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Old 05-06-2008, 01:17 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,533
Default 1996 Kitchener review

May 2008 review by R.Reid was posted a few days ago:

The Record (Waterloo Region)

Pubdate:November, 12 1996

The legend plays on: Gordon Lightfoot introduces new songs, sings old favorites during Kitchener concert

Byline/Source: Robert Reid Record staff

Photo Caption: Black & White Photo: peter lee, Record staff Gordon Lightfoot plays for an appreciative audience at Centre in the Square on Monday.

Standing centre stage in the spotlight with guitar in hand,
Gordon Lightfoot strikes a profile as though chiseled out of
the Canadian Shield itself.

For, more than any other Canadian musician, Lightfoot is associated
with the landscape of this country -- its grandeur, its
vastness, its restless yearning, its loneliness.

That fact was reaffirmed Monday night when the Toronto-based performer
made his first visit to Centre in the Square in
three years. Lightfoot has many friends in Kitchener-Waterloo and the
capacity crowd gave the Orillia native a warm, appreciative welcome.

In a career spanning more than three decades, it's easy
to forget how Lightfoot, along with an extraordinary group of
Canadian performers including Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Joni Mitchell and
Neil Young, helped change the course of pop music.

Skilful transition

Emerging out of the 1960s folk revival (remember The Riverboat?),
Lightfoot was one of the first artists to make the
transition -- maybe transformation is the more accurate word --
from folksinger to singer/songwriter.

Straddling the borders of folk, country and pop, Lightfoot at
his best has always written songs with the unpretentious and
meticulous skill of a master craftsman.

Although many of his more than 400 songs have been
recorded by a veritable Who's Who of contemporary music, Lightfoot's
own weathered baritone and nimble guitar work remain the most
eloquent tools for expressing such enduring classics as Early Mornin'
Rain, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, If You Could Read My Mind
and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- to name
only a few of the songs that are etched into
the very fabric of this country's collective soul.

Lightfoot, however, is not one to rest on laurels, despite
the handsome royalties, gold and platinum records, Grammy nominations, Juno
Awards, honorary degrees and Order of Canada citation. He's too
Canadian for that.

With his 59th birthday only six days away, Lightfoot introduced
a half dozen new songs earmarked for a new album
with a projected spring release.

From a touching tune about an expected encounter with a
faded country singer, to a ditty written in his boathouse
on Lake Rosseau, the new songs are an extension of
the kind of material on his 1993 album Waiting for
You (his 18th original album since the self-titled debut release
in 1965).

One of the more interesting new songs is the autobiographical
A Painter Passing Through (I wonder if the title owes
anything to his old friend, the late painter Robert Markle?).

Waiting for You was well represented with Restless, Fading Away
and I'll Prove My Love, in addition to the title

But, the happily partisan crowd saved its most enthusiastic receptions
for old favorites, such as Carefree Highway, Sundown and The
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Sunday marked the anniversary of
the ship's sinking) during the first of two 60-minute sets.

Delightful surprise

The highlight of the first set, however, was a delightful
surprise that evoked memories of one of Lightfoot's best albums,
Sit Down Young Stranger (the title was later changed to
If You Could Read My Mind).

Wearing a poppy on his shirt, Lightfoot paid tribute to
Remembrance Day with Sit Down Young Stranger, an oft-requested but
seldom performed coming-of-age ballad he wrote during the Vietnam War.

Lightfoot always feels at home at the Centre and he
pretty much romped through both sets, with the occasional wry
quip as he reached for a sip of water or
changed from his Martin six-string to sunburst Gibson 12-string.

As always, his longtime backup musicians -- Terry Clements on
lead guitar, Rick Haynes on bass, Barry Keane on drums
and Michael Heffernan on bass -- were solid.

Alternately standing and sitting on a piano stool during the
second set, Lightfoot made his way through some of his
finest songs, including Don Quixote, If You Could Read My
Mind, Beautiful and Early Mornin' Rain.

Although the crowd wanted more, Lightfoot expressed his gratitude with
a single encore number.

But as usual, it was the last song of the
second set that people left the auditorium with clearest in
their minds.

At just over six minutes in length, Canadian Railroad Trilogy
is one of this country's defining artistic statements. Equal parts
history, documentary, lyric, anthem and prayer, it is mythic in
its scope and in its depth.

All anyone who suspects the power of this haunting song
need do is honor the silence that permeates the audience
as Lightfoot sings: "When the green dark forest was too
silent to be real/And many are the dead men ...
(extended pause )... too silent to be real."
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