seen Gordy countless times here in Colorado and Minnesota, but that's the first real obnoxious 'fan' we've encountered...I'm wondering if he's skipping us this year because of that one guy? We have to go out to Vegas this year to see him!

I'm surprised Gord didn't say anything from the stage...that would have shut the freak up.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:18 PM   #2
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Speaking of the clapping during the songs...if anyone's heard the live bootleg from 1976, he plays 'The Auctioneer' and everyone gets into it and is clapping like crazy along to the song. After a bit, Gordy says, "Cool it! Cool it! Leave the driving to us!".

Most musicians like it when the audience gets into it, but not Gordy! Maybe he's such a perfectionist that the mis-timed and unrythmic clapping of the 99% white audience drives him nuts.

We saw Gordy here in Denver last year and there was this total freak in the audience whistling like he was at a KISS concert or something. This clown hadn't a clue about any of the songs, hooting/whistling during the songs, etc...Gord was real curt with everyone in the audience that night, stomped his foot loudly during the pause in 'Don Quixote' (to keep the idiot from whistling during the pause, I'm sure), and the concert seemed real 'short' to me...though looking at the set list it looked like a normal show. It left me with a weird feeling; and Gord didn't schedule a show here this year! I've seen Gordy countless times here in Colorado and Minnesota, but that's the first real obnoxious 'fan' we've encountered...I'm wondering if he's skipping us this year because of that one guy? We have to go out to Vegas this year to see him!

I'm surprised Gord didn't say anything from the stage...that would have shut the freak up.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:24 PM   #3
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I don't like anyone clapping or singing along when I go to any concert but especially Lightfoot shows. I paid good money to hear the performer and don't want to listen to someone around me drowning out the professional on stage! The problem with the clapping during Gord's songs is that it usually not a song that requires clapping throughout the whole song. It's just a bit here and there and I'm sure it's very distracting to him while he's trying to keep time with the musicians on stage. Plus I'm sure he's aware that most people would prefer that no clapping happen at all.
At a concert on the weekend some moron kept yelling out after every song - he wasn't requesting songs either. He was just yelling"Hey Gord" "Yeah Gord!" - that sort of "look at me" stuff that makes you want to get up and smack the guy!
LOL
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:44 PM   #4
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I've seen him in Orillia at Mariposa and that was very, very special. To know that little town was where so much of his imagery originated and to go places that he went as a kid was very humbling. It made his songs that evenng seem much more real and the imagery even stronger for me.
After seeing him in NJ and PA this past weekend I'd still say the best place is The House of Gord in Toronto - Massey Hall. He "owns" that place! Last May I suggested he buy it and take down the Massey sign and put up "House of Gord" instead. He laughed and said he couldn't afford it! It will be extra special to see him in Orillia at the Orillia Opera House/Gordon Lightfoot Auditorium in September. I'm really looking forward to being one of 700 people sitting in the seats and thanking our lucky stars to have had The Man in our lives.
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Old 04-19-2002, 02:24 PM   #5
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I wish I knew so much more than I do about Lightfoot. he's a very shy and evasive sort when asked certain questions. he'll turn the question back to you and evade answering it that way! The following was a while back but it's some insight into the song:
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Tom
Member posted January 28, 2001 21:16
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"The Watchman's Gone" is such a fantastic song. I would love to hear that song in concert. I'm trying to figure out the meaning....can anyone else help out? Obviously the Watchman refers to the guy who's job it is to guard the train from hobo's and the like who try to get into the traincars. The song seems to be about a guy who is leaving a failed relationship("As I leave you in the sunset") & hitches a train bound for "the golden sun" the dream of a new start somewhere else. He makes it, but warns others to "beware knowin' the watchmen's always there". I'm not sure what he's trying to say. The ending is a little confusing for me too (i.e. "if you find me feedin' daisies"). I love the Canadian accent on "Kickin' your dreams ABOUT". What a classic!

