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Old 03-11-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
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Default Davenport IA article

Lightfoot glad he's still performing at age 70
StoryDiscussionBy David Burke | Tuesday, March 03, 2009 | (

Gordon Lightfoot thought it might have been the end of the road 6 1/2 years ago.

The Canadian troubadour, now 70, suffered severe abdominal bleeding and ended up in a hospital for more than three months.

“You don’t know what sick is until you get a burst artery,” he recalled from his home in Toronto.

Once he had recovered in 2004, his first concert was a benefit for the Hamilton, Ontario, hospital where he stayed — two years and four months after he had last performed in public.

“That’s a long time for a person who tours all the time,” he said.

Lightfoot says he’s back at full speed now, with 60-70 concerts a year, including a date next week at the Adler Theatre in Davenport. He’s fully recovered, Lightfoot added, and plans daily workouts around the time he spends at his office.

“We have a great time. After awhile, it becomes a science,” he said of touring.

Lightfoot has had dozens of hits in Canada, and he had the most success in the United States with “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The latter, about a ship sinking in Lake Superior, was very unlikely subject matter for a hit song. The album version, a lengthy 6 minutes and 15 seconds, began getting played by a Los Angeles radio station, but Lightfoot offered to edit it down to a more reasonable four minutes.

“We had to shorten all the instrumentals. But I did the editing in a way that it’s hardly noticeable,” he said of the song’s success. “It’s the story, and the story is really in great sequence. It’s chronologically correct, and it’s a great sound. It suggests wind and water as the musical background.”

Those hits and other album cuts are among the selections in Lightfoot’s concert, which is two hours plus an intermission.

Playing in a concert setting comes naturally to Lightfoot, he said, after rehearsals help him get into the rhythm of performances and touring.

“I’d like to feel like I played the night before,” he said. “We stay on top of things and we perfect things. A program of material like that is the sum of its parts, and you can put a lot of improvement into what you do. I’ll do that as long as I perform: stay prepared and stay ready.”

Although Lightfoot has had more hits in Canada than America, he said the reception for him is about the same regardless of where he goes.

“It is so similar. I feel like the Americans are my cousins. We’ve been going down there for 35 years now ... and we’re all the same,” he said. “We’re cut from the same cloth, if you ask me.”


Who: Gordon Lightfoot

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11

Where: Adler Theatre, Davenport

How much: $58, $48 and $38

Information: (563) 326-8555 or

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