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Old 05-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Northampton MA review

Gordon Lightfoot still spry at 73

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 8:07 AM Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 2:35 PM

By George Lenker
Gordon Lightfoot hasn't mellowed with age; he's always been that way.

That's not to say Lightfoot, 73, lacks passion—he clearly still cares deeply about the music he makes. More than once during his two-hour show at the Calvin Theatre Friday night he said, "We love the work." His heartfelt appreciation for his fans and his career is almost palpable.

But anyone who showed up expecting anything resembling wild excitement would have been disappointed Friday. This was pure, gentle folk and folk-pop. Based on the audience's enthusiasm for virtually every note, however, it seems as if the crowd was made up of diehard Lightfoot aficionados who knew his entire catalogue. And they were treated to a fine 24-song concert, split into two halves and one-song encore. There was no flash here, just rock-solid professionalism and playing.

The veteran Canadian singer-songwriter kicked things off with the gentle waltz feel of "Sweet Guinevere" off his 1978 album, "Endless Wire" and followed it up with the lilting "Watchmen's Gone." The first thing one noticed was the singer's lush baritone had lost a little texture over the years, most likely as a result of an aneurism he suffered in 2004, which put him in a coma for several weeks. But while he may not sound as strong as he did in his thirties (who does, except maybe Paul McCartney?) his vocal delivery and pitch were spot-on. And his voice was still distinctive as ever—just not as full.

A little later in the set, the tasty finger-picking bounce of "Let It Ride" featured a brief, pretty bass solo of Lighfoot's longtime bassman, Rick Haynes, who has been holding down the bottom end with the singer for more than 40 years.

Lightfoot touched on his lengthy career and the fact that he's still doing it by recalling a thought he had when he was younger: "When I was 40, I thought 'What the hell am I going to do when I'm 70?'" The audience laughed and showed it appreciated what he was still doing with a round of applause.

Lightfoot has a lot of sneaky hits—ones that, unless you're a big fan, you forget he did. One of these is "Rainy Day People" which he did flawlessly. But the lesser-known deep cut of "Shadows" drew just as enthusiastic of a response for the crowd just a few songs later. Another hit, "Carefree Highway" was introduced with Lightfoot saying, "Just when you least expect it, here it comes," and his mega-hit from 1974" Sundown" was launched without any fanfare at all. "Cotton Jenny" ended the first set.

After a short break, the band wasted no time in resuming the hit parade, swooping right into the sea chanty, "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." This song threw into relief Lightfoot's usual economical performing style, as it was one of the only tunes that went over the four minute mark.

Other second half highlights included "Early Morning Rain," a Lightfoot tune that Elvis Presley recorded, and a cover of "Ring Them Bells" by Bob Dylan, whom Lightfoot called his "mentor." The night ended with "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" followed by a one-song encore, the muted mid-tempo rock of "Blackberry Wine." We all can only hope to be this nimble when we are 73.
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Northampton MA review

Good write-up, thanks for posting, Char.
Does this guy work for Gord? (just kidding) But, seriously, looks like yet another non-music snob. The guy loved the concert! Alright!

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Old 05-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Northampton MA review

Northampton was a good sold out show. I was really looking forward to this as I hadn't seen Gordon in 2 years. He started right on time as always, looking well dressed but older.
I'm not used to seeing him with long hair, but I guess it's good to still have that much at 73.
My seats were about 8 rows back, center right. I like being back a few rows, so you can take in the whole band, yet still be close enough to be up close.

For some reason, Gordon seemed very relaxed and talkative. His chats were about his song, the cords, his family and a couple comments about the ex's. I was surprised to learn that he is no longer writting any songs, but now spending that time with his kids. Good for him!
I liked his song selection and found myself singing along to all of them.
Gordons voice was not what it used to be, yet still unmistakable Lightfoot.
This was my first show without Terry. Carter was ok, but missed the big guy in slippers, especially on songs like Blackberry Wine !!!
The couple I sat beside were in there late 60's and had seen Gordon 28 times over the decaded.
I thought it was a good show and was glad I went.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Northampton MA review

Hey Tim, I thought I saw you there! I couldn't get over to where you were though.
The hall did seem full, it seems he always sells out at the Calvin. I had heard it was graduation weekend, but it didn't sink in how crowded the town would be till I saw it! People everywhere! It was nuts. I didnt' even try to eat anywhere, and was lucky to get a parking spot within 2 blocks.
I felt like the sound was off a bit, I couldn't hear Gord that well, and couldn't really distinquish Carter that well either. I've still got a lingering head cold, so it might have been my ears. Gord opened with:
Sweet Gunivere
The Watchmans' Gone
Waiting For You
Never Too Close
Let it Ride
A Painter Passing Through
Rainy Day People
Carefree Highway
Hangdog Hotel Room
Ribbon of Darkness
Cotton Jenney


Wreck of the Ed. Fitzgerald
Early Morning Rain
Clouds of Lonliness
In My Fashion
Ring Them Bells
If You Could Read My Mind
Baby Step Back at this point people started yelling out requests, with one loud one for "Freebird"!!
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Blackberry Wine
All in all a good solid show. You can tell he's enjoying himself, which makes the audience enjoy themselves.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Northampton MA review - audio recording downloads..
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:49 PM   #6
Jim W.
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Default Re: Northampton MA review

Originally Posted by DellroyGM View Post
Good write-up, thanks for posting, Char.
Does this guy work for Gord? (just kidding) But, seriously, looks like yet another non-music snob. The guy loved the concert! Alright!