Got one more nothin' I'd like to say
"You don't know me, A son of the sea am I"

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Tom
Member posted February 03, 2001 14:37
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Can anyone help me out on the above question? Thanks!
I've been on the town
Washing the *Barbara Striesand* down

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Tom
Member posted February 04, 2001 00:26
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THE WATCHMAN'S GONE
The more I listen to it, I think the end part about "If you find me feedin' daisies/Please turn my face up to the sky" I think he's talking about dying. It seems from the song he leaves for good to "follow the golden sun" and when his time is up "leave me be". Until then he will keep on drinking remembering his past pains: "Whatever I was/You know it was all because..." It's both a freeing song and yet he's still imprisoned.
Does that sound right, or does someone else have a different viewpoint of the song?

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charlene
Moderator posted February 05, 2001 11:30
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The Watchman's Gone (Sundown) 4:25


Just like birds of a feather
We too have followed the golden sun
It feels so good,
Knowin' the watchman's gone
If I give you a rose, buddy
Would you please bury it in the fields?
I seen a rose
Watchin' it all fold out

he's talking about being on his own and free from prying eyes, judgements and restraints - possibly those caused by a relationship? burying the rose in the fields - perhaps "planting" a rose in his memory because it seems when he saw a rose it opened up the way he saw life as opening up.


There's a train down at the station
It's come to carry my bones away
Two engines on
Twenty-one coaches long
End to end
Twenty-one coaches bend
The watchman's out
Kickin' the bums about

A funeral train perhaps? for when he/someone dies. the watchman's out doin his job keeping the bums off the funeral train.

If I wait for the right moment
You can bet I'll climb aboard unseen
I've done it before
I know I can do it in my sleep

he mentions he's gonna get on aboard so it's probably not him that dies.

The watchman's out
Kickin'the bums about
The watchman's out
Kickin' your dreams about

bums/hobos all have dreams of the free life of riding the rails but the watchman's job is to keep them off the trains so that means he's kicking their dreams about too - literally and physically i guess.

As I leave you in the sunset
Got one more nothin' I'd like to say
"You don't know me
A son of the sea am I"
As I say to you, my brother
If you live to follow the golden sun
You better beware
Knowin' the watchman's always there

when he leaves the train after perhaps getting on on one shore after he left the sea and headed across the country to the other shore and another ocean (he's a son of the sea) he lets the other guy know for what it's worth, that he needs to watch out for the watchman cuz he's always there.

If you find me feedin' daisies
Please turn my face up to the sky
And leave me be
Watchin' the moon roll by
Whatever I was
You know it was all because
I've been on the town
Washin' the bullshit down

a lot of hobos die along the train routes and many are alcoholics. he wants to be buried face up to watch the moon. he's explaining his life as being what it was because he got into the drinking too much and that ruled his life.

The watchman's out
Kickin' your dreams about
It feels so good
Knowin' the watchman's gone
It's like a song
Knowin' the watchman's gone

when you die the "watchman" (big brother, bosses, etc.) is no longer watching you and is the only time you are free of being watched by anyone. he finds peace with this knowledge.

I think it can be about living your life under intense scrutiny (perhaps as a successful performing artist) by people who will judge you by outward appearances mostly and that it only stops (for you) when you're dead and that's when peace comes. It also relates to everyone though be it a boss, spouses, parent etc. that plays the part of the "watchman".

i think!
lol
char

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Tom
Member posted February 05, 2001 21:49
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Thanks Char. I'm "dying" out here trying to figure this song out! Sometimes I wish we could email Gordon Lightfoot with questions, although I read he doesn't use a computer.
I agree with some of your insights. I like your idea of the "watchman" being more than just the train worker, but also possibly representing "Big Brother", Bosses, Spouses, Parents, etc. And how they literally & physically "kick" our dreams around.

I disagree with the part about "planting" a rose. The song asks the friend/buddy to "bury" the rose in the field, not plant it. Maybe he feels like that rose?

I don't think it is a funeral train. My daughter asked the same question right after I dl the song. lol It's just a train that carries his body to another place/city in "the golden sun".

