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Old 05-27-2005, 07:54 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,931

Well after a bit of a scare that the trains wouldn't run on time or at all
for that matter I boarded with enough luggage for a month. You can never be
overpacked is a mantra I live by. And I have the sore back to prove it.

I like taking the train from Whitby along the Lake Ontario shore into
Toronto at any time but especially for a Lightfoot concert in spring. I
guess it's knowing about his love of trains, listening to the whistle
blowing and watching the sights pass by that I drift off to images of north
Ontario where I spent so many summers. And yes I have been in Hornepayne
where the train runs on time.

The anticipation of seeing so many old friends built as the CN Tower and the
skyline of Toronto came into view. Thankfully since 2001 I have been able to
see many of the Lightfheads at different events like Saratoga, Atlanta, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Hamburg, New York, Toronto and Hamilton
and for reasons other than seeing Lightfoot in concert in most cases. Many
of us kept pretty busy during the Lightfoot recovery period!

It was also exciting to know that many new friends would be attending the
Massey shows and sad that some of the 2001 bunch wouldn't be here for the
return of Lightfoot to the centre of his universe - Massey Hall. The Church
of Gord was open for four nights and the pews would be full for the
faithful. We all had faith that one day he would be back and his
determination to do just that was about to come to fruition. It was hardly
believable to me. Even after seeing his two concerts in Hamilton in November
it did seem quite surreal to be heading to Massey after all this time.

Entering the lobby of the Delta was like coming home! And there was Lori, my
roomie sorting out the details of the reservations. All the way from Florida
with only a duffel bag and a guitar. I traveled 45 minutes with a huge
suitcase AND a duffel bag...thankfully the air guitar takes up virtually no
packing space. We sorted things out at the desk and headed to the room.

I would be experiencing a Long Island snore after hearing the Brit snore,
the Georgia snore and the Connecticut snore. I get around. With earplugs.

How exciting to find the right coloured elevator to take us to our floor!

It wasn't long before hugs with everyone were being exchanged. How fabulous
to see everyone again. It was like a warm blanket of love enveloped my
heart. I had been waiting for all of you. Sadly some faces were absent from
view but not from our thoughts.

Paul bore the brunt of my emotions finally welling up when I hugged him. I
really tried not to cry but seeing him after 4 years was too much! He is the
epitome of the word "gentle-man." His poor wife Yvonne and son James must
have thought they'd entered crazytown with me sobbing like I do. What a
beautiful family and how special that they shared this magical time for Paul
by coming with him on such a journey. Yvonne is a British beauty, charming
and lovely and a joy to speak with. Their son James was a cutie with the
wonderment of a transatlantic trip to a new country and all the treasures it
held gleaming in his smile and eyes. What a beautiful boy.

The breakdown with Paul was Number 1 of 3. Yes folks there were only 3! LoL

I know how excited Ron Jones was about attending the shows and meeting all
the folks. Jenney, Dan, Nanci, Kenyon and I met up with him in January at a
Tribute Show and were eagerly waiting for Massey 2005 so he could perform.
His singing and playing were outstanding! He has many mannerisms like Gord
when he performs so it's double the fun for those watching. The enthusiasm
coming from my favourite little Newfie was contagious and I only wish I knew
how to play at least one of the four magnificent guitars he brought with

I know Kenyon was absolutely gobsmacked with Ron's guitars and was really
quite good about giving back the 12 string. We were all blown away by Kenyon
's singing and playing. Our wee lad has grown up! He's still too old for
Lisa though..and too young for me!

Ron's son Liam, his wife Marion and 16 month old grand-daughter Zara
attended a jam session as well. Zara is certainly her grandpa's grandchild.
She was dancing and singing and having a grand time as he played. Ron drove
across this magnificent country from Vancouver in his van accompanied by his
guitars and bike. Marion flew. LOL

It was a first for me to hear Bill sing and play and like his CD he didn't
disappoint. He's a hell of a whistler too! Somebody mentioned he also was
nice to look at but I didn't notice.

Bill's friend Frank came along to join in the events and was a great lot of
fun. I'm still not sure what Frank does for a living but his accent leads to
the conclusion he's not a Shakespearian actor..It was a pleasure to spend
time with him!