George Lenker, who wrote the review, also had a brief interview with Gord published on May 17. I don't know him well, but I am acquainted with him enough to exchange greetings & small talk before the show. In the 80's he was active in the local music scene as a member of the Cardiac Kids (I just found their 1981 song "Little Lies" on YouTube). He was (is?) a songwriter, too, as I believe he wrote the songs on the Cardiac Kids EP, "wearenowhere". So he does have a music background & I was very happy he gave Gord a good review.

Hi, by the way. I've only posted here a few times over the course of several years. I hadn't seen Gord for 5 years before Friday's show, as I thought my 20th GL show in 2007 was going to be my last (my first was in 1979). But an old friend asked me if I was interested in going to the Calvin and I'm so glad I did. We had 3rd row center seats, and I thoroughly enjoyed my 21st - and I certainly hope, not my last - Lightfoot show. The songs are still sublime & my only complaint is that my wife wasn't sitting next to me during "Beautiful".

I did feel a pang of sadness, when there was no Terry in his usual spot. The guitar leads were smooth & precise...very good...but it wasn't quite the same.

I'm enjoying the reviews & hope to pop in more often.

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Old 06-07-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Northampton MA review

Originally Posted by charlene View Post
I recently said apropos the "All Live" release

"it makes me appreciate even more the better bootlegs because usually the creator takes a single continuous recording and splits it into individual tracks but they retain all of the intersong applause and banter, therefore the resultant CD can be burnt with no gaps between tracks to simulate the continuous live concert experience, complete with Gord's groaners, band intoductions etc"
there were a pair of bootlegs from the 2010 season,those from St John New Brunswick and from St Petersberg FL,but there are none at all (as yet anyway) from 2011
So far in 2012 there was a bootleg from January's Clearwater FL concert (see my thread at:- )
In my posting I mentioned that there was a torrent on dime ( )(which as per dime's policy comprises like all torents listed there a set of lossless flac files ) (FLAC= Free Lossless Audio Codec) but dime torrents are only for those who understand how to deal with torrents and are signed in members. I also gave a link to the decidedly lossy and lower quality streaming file on the sugarmegs website.
although we were able to attend our "local" concert in New Brunswick ( the NJ one not the ersatz Canadian variety) and the more distant one in PA with the great Greek restaurant nearby we had to miss three others within reasonable driving distance. I was therefore very pleased when Char gave the link to guitars101 for this Northampton MA concert. the downloaded rar files were extracted using the JZip program that I recommended in my posting at:-
In which I also expostulated on how to burn a "gapless" CD.
I found that the extracted mp3s were sampled at what is usually the highest bitrate of 320 (KBPS-KiloBits Per Second)
I have checked and there is now a similar listing of mp3 rars for Clearwater at
Although the sampling rate of the Clearwater mp3s is a lower 192KBPS
(which can be burnt to a full CD with the resulting sound almost indistinguishable from the original uncompressed recording) For anybody who considers that they have superhuman hearing the torrent set of flacs is again being reseeded on dime, plus the Northampton concert has been uploaded for streaming to sugarmegs
So there you have it both 2012 boots are available in the three qualities
1 Low 40KBPs wma on sugarmegs as per the two links shown above
Note that although you may download the wma files they are NOT recommended for burning pukka CDs from
2 higher qualiy lossily compressed mp3s at guitars101
using Char's Northampton link
and the Clearwater link I pasted in above
3 perfection loosslessly compressed flacs as torrents from dime
Finally please note that the burning program that I recommended for burning "gapless" CDs (the Australian Express Burn) will itself convert both mp3s and flacs before burning
I meant no one no harm

"Sir" John Fowles Bt
(where Sir does not signify that I am a fully benighted Knight just a Bt which signifies a humble Baronet)
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by johnfowles View Post

"never two without three" and there are now three 2012 bootlegs. the latest being:-
Place Des Arts Montreal 17 June 2012
There is a torrent now listed on dimeadozen which is therefore in lossless flac format and allegedly has 13 seeders but unluckily I could not get either utorrent or vuze/azeureus to connect to any of them.
I solved that little mystery when I found an email from the dime moderators that hotmail had kindly routed to my junk mail folder telling me that my ratio of down to uploads had to be improved but meanwhile I was banned from downloading
I then committed the crime of opening a second dime account and was able to complete the download of the set of Montreal lossless flacs before they invoked the rule of one account per user and shut my new account down.I found that the second set's opener "Sweet Guinevere" has the complete audience welcome back after the break applause missing and the first few bars of the song.It is not yet on sugarmegs so I'll keep looking
I meant no one no harm

"Sir" John Fowles Bt
(where Sir does not signify that I am a fully benighted Knight just a Bt which signifies a humble Baronet)

Last edited by johnfowles; 07-10-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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