Thanks for your imput Char. I'm the kind of person that has to figure out what a song means to fully appreciate. Can you break down IYCRMM? I still don't understand that one either! lol

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charlene
Moderator posted February 05, 2001 23:13
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Tom - re: bury/plant - us gardeners (LOL) will refer to the putting a plant in the grand as "burying" it. i.e.- "bury it 5 inches deep and cover with peat moss and loam, water well. May be a Canadian thing tho.
plus bury has two syllables as opposed to plant which has one and thus didn't fit the flow of the sentence maybe???
It may not be a funeral train. Could be just takin his old, tired bones across the country to another shore where the seaman can be near the ocean again.

You should write to Gord - see if you get a reply. It won't hurt!
Char

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Lightfoot678
Member posted February 09, 2001 10:04
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Regarding Canadian Railroad Trilogy. That song is one of my all time favorites. Everything about it is great. The lyrics, the guitar playing, the tempo changes. That song proves that Gord is a talented guitarist
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Look into his shining eyes and if you see a ghost don't be surprised......Listen to the strings. That jangle and dangle while the old guitar sings.

The lake it is said never gives up her dead, when the gales of November come early.

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sonia
Member posted February 10, 2001 22:34
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my favourite song has changed since I bought Songbook. It used to be If you could read my mind, but now I can't get enough of Always on the bright side.You can tell Gord has mellowed with the years if that's possible.I get a relaxed,take-me-away-Calgon-feeling when I listen to it. Just Gordon and his guitar. I love it.
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Chuck
unregistered posted February 11, 2001 10:15
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Watchman's Gone Cont...
Tom, I'm with you on this one. Best song ever written. No other song can effect me like this one. I would like to add my 2 cents on the meaning of this one.

Char touched on it a little bit.

I believe the whole song is about his battle with alcoholism.

Terms and Definitions:

Watchman = alcoholism itself, or the end result, death

Golden Sun = his favorite drink, possible Southern Comfort or other whiskey

If I wait for the right moment
You can bet I'll climb aboard unseen
I've done it before
I know I can do it in my sleep = falling off the wagon. If the mood is right it's so easy to take that first drink

As I say to you, my brother
If you live to follow the golden sun
You better beware
Knowin' the watchman's always there = telling us if we insist on abuseing ourselves with alcohol, we better be aware of the consequences

I've been on the town
Washin' the bullshit down = washin, another term for drinking, as in drinking to kill the pain

Gordon had a dificult time overcoming alcoholism. I believe this was his song expressing that.

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Old 04-26-2002, 06:36 PM   #6
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This may make no sense at all, but I remember reading a review of the "Sundown" album back then when it came out, and the reviewer seemed to think that the Watchman
being gone was the (at the time) impending
end of Richard Nixon's presidency. Oh well....
As far as not liking clapping along with the songs, on the "Live in Reno" DVD, Gord seems to actually like the audience clapping along durning "Sundown". Maybe he was more tolerant because he was on TV!
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Old 04-26-2002, 06:36 PM   #7
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This may make no sense at all, but I remember reading a review of the "Sundown" album back then when it came out, and the reviewer seemed to think that the Watchman
being gone was the (at the time) impending
end of Richard Nixon's presidency. Oh well....
As far as not liking clapping along with the songs, on the "Live in Reno" DVD, Gord seems to actually like the audience clapping along durning "Sundown". Maybe he was more tolerant because he was on TV!
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Old 04-28-2002, 01:46 AM   #8
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"Too Many Clues In This Room" reminds me of the Watergate scandal. The "clues" being the tapes. "When his crew threw his balls to the sharks" reminds me of the aides who cut deals to avoid lengthy prison terms.

As far as clapping goes, I never thought any of his tunes were "clappable". Most of the people attending his shows are not musicians, so they don't find anything annoying about it. I remember one time an audience was clapping to "Don Quixote" and during an instrumental break he looked at the audience, shook his head and said "no you don't". The clapping stopped.