Try as I might Bill and Frank did not get married at Toronto's City Hall.

Once again Sparky threw me over for a vintage fabric lady at the St.
Lawrence Market..I went along for the ride but held no chance in hell of
keeping her attention with all the fabrics she had to choose from. I'm a
slow learner...I always go back for more tho. Hopefully Jenney and I will
get together long before November 2006.

The beautiful blonde Brit with the big blue eyes finally made it back to
Toronto via New Jersey. David U. was Bru's personal chauffeur for the trek
north! She knows how to travel in style! I gotta get me a driver...

Melissa sang like an angel as usual and played her guitar beautifully. I
wish she'd brought her mandolin tho! Denny still has the devil in him for
sure but that's why we have so much fun! It was nice to hear him sing and
play guitar as well. Such a talented couple.

Donnie brought her smile. And her guitar. And chocolates. A trifecta! She'
s adorable.

She even sang for me!

Janice amazes me. She came all the way from San Diego to be our hostess for
4 days and she attended only 1 concert even tho she had tickets for 4
nights! She ran around Toronto buying snacks, drinks, and party gifts for
all of us, readied the meeting room for us before and after the shows and
did it all with that twinkle in her eye and beautiful smile. She's a force
to be reckoned with and we all are very grateful for her hard work in making
Massey 2005 as wonderful as Jenney did for Massey 2001. How can we top it?

Diane was her quiet self wondering how her daughter's prom preps and party
were going. Sometimes we mums have to do what we have to do! And if Diane's
daughter is like mine she fully understands the "Lightfoot" thing that has
control of us.

MaryAnn brought her Georgia accent that I love and had a wild time seeing
the sights. After hosting the Atlanta shindig and trotting us around the
sights of that beautiful city she broke out and saw some of Toronto this

Laurel and Deb were in tandem and along with Bonnie, the Three Musketeers
better watch out. I had hoped that Bonnie's dad could make it to a show but
it wasn't meant to be. The enthusiasm of those three can be felt as they
come up the elevator, long before entering the room!

John and Susan and Joan were a force to be reckoned with. After attending
the west coast shows they dropped in at home in New Jersey long enough to
wash out their skivvies and then head to Toronto! Then the fun began!
Drive up for the Wednesday show, drive back to Jersey on Thursday for Susan'
s daughters' graduation on Friday! Fly back up on Saturday and then home on
Sunday. Phew.and John even had time to feed me cake in all the chaos! Proud
grandmother Joan showed pics of the new grad and Susan was her usual bad
self. I love it!

Dan and Nanci came in from Hamburg, New York for the Friday and Saturday
shows. It's always good to get hugs from them and make plans to meet up.
They're coming up for Mariposa and will come up again for the Opera House
show in December. They don't get any sweeter than Danno and Nanci.

Don Kistler was in attendance and I thoroughly enjoyed his stories while we
waited in the lobby, outside Massey, and at dinner. I wish he would have
picked up a guitar and joined in the acoustic jam session. That goes for
Paul too!

James Jones (aka J.J./JimmyJones) popped in for a show and a quick visit
afterwards but disappeared before I could speak with him for any length of
time. He's like the wind.

It was so nice to see young Anne from Oklahoma again. What a beauty she is.
I hope she starts posting more and keeping us up to date on her life. Like
Kenyon she's finished school and all grown up now.

Page was up from Alabama again. It was a lot of fun with her in Atlanta last
May and I do love to hear that accent as often as I can!

Harold was up for the first three shows then drove back home to the Buffalo
area to pick up his family for the last show! I'll be seeing him in Orillia
in December I think.

Kathy K. had big hugs and smiles and it was great to see her again too along
with Susan Zunt.

Rik was in town and hoping for some last signatures on a great poster he'd
previously had signed by almost the whole Lightfoot band and crew.

Brian Murphy was in attendance at Massey with 7 year old Jake. I'm not sure
but I think Jake may have dozed off during the second half of the concert he
attended and I didn't get a chance to ask him what he thought about the

Andy drove up from Wyoming in his 1962 VW ! He joined in the singing when
the guitar players had their afternoon acoustic session and had a grand
time. That's a heck of a trek to make in a VW!!

