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Old 04-04-2008, 06:30 AM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Default Columbus Dispatch review

Singer's delivery adds to poignancy
Friday, April 4, 2008 1:13 AM

Many of Gordon Lightfoot's songs are about memory and time. As their singer and narrator, his relationship with their stories is key.

It is a tie that served him well last night, as the 69-year-old delivered a poignant, reserved and satisfying two hours of music in the Palace Theatre.

He took the stage gaunt but garrulous, aged yet eager, the survivor of a 2001 illness that left him in a coma for weeks. His voice threatened to give out before the end of every song, especially in the upper register, where it sometimes cracked. Still, he was as persistent at the end of the second set as in the first song.

The formerly rich resonance in the bottom was all but gone, but the lifelong habit of top-loading every phrase with emphasis has paid off in the autumn of his career, when it is truly difficult for him to sustain the volume throughout. His attack sounds nearly as natural today as it did 40 years ago.

Lightfoot's diminished sound lent a bittersweet tone to songs such as A Painter Passing Through and lines such as "I was in my prime, once along the way." It lent added weight to the wizened advice in others such as 14 Karat Gold.

His terrific band longtime guitarist Terry Clemments, keyboardist Mike Heffernan, bassist Rick Haynes and drummer Barry Keane remained tastefully in the background, stepping out only for the guitarist's concise solos.

Lightfoot's music blurred the line between the folk boom of the early 1960s and the singer-songwriter style of the 1970s, freely ranging between the iconic and historical bent of the former and the personal narrative of the latter. The memory-laden program and its delivery last night added a dimension.

Clearly, songs such as The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald, whose story remains engaging, share an allegiance to the folk tradition, while If You Could Read My Mind last night restated Lightfoot's part in the singer-songwriter era.

But many more such as Rainy Day People, Carefree Highway and Alberta Bound that last night took on added perspective, given the singer's advancing age and the experiences that must have inspired those songs receding deeper into memory.

Lightfoot rarely allowed the performance to settle into mere nostalgia. He suggested at turns that the next song might be familiar. But when he performed his "favorite" Dylan song, it was the late-period Ring Them Bells; when he sang Baby Step Back, he seemed to be searching for the thread that makes the song timeless.
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:53 AM   #2
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: Columbus Dispatch review

A great review "his terrific band", thanks Annie.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Columbus Dispatch review

There was also a very appropriate comment from a reader under that review...

While those of us at the concert last night might have missed the prior volume his voice used to have, there is a newfound intimacy to his voice that allows one to feel as if he is singing only to you
"Sir" John Fowles Bt
Honorary Curator Bootleg Museum

(where Sir does not signify that I am a fully benighted Knight just a Bt which signifies a humble Baronet -?? read the wiki!)
I meant no one no harm
Once inside we found a curious moonbeam
Doing dances on the floor

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Old 04-04-2008, 09:37 AM   #4
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I was at the concert last night (#13) in Columbus and even had back stage passes, so we got to hang out a bit and see him and the band after the show. That was my 3rd time meeting him and he was gracious and friendly as always. I got him to sign the sheet music of "The Wreck" I've had for years. One neat thing I noticed was that on the older songs like "The Watchman's Gone" some of the phrasing/notes are a little different. I'm sure a lot of this is because of the vocal challenges now, but I told him it gave the old songs a freshness and was almost like hearing them again for the first time. Wonderful evening, the band was very tight tone and rhythm-wise and really seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. Got to hear CRT, I may try and post a set list later.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Columbus Dispatch review

I get very wistful/nostalgic when he sings APPT these days ..

more comments about the review at the site:
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Old 04-04-2008, 01:00 PM   #6
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Names all band members..
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Columbus Dispatch review

Originally Posted by RJ View Post
Names all band members..
welcome tswish63, will be looking for that set list - and any pictures you might have. Stick around you'll love it here.
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:36 PM   #8
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Thanks Brink,

I'm here about every day, it's just that I prefer "listening" to "talking". I see that Wayne Francis has posted the set list on his website, so I'll leave it at that. I'm sure his is a bit more accurate.
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