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Old 04-28-2002, 01:46 AM   #9
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"Too Many Clues In This Room" reminds me of the Watergate scandal. The "clues" being the tapes. "When his crew threw his balls to the sharks" reminds me of the aides who cut deals to avoid lengthy prison terms.

As far as clapping goes, I never thought any of his tunes were "clappable". Most of the people attending his shows are not musicians, so they don't find anything annoying about it. I remember one time an audience was clapping to "Don Quixote" and during an instrumental break he looked at the audience, shook his head and said "no you don't". The clapping stopped.

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Old 04-29-2002, 02:14 PM   #10
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Concerning "Watchman," I feel that this is primarily a road song in the style of Woody Guthrie or "King of the Road." (Borderstone is another such song by Gord.) The life on the road is marked by the journey, not the destination -- one lives "to follow the golden sun." As in a Woody Guthrie song (e.g., the singer who "roams and rambles and follows [his own] footsteps" in This Land is Your Land), the penniless hobo in Watchman has complete freedom whereas the office-bound corporate minion has none. "On the town," as opposed to the road, he must deal with the inherent "b***s***, which drives him to "wash [it] down" with alcohol as a means of coping. The singer realizes that he is freer and healthier on the road than "on the town." There may be some Kristofferson influence here also ("Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.") In that sense, "Watchman" is an uncannily accurate description of the hobo life on the road, where the only thing that can interrupt the unbridled freedom is the Watchman (the enforcer of society's rules" who kicks the bums about, but only temporarily, because the veteran of the road can in his sleep "climb aboard unseen." The wandering hobo has a lot in common with the sailor of the past ("son of the sea") in that one's life is given extensively to wandering, the outdoors, and contemplation. Even death is not the end of this type of life but a mere continuation of the freedom of the road. The singer is almost indifferent to death --"If you find me feeding daisies, please turn my face up towards the sky, and leave me be ..." Compare this image to that of the sailors in Triangle, "with their faces turned up to the stars." "You must answer again to the sea so ye may not complain."

There is also an interesting tie between "Watchman" and Early Morning Rain, because the subject of EMR "can't jump a jet plane like you can a freight train." That image, in part, is a lament for the simpler times of the road, times which have been left behind by the "improvements" of modern life which do not "improve" us so much as package and limit us.

**************
Turning to the original part of this thread, I think many of Gord's songs are clappable, especially Alberta Bound. That doesn't mean I want to hear the audience clapping and interfering with the music. Unless the performer invites it, I think it is somewhat presumptious to clap along during a song. It's not as bad as singing along (usually), but I didn't pay to hear the guy or gal behind me clap or sing.


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"And the laughter came too easy for life to pass me by."
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Old 04-29-2002, 02:14 PM   #11
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Concerning "Watchman," I feel that this is primarily a road song in the style of Woody Guthrie or "King of the Road." (Borderstone is another such song by Gord.) The life on the road is marked by the journey, not the destination -- one lives "to follow the golden sun." As in a Woody Guthrie song (e.g., the singer who "roams and rambles and follows [his own] footsteps" in This Land is Your Land), the penniless hobo in Watchman has complete freedom whereas the office-bound corporate minion has none. "On the town," as opposed to the road, he must deal with the inherent "b***s***, which drives him to "wash [it] down" with alcohol as a means of coping. The singer realizes that he is freer and healthier on the road than "on the town." There may be some Kristofferson influence here also ("Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.") In that sense, "Watchman" is an uncannily accurate description of the hobo life on the road, where the only thing that can interrupt the unbridled freedom is the Watchman (the enforcer of society's rules" who kicks the bums about, but only temporarily, because the veteran of the road can in his sleep "climb aboard unseen." The wandering hobo has a lot in common with the sailor of the past ("son of the sea") in that one's life is given extensively to wandering, the outdoors, and contemplation. Even death is not the end of this type of life but a mere continuation of the freedom of the road. The singer is almost indifferent to death --"If you find me feeding daisies, please turn my face up towards the sky, and leave me be ..." Compare this image to that of the sailors in Triangle, "with their faces turned up to the stars." "You must answer again to the sea so ye may not complain."

