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Old 10-23-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
charlene
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Default Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

http://www.randyphillips.net/?p=1249 - blog posting

Gordon Lightfoot
RP and I saw Gordon Lightfoot in concert at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills last night, Oct. 21, 2009.

I’d never heard of The Canyon Club before RP received a promotional offer a month or so ago with some pretty attractive discounts, so she sprang for it. It doesn’t look like much from the outside – just off the 101 in a shopping center dedicated to mostly antique stores, which just happened to match the several hundred people who were in attendance last night. It’s sort of a dinner/night club. Tickets are issued as standing room only, but if you also make a reservation for dinner, you’re pretty sure to have a seat with a great view of the stage. It’s an intimate setting, with capacity at around 1250. However, the food is decidedly NOT the reason to go – overpriced and just not that good.

I’ve seen Gordon Lightfoot in concert quite a few times over the years, and all those concerts were after his vocal peak in the ’70s and ’80s and I’d not seen him since his near-fatal health problems some five years ago. In all those concerts, it’s was evident that his voice was not as strong as when he was in his prime. Even so, I was really shocked at how thin and reedy his voice has become. At the beginning of the concert, his singing was almost a whisper, and he’s lost both the upper and lower ranges of his formerly-robust baritone. There were flashes of richness from time to time as the performance continued, but they proved to be short-lived. He made some modifications to some of the melodies to avoid having to sing the highest notes, but he has so far refused to sing these songs in a lower key, which does not surprise me, knowing his penchant for perfection.

Otherwise, it was a solid Lightfoot concert, all the hits, all received with great warmth by his appreciative audience. He told some corny jokes – ‘Why is the moon pale? Because it was out all night’ – his stage patter has never been much to write home about. He played his six-string as well as two twelve-strings, one capoed at the second fret, the other at the third.

He was backed by the same band I’ve always seen with him – Mike Heffernan on keys, Rick Haynes on thumping bass, Barry Keane on drums and the superlative Terry Clements on lead guitar. No real surprises in the set list, which lasted nearly two hours without a break, ending with the classic ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’ and an encore, ‘Blackberry Wine’.

This was the seventeenth of twenty dates in 26 days, and he’s headed for his traditional homecoming concert series at Massey Hall in Toronto in November. I was glad to see him this one last time, but I think that will indeed be the last time – I’d prefer to remember the stronger performances of the past and of course his huge catalog of recordings.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:54 PM   #2
Dream Street Rose
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Hi everyone,

It's me, DSR.


Gordon's performances have been spectacular and the house was packed at Canyon Club. Everyone there was there because they wanted to see and hear Gordon Lightfoot and his wonderful band/orchestra. I have already been to a few concerts and am on my way to more. Ken, Kathy, Kerstin and I all agree that Gordon is very strong and you can definitely hear all the words. He has rewritten a few songs so that he can keep us all happy by singing songs that are harder for his voice to reach.

Please, please if you are a Lighthead and can get to a concert, do what it takes to hear "The Man", so you can see and hear for yourself.

Hope you are all well.

DSR
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:07 PM   #3
randyp
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Charlene, you've done me a disservice by copying the contents of my carefully-written post to this forum - the link to my website would have been sufficient, I think.

I knew the 'doesn't sound as he did when he was in his 40's' comment would come up. Fair enough, but I paid a premium price for tickets - more than I've *ever* paid in the past to hear Gord (not to mention having to buy dinner to get a chair to sit on). And more power to him if he can sell the tickets (and he apparently can). I was naive to expect the same performance that I saw last time.

DSR, you and your friends are being disingenuous to imply that it's the same as it ever was. It's true that one could hear the words, and his speaking voice sounded fine, but I didn't pay to hear him talk. Was it an off night for him?

Don't get me wrong - I love Gord; everything he's ever recorded is on my iPod and is in constant rotation, I've attended more of his performances than any other artist, and overall I was happy to see him the other night. I just wanted to make sure that any Lighthead searching for some feedback got a realistic appraisal.

Great forum, by the way - cheers!
==
Randy
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:16 PM   #4
teherie
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

I missed Gordon Lightfoot's performance @ Chautauqua, NY on July 24th 35 miles from my house but I had a good excuse. My first grandchild was born on the 23rd while I was in Illinois on business that week so Gordon and his buddies would forgive me. I also missed Arlo Guthrie's concert three days earlier at a free concert on Presque Isle Bay.

When I saw GL last September @ Shea's Theater in Buffalo with my son, I noticed how much fun these guys were having.

As Willie Nelson said when someone asked him when he was going to retire: "I golf all day, sing and play guitar at night and travel everywhere? What do you want me to give up?"

