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Old 09-27-2012, 03:08 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,586
Default Cincinnati review

Review: Simple folk-rock shows Lightfoot's range

11:55 AM, Sep. 27, 2012 |

Written by Chris Varias

At the start of the second set Wednesday night, Gordon Lightfoot noted the passing of Andy Williams the day before and shared a couple stories about the pop singer.

Lightfoot told the crowd at the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall that he met his future guitarist Terry Clements while working on a recording session with Williams. Clements died last year.

He also recalled going to see Elvis Presley in Las Vegas and having Williams invite him over to his show. He showed up wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket. He noted the show was very good and that when Williams saw his outfit, Williams said, “Gordon, nice to see you got dressed up for the occasion.”

This story painted Williams as the buttoned-up easy-listening singer and Lightfoot as the edgy troubadour, and it got a chuckle out of the crowd. But it also showed that the Canadian singer-songwriter’s mellow style has wide appeal that reaches from Andy Williams to an younger generation of folkies and to a lot of rock ‘n’ roll-era figures in between.

Lightfoot and his four-piece band played 25 songs over two 50-minute sets. For a performance of slow, amps-turned-way-down folk-rock, the show seemed to whiz by, probably because most of the songs were about three minutes long. The exception, of course, was his seven-minute epic “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

At the age of 73, Lightfoot can still get it done, though it doesn’t take a lot of kinetic energy to do what he does musically. He noted the benefits of sitting down to move a capo, and he conceded that his voice was not what it once was, blaming it on cigarettes. “Sometimes I have to scrounge for those high notes,” he said. Indeed, he had trouble with certain verses, and at times it was difficult to understand what he was saying between songs.

If I heard him right, he told a joke. Maybe he wants to work up a variety act and follow Elvis and Andy to Vegas. Maybe Branson is more his style. “My girlfriend gave me a gift that made my eyes pop,” he said. “A t-shirt three sizes too small.”


What was good, besides the joke? “If You Could Read My Mind” earned the night’s only standing ovation, and the crowd clapped in time along to “Carefree Highway.”

He brought up Elvis again, noting that the King covered two of his songs: “For Lovin’ Me” and “Early Mornin’ Rain.” He played the second of the two, and like the other of his better-known songs he chose over the course of the night – like “Shadows,” “Sundown,” and “Rainy Day People” – it was a simple performance with subdued instrumental accompaniment. Just what you’d expect from Lightfoot, plus a joke.
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