There is also an interesting tie between "Watchman" and Early Morning Rain, because the subject of EMR "can't jump a jet plane like you can a freight train." That image, in part, is a lament for the simpler times of the road, times which have been left behind by the "improvements" of modern life which do not "improve" us so much as package and limit us.

**************
Turning to the original part of this thread, I think many of Gord's songs are clappable, especially Alberta Bound. That doesn't mean I want to hear the audience clapping and interfering with the music. Unless the performer invites it, I think it is somewhat presumptious to clap along during a song. It's not as bad as singing along (usually), but I didn't pay to hear the guy or gal behind me clap or sing.


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"And the laughter came too easy for life to pass me by."
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Old 05-08-2002, 10:02 PM   #12
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I have been performing in front of folks since I was 17 (37 now). Although I like the fact that the crowd gets into it at times, the clapping is a huge distraction. Audiences have no timing. It's hard enough to get two people to do things at the same time, much less 2000 or more. The band starts to fight the timing the audience can't keep, and it can go downhill from there if the band can't hear themselves well enough. I'm sure Mr. Lightfoot feels the same way. Clapping during a Lightfoot concert is an aweful thought. Just sit back, hang on every word, and wish it would never end.
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Old 05-08-2002, 10:02 PM   #13
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I have been performing in front of folks since I was 17 (37 now). Although I like the fact that the crowd gets into it at times, the clapping is a huge distraction. Audiences have no timing. It's hard enough to get two people to do things at the same time, much less 2000 or more. The band starts to fight the timing the audience can't keep, and it can go downhill from there if the band can't hear themselves well enough. I'm sure Mr. Lightfoot feels the same way. Clapping during a Lightfoot concert is an aweful thought. Just sit back, hang on every word, and wish it would never end.
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Old 09-09-2003, 05:19 PM   #14
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Yes,this is an older topic! With that out of the way...It's funny that American audiences have that problem of not being able to keep time. When I watched the Freddie Mercury tribute concert 11 years ago on TV,the people at Wembly Stadium were keeping perfect time with their clapping along,in percision no less!//// Gord songs are not clappable? Cotton Jenny is very clappable,as well as his early upbeat folk songs! When I went to Gord's show last year,he started "CJ" and people started to clap a little but stopped! I wanted to do it but I didn't want to be the only one! I find it hard to believe Gord would not want you to have a good time at his show. As for his,"leave the driving to us",maybe he might be different about it now. I want to hear him play and sing to but I don't enjoy sitting at a concert like a bump on a log either! Next time,I'm clappin"! Been me,later!

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Old 09-10-2003, 12:17 PM   #15
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quote:Originally posted by seahawk11:
Speaking of the clapping during the songs...if anyone's heard the live bootleg from 1976, he plays 'The Auctioneer' and everyone gets into it and is clapping like crazy along to the song. After a bit, Gordy says, "Cool it! Cool it! Leave the driving to us!".

Most musicians like it when the audience gets into it, but not Gordy! Maybe he's such a perfectionist that the mis-timed and unrythmic clapping of the 99% white audience drives him nuts.

We saw Gordy here in Denver last year and there was this total freak in the audience whistling like he was at a KISS concert or something. This clown hadn't a clue about any of the songs, hooting/whistling during the songs, etc...Gord was real curt with everyone in the audience that night, stomped his foot loudly during the pause in 'Don Quixote' (to keep the idiot from whistling during the pause, I'm sure), and the concert seemed real 'short' to me...though looking at the set list it looked like a normal show. It left me with a weird feeling; and Gord didn't schedule a show here this year! I've seen Gordy countless times here in Colorado and Minnesota, but that's the first real obnoxious 'fan' we've encountered...I'm wondering if he's skipping us this year because of that one guy? We have to go out to Vegas this year to see him!

I'm surprised Gord didn't say anything from the stage...that would have shut the freak up.