I still haven't gotten to shake his hand and say hello yet but I guess I missed my chance at the Robin Hood Dell West in 1977 when he sat down a few seats away from me to talk to the guy running the sound system for his opening act. We share the same birthday (November 17) and I have two Martins so I guess all is not lost.

Check out his video of "Inspiration Lady" on You Tube. The magic is still there even though it's a few years old.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:29 PM   #5
charlene
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Hi Randy,
Sorry you feel a disservice has been done.
It's generally how things are posted here by everybody - the link and the text altho some people post just the text without a link. I sometimes put the link in when I see that so the originator's site can be accessed.
Thanks for dropping by, we all love "The Man."

Char
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:59 PM   #6
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Im sorry Randy that my post was not a pleasant read for you. But lately there are lot's of negative press towards 'Lightfoot's aging singing voice.'

After reading your post again, you did not mean any wrong and you certainly are entitle to your opinion.

Therefore I deleted my post, and please accept my apologies.

And yes we all love "The Man"

~Jesse Joe~
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:10 PM   #7
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream Street Rose View Post
Hi everyone,

It's me, DSR.


Gordon's performances have been spectacular and the house was packed at Canyon Club. Everyone there was there because they wanted to see and hear Gordon Lightfoot and his wonderful band/orchestra. I have already been to a few concerts and am on my way to more. Ken, Kathy, Kerstin and I all agree that Gordon is very strong and you can definitely hear all the words. He has rewritten a few songs so that he can keep us all happy by singing songs that are harder for his voice to reach.

Please, please if you are a Lighthead and can get to a concert, do what it takes to hear "The Man", so you can see and hear for yourself.

Hope you are all well.

DSR
Hello DSR,

Happy to hear that you & your friends are having a great time out there in "SUNNY CALIFORNIA". Say 'Hi' to everyone in your group for me, especially Kerstin who like many of you dont post much anymore here @ CORFID...
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:53 PM   #8
randyp
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Joe View Post
...I deleted my post, and please accept my apologies.
No apology neccesary, no harm no foul.

You shouldn't have deleted the comment, though; now my response doesn't make as much sense!
==
Randy
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:26 AM   #9
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

You got a good point there Randy !
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:09 PM   #10
jj
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlene View Post
..he has so far refused to sing these songs in a lower key, which does not surprise me, knowing his penchant for perfection.

thanks, i didn't realize that was a fact and had just asked this last week

does it relate to maintaining perfection?...we've had a discussion (Diane?) about this and my thinking was it would be cinch to move the capo down a fret or two as needed...it wouldnt affect 'voicings' or Barry and Rick, Terry and Mike would be affected from minimal to larger degrees depending on the tune(s) in question...i think they would find the rework actually refreshing and i think they would not be too bothered by the task...they are pretty skilled guys...great question for Gord...but i think his rearranging of the melody works fine and i find it refreshing so no complaints here (other than the 90% same setlist over past 5-15 years)...i like hearing songs in the keys written and recorded in but i don't think a 'lowering' would detract from perfection...maybe we've got it all wrong, his voice sounds more nasal but lower, maybe it's actually got higher...i think it's more a diaphragm issue

btw, i think pasting links works good, but if char hadn't stumbled on your blog and created a new thread of it here, then i and many others wouldnt have even read your posting, let alone clicked on a link to your site...so i think she did you a service...bottom line: i'm glad you're now a card carrying member...bottom line#2, Gord still rocks
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:45 PM   #11
Sundown17
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

Wasn't me, jj, that had the discussion about technical adjustments to suit his voice. Much to my life-long regret, I am not a musician and wouldn't know nothin' about that. BUT we have talked about how nice it would be if "The Man" would vary his setlist a little for surprises and to choose songs that fit his present singing voice. Thanks for "mentioning my name".

Randy, your thoughts are well expressed and I can understand where you are coming from between the price of the ticket, the venue and unpreparedness of not hearing Gord since before his "event". I have been attending Gord concerts right along and I tell people to be prepared when they say they would like to or are attending a concert, if it is their first time or haven't seen him in many years. But when you think about his age and what he has been through, it sort of all falls into place. Please reconsider giving him another listen at a venue not so expensive and unusual.

Diane
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:34 PM   #12
fezo
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Default Re: Agoura Hills-Canyon Club review-blog posting

I would certainly appreciate lower ticket prices and completely understand folks that don't pay the going rate to hear him as he is now but it's not like it's Gord's fault that he can command that.

For some performers the venues shrink as they hit this stage of their careers. He's not one of those.
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