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Old 11-18-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
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Default Toronto Sun article

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lightfoot tradition continues

Last Updated: 18th November 2009, 12:29am

Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot checks things out during the equipment load-in for his traditional multi-night November stand at Massey Hall, which began in 1976. (Lorne Bridgman Photo)

Canadian folk music icon Gordon Lightfoot turned 71 yesterday but the hardcore troubadour said he'd been spending the day like any other working musician.

"This birthday, I'm just going to cool it and get ready to go to work the next day," said Lightfoot last week from his Toronto home, leading up to his four-night Massey Hall stand that begins tonight.

"I'll probably be over there on my birthday, checking out my load-in (of equipment). I love that place and I love the work, I really do."

Last year, for his 70th birthday, Lightfoot did a special benefit for The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, that was part party, part benefit.

This year, one day after turning 71, Lightfoot will kick off multiple shows at Massey Hall in November, a beloved tradition which began back in 1967.

"It's a reunion, it's a meeting of friends," said Lightfoot of the experience. "It's a special meeting for fans who have gotten to know each other through the years. It's a lot of fun. It's a great challenge. There's a lot of distraction to it but I try to keep my focus together and my main purpose there is to do the great shows and then, of course, we have the meet and greet after the show, and that's usually about 80, 90, maybe 100 people. And I work my way through that. I enjoy it.

"Perhaps if I'd gone to university, I would have made a good politician," he added with a chuckle.

Lightfoot is well warmed up, both for the Massey Hall performances and the schmoozing.

He has done 70 shows this year, with a good third of them in October alone, and already has three tours lined for next year, including a stop April 14 at Hamilton Place.

He says as long as he can continue to perform well live, he will.

"I've been asked to do a couple of books but I haven't gotten into it yet," said Lightfoot. "We could be looking at a health issue, you know, none of us is getting any younger. And I'm going to keep concentrating on this, on what we're doing right now. So I'll keep doing it until it becomes apparent that it's time to stop. And there's a bit of a challenge there, too, because many artists much older than myself still perform and I can use them as an example."

Lightfoot has definitely bounced back from his September 2002 brush with death, when he suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm during the second concert of a two-night stand in his native Orillia, Ont.

After undergoing surgery, recovering and deciding to put his impressive recording career aside after releasing his 2004 album, Harmony, the road is now his focus although he says he doesn't overtax himself.

"They're done in tight little groupings, these tours, but as far as my health goes, it's good. I recovered from what could be termed mechanical failure due to a burst artery, which would kill most, but somehow I fought my way back from that. And I wondered for a year or so if I would be able to get back on the stage. Eventually it came around."

Earlier this year, Lightfoot also made a special appearance at Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony, inducting Toronto alt-country-pop act Blue Rodeo.

He said he hadn't forgotten Jim Cuddy's appearance at his first concert back from his illness.

"After I was ill, it was 28 months later that I first walked on a stage, and it was over in Hamilton Place and I was just trying it out in a tentative way, and Jim was there."

Urban, Joel mention Gord's name

Gordon Lightfoot, whose 42-year tradition of a multi-night stand at Massey Hall runs tonight through Sunday, got shout-outs from two major music stars at their respective Toronto concerts at the Air Canada Centre earlier this year.

Country star Keith Urban snuck in a bit of Sundown during his encore, and pop singer-songwriter-pianist Billy Joel did a snippet of Alberta Bound while talking about seeing Lightfoot at Massey Hall several decades earlier when he was an impressionable young musician.

"I'm so happy to hear that. I'm a fan of his guitar playing," said Lightfoot when told about Urban's mini-tribute. "He's a great guitar player, that kid. I'm very happy and proud to hear that. I'm very pleased."

Joel also went so far to say that Lightfoot was a hero of his.

"Influences come from all directions," said Lightfoot, humbly, of the Joel comment. "I can be influenced by Neil Young. He's one of the great ones."
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:00 PM   #2
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Toronto Sun article

Great review!! thanks for sharing it Char, and you all have a grand time @ those Massey Hall concerts.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Toronto Sun article


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lightfoot tradition continues

"It's a reunion, it's a meeting of friends," said Lightfoot of the experience. "It's a special meeting for fans who have gotten to know each other through the years. It's a lot of fun. [QUOTE]

We've gone a long way from "net people" and "dotcommies" to "It's a special meeting for fans"!

Thanks Char for posting. Have fun!!!

Thank you Gord for realizing what Massey means to us too!
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