I can't agree with Gord more. Clapping at the beginning and at the end of a song is good, but they really should be quiet while the song is being played. Especially if it's a live recording on a CD. That's what I can't stand about Disc#1 with all the live recordings. I don't mind the clapping at the beginning and end, but they should'nt do that in the middle.
And as for that dude whistling, I'll bet Gord wanted to tell him to shut the h*ll up. But of course that's not his style to do that and besides, some of his fans might lose their respect for him. I'll bet anything that he was thinking "why don't you go to a KISS concert if you wanna whistle so badly".
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Old 09-10-2003, 12:17 PM   #16
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quote:Originally posted by seahawk11:
Speaking of the clapping during the songs...if anyone's heard the live bootleg from 1976, he plays 'The Auctioneer' and everyone gets into it and is clapping like crazy along to the song. After a bit, Gordy says, "Cool it! Cool it! Leave the driving to us!".

Most musicians like it when the audience gets into it, but not Gordy! Maybe he's such a perfectionist that the mis-timed and unrythmic clapping of the 99% white audience drives him nuts.

We saw Gordy here in Denver last year and there was this total freak in the audience whistling like he was at a KISS concert or something. This clown hadn't a clue about any of the songs, hooting/whistling during the songs, etc...Gord was real curt with everyone in the audience that night, stomped his foot loudly during the pause in 'Don Quixote' (to keep the idiot from whistling during the pause, I'm sure), and the concert seemed real 'short' to me...though looking at the set list it looked like a normal show. It left me with a weird feeling; and Gord didn't schedule a show here this year! I've seen Gordy countless times here in Colorado and Minnesota, but that's the first real obnoxious 'fan' we've encountered...I'm wondering if he's skipping us this year because of that one guy? We have to go out to Vegas this year to see him!

I'm surprised Gord didn't say anything from the stage...that would have shut the freak up.


I can't agree with Gord more. Clapping at the beginning and at the end of a song is good, but they really should be quiet while the song is being played. Especially if it's a live recording on a CD. That's what I can't stand about Disc#1 with all the live recordings. I don't mind the clapping at the beginning and end, but they should'nt do that in the middle.
And as for that dude whistling, I'll bet Gord wanted to tell him to shut the h*ll up. But of course that's not his style to do that and besides, some of his fans might lose their respect for him. I'll bet anything that he was thinking "why don't you go to a KISS concert if you wanna whistle so badly".
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:16 PM   #17
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I saw Gord play in Kalamazoo MI last year, and the clapping and whistling was awful...I could tell he didn't appreciate it because he started the next song regardless of the audience noise, so I ended up not hearing the beginning of most songs. Or when a song starts and its quiet, until the crowd can tell what song it is...and then feel compelled to scream when they recognize it. I saw the Stones last year and some idiot behind me was singing along to Satisfaction for the first half of Jumpin Jack Flash. Sorry, these people get on my nerves. Anyways, a record shop owner I know said he saw Gord play in Kalamazoo a ways back (probly 70s...?) and after some songs, he got so fed up that he said something like "you all aren't listening anyway" and he picked up and left! Sure glad he didn't do that when I saw him!
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:16 PM   #18
higgy78
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I saw Gord play in Kalamazoo MI last year, and the clapping and whistling was awful...I could tell he didn't appreciate it because he started the next song regardless of the audience noise, so I ended up not hearing the beginning of most songs. Or when a song starts and its quiet, until the crowd can tell what song it is...and then feel compelled to scream when they recognize it. I saw the Stones last year and some idiot behind me was singing along to Satisfaction for the first half of Jumpin Jack Flash. Sorry, these people get on my nerves. Anyways, a record shop owner I know said he saw Gord play in Kalamazoo a ways back (probly 70s...?) and after some songs, he got so fed up that he said something like "you all aren't listening anyway" and he picked up and left! Sure glad he didn't do that when I saw him!
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:36 PM   #19
Borderstone
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Snapping? Is that okay? I don't think he'd mind if the audience were snapping along would he?

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