New faces were popping up so it was nice to meet Melanie, Sue and Wendy !
That Wendy had Lisa and I laughing backstage on Saturday night and was quite
the conspirator with the rest of you!

I'm sure other names and faces will pop into my head as soon as I hit "send"
but to tell the truth I am still overwhelmed by everything that happened
last week so may accidentally leave some events and people out! It seems I
also unexpectedly turned 50 last week so that may explain things too!

The first concert on Wednesday night has to go down in my book as the single
most anticipated of all Lightfoot concerts I've attended. It also ended as
one of the best. The walk down Yonge Street isn't even a memory. I recall
none of it until reaching the corner of Shuter and seeing the line-up coming
west from Massey and heading south on Yonge. That's when the enormity of
this event hit me. Toronto was welcoming Gord home. I took a pic but I was
shaking so much it was a blur. Passing through those old red doors into
Massey and then heading to my seat up front was a walk into history for me.
All the times I had come to Massey to see Lightfoot flashed before my eyes
as I looked around at the hall, remembering the many seats I had occupied
over the years.

All of us congregated up by the stage, looking around and reminiscing. It
was sweet. Mr. Bernie Fiedler was hustling around like a mother hen,
welcoming people and keeping track of things. Barry Harvey was bustling
around as well. The stage and set up for the band was a still life picture
we all can see when we close our eyes but there it was for real. In just a
few moments the lights would go down, the band would walk out and then
Lightfoot would really know he was back home. As the lights lowered and the
audience sat down there was a huge intake of air and then the band walked
out. The applause and roar from 2500 people was amazing and we all began
standing up. The band looked around and at each other with some very big
smiles. We kept it up, getting louder and louder and then Lightfoot walked
out like he owned the place. An enormous roar washed down to the stage and
it almost felt like the building was rumbling. He bowed his head, clasped
his hands, looked around, looked up and smiled while he nodded his head. He
just let it happen and we went nuts. He absorbed it all and he was loving
it. Cheering, whistling, yelling, clapping, foot stomping, it went on and on
and never abated. After 3 minutes or so Lightfoot began his comeback concert
with "Spanish Moss" and we all sat down for what would be an amazing and
historic show. He looked fit and trim, wiry and strong. He clearly was
enjoying himself and the band was as well. When "Minstrel of the Dawn" was
over he said "Sorry I'm Late", which I think was meant for the few minutes
he was late coming out and for the bigger picture of being late since 2002
because of his illness. During the show he mentioned a couple of times that
he was NOT divorced, only separated. The first time was prior to singing the
5th song, Harmony which he explained he wrote back in 2000 when he was
having some "emotional trauma."

He also welcomed and thanked the folks at "the exercise club."

After he sang the 9th song, "I Used To Be A Country Singer" it was great to
hear him shout "All Right!"

He was back and feeling fine!

Just prior to the show beginning the Canadian Governor General (the Queen's
rep in Canada) passed by where I was sitting. I said hello and asked if she
was enjoying her time in Saskatchewan. She said hello and yes she was having
a wonderful time. She had just spent a few days with Queen Elizabeth
celebrating the Saskatchewan centennial. She flew back to Toronto to see her
old friend of 40 years perform. She used to be a journalist and had done TV
and print interviews with Lightfoot over the years. In December 2003 she
went to his home to present him with his Companion of the Order of Canada
because he wasn't up to traveling to Ottawa for the ceremonies.

I didn't find out until later that she bumped me off the backstage list that
night! I'm seriously re-thinking this monarchy thing.LOL!

After the break, a change of clothes, shoes and bracelet he mentioned his
medical problem reminded him of what Gordon Sr. would say about the radiator
hose in a car breaking."this was serious." That's what he felt his medical
situation was like. The radiator hose on a car breaking.. LOL

He sang "Beautiful" and then said that he was happy to be back "in the
centre of his universe as a musician." He told us that family etc. were
waiting for him to "warm up" and would be coming on Friday or Saturday. He
then told us once again "I'm not divorced, just separated."

Gord introduced the band a few songs later and also thanked his tailor. He did
a big toe-tapping rendition of "Old Dan's Records." He put his guitar down,
took a few bows and left the stage. All 2500 of us stood as one with
another huge roar and stomping of feet. We were yelling "encore" and "more"
and then another roar shook Massey as he sauntered back out. Gord then told
the story of his belly button hiding after his surgeries and discovering
again it one day in the hospital. He also spoke about how the exercise club
had helped him enormously with his breathing because "you gotta have air."

Especially for the next song - "Trilogy." This was the song the Canadian
contingent at Massey had been waiting for. The epic story of the opening up
of Canada rolled along and we all silently sang with him, saying a prayer
that this chronicler of our country and people would have the air to get
through it. I know I had trouble breathing but Lightfoot pounded through it
all and the ovation was deafening. After a two hour concert he sang it with
conviction and emotion and the look of satisfaction on his face when it was
over said it all. He walked off with bows to all of us and a swagger in his
step. A couple of minutes later he returned to a still standing and cheering
audience and sang "Bitter Green." Once again when it was over we were on
our feet, pleading for more but Lightfoot had given all he had to give and
was finished for this night after a few solitary bows across the
down, three to go.

We all headed back to the Delta to reflect on what a time we'd just
experienced. Some folks did not get bumped by the Gov. General and came up
later. It was a great time with Janice providing some major hospitality! Due
to some mix-up with reservations Lori and I were not connected to the
conference room as planned and I didn't get a key at check-in. Jenney was
still at Massey and folks were piling up in the hall so I scurried down to
the front desk to get a key so we could all get in the room before we were
evicted the very first night. Jenney was welcomed by 30 or more folks when
she got to her room! LOL

We sat around talking and catching up and taking pictures. The joy everyone
was feeling after this very successful first night was evident in the smiles
and praise and relief that we still had three more shows to attend. A few
people hadn't made it into Toronto yet so their first night had yet to

I think we all drifted out of the conference room around 2 or so and slowly
made our way to our respective rooms, already into "Day Two of The Return of
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Old 05-27-2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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Thanks Char! Brings back so many memories from 2001.
Sounds like FUN!
paperback dreams
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:16 PM   #3
The Rez
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Balboa, CA, US of A
Posts: 598


Balboa Blessings and Just-Set-Sunset Smiles. Stand at the water's edge gazing NorthEast - way North East.

Brings back so many memories from "never" - but charged w/ dreams "one day."

Jubilant to have been part of The Road as it wound thru Cerritos. Now, part-of-a-part of the further journey thru your eyes.

Very Open-Armed Thanks,

The Rez
I came to Love the Music
Before I came to Be
[Psalm 139:13]
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Old 05-28-2005, 12:52 AM   #4
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Thanks, Char! Wonderful, as usual!
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Old 05-29-2005, 03:15 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: La Mesa, CA, USA
Posts: 715

Originally posted by Lori:
Janice, I know I've said it before, but I cannot thank you enough for all your selfless acts. You definitely have another career to fall back on with your hosting abilities. I just ask that you please practice your parrallel parking so we don't have to travel those extra few miles to find a parking spot you can go in head-first. By the way, my chiropractor thanks you.
Aw Thanks Lori (and Char) - I had a blast! I enjoy hosting and catering and seeing everyone having a good time is the most rewarding aspect.

In my defense, once we started seeing places to eat that sounded appealing, there wasn't any street parking spots in sight (at least that I could see), even if I did know how to parrallel park and besides, the lot was right there. It did kind of feel like the old "see how many people we can fit in a car," days, though, didn't it? :D - go ahead and send me your chiropractor bill

I too am looking forward to gatherings between now and November 2006 - I always have fun when I'm with any of my Lighthead friends for any occasion.

OK, Char - there are still three more days to review, how about a Part 2????

"I'm too young to be so cynical, too old to be naive" ~Mark Erelli
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Old 05-29-2005, 05:11 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2000
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I'm working on part 2 !! lol
real life demanded the house get vacuumed and dusted, clothes washed and meals be cooked!

should be Monday or Tuesday for part 2! It will probably encapsualte the last 3 days and concerts...
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