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Old 11-19-2006, 12:21 PM   #1
Yuri
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Default Massey Hall-Nov.2006-Yuri-Thanks to Lightfoot, Corfidians, Massey & God

It has taken me a couple of days to digest and assimilate all of Thursday’s evenings experiences which I was so honoured to share in person with many of you. So many people to greet, so many questions asked in all that wonderful commotion. Overwhelming! I shall try to comment and respond here in hopes of having heard everyone sufficiently well and that my verbal responses were perceived as more than incoherent babbling.

For those of you who have had enough of my ramblings this would be a good time to log out. More incoherent thoughts are about to follow.

What a year it has been!

I've said it before - enjoy every moment, treasure your friends and family, live life to the fullest!
When your alarm clock shocks you into a semi conscious state on some rainy Monday morning urging you to trudge off to another dreary eight hours of mundane work - do so with a smile. Life's "Carefree Highway" can take a sudden left hand turn down a bumpy road even when your mental map indicates a straight route down the pristine pavement of life.

I have only had two weeks to try to adjust to life back at home. I could never have anticipated that a backache would result in major surgery, a six-month hospital stay and paraplegia.

Adjustment to life at home has not been the 'joy' I had envisioned. Of course I love being back amongst the things I love best, most of all my wife Cathy. Renovations are ongoing to make my home more "wheelchair friendly". My current world consists of being able to wheel two feet forward to find the TV remote and then two feet back only to regret the initial trip. My longest excursion is a voyage through the kitchen in order to enter the 'living room' which has now become my bedroom.

My wife and I spent years redecorating our home, selecting the perfect dining room set and living room furniture. Now all has been pushed aside to make room for a hospital bed and lift. They don't come in 'French Provincial' style so somewhat clash with the existing decor.

Without stair lifts, the upper floor and my wonderful woodworking shop in the basement remain inaccessible for the foreseeable future.

The Lyndhurst Hospital is situated in a ravine like setting with gardens and trails. Patients could explore the grounds, use the gymnasium or congregate in the cafeteria. I was even so bored that I went AWOL a few times and piloted my chair a few miles away to local malls. What a joy to check out local music stores for CDs and even 'Home Depot' to breath in the heady fragrance of tools, glorious tools! So in spite of being incarcerated in an institution, I could get a bumpy massage navigating the aging sidewalks where here at home I am gently challenged to roll over some 50' length of plush carpet. The reduced mobility creates a ‘painful numbness' which no amount of shifting can alleviate.

As many of you know, I had my doubts of making it to this year’s concert.
Of all my medication, breaking my quarter century of Massey Hall attendance, would have been the hardest pill to swallow!

Again, I cannot give sufficient heartfelt thanks to all those 'Corfidians' who sent their prayers, wishes and support to me during those very 'dark' days. I have to give an extra thanks to both Char and Jenney for all their work on my behalf to make last night's event a reality.

So, on to the concert.

Lightfoot was Fantastic!!! (but that is a redundancy!)

Doug Letcher. in a post entitled "Nov.11th in Ottawa" commented on Gord's performance being much quieter, that he didn't do some of his huge hits, and that his voice was not the same. I must agree with some of his assessment. My impression was that the music was not quieter but more “mellow“. I really don't know how to differentiate the two, but it in no way did the sound diminished my experience.
Yes, some hits were omitted but other songs were included that have not been in Gord’s repertoire for a while. Gord has more hits than most musicians have songs! Someone‘s favourite will always be rotated out. I too noticed that Gord had to work harder to reach some of the notes his lyrics were wrapped around. At age 68 minus a day, he.sounded great! As Doug suggested, Lightfoot’s set list may have been chosen because of his vocal capabilities. I enjoyed Doug's honest personal assessment.

Along with the mellow sound, Gord kept his songs fresh by tweaking his arrangements. In particular I noticed that Mike Heffernan’s keyboard work seemed to offer fresh interpretations of Gord’s gems without altering the traditional feel.

Rick Hayne’s magnificent bass work was more pronounced in the mix allowing us bassists to more fully appreciate his contribution to the overall sound. Perhaps this was because he was playing what appeared to be 1979 Fender Jazz Bass. A beautiful mellow punch, neither too crisp nor muddy.. In previous years he favoured playing his trademark red Kramer Bass.

Other than one sour note, Terry Clemmens’ guitar work was superb as usual. What a character Terry is! Discussing our ages back stage Terry said to me “I’m so old that when I was born, the Dead Sea was only sick!” . Terry was hamming it up for the photographs, hugging me from behind and even grabbing my shirt at chest level. I believe it was Jenney who made some comment that he doesn’t make a grab for her chest with the same enthusiasm. For whatever reason, I always took Terry as being quiet and serious and not the gregarious jokester he presented himself as off stage.. He had me in stitches!

Had a nice short chat with Mike Heffernan and pointed out to him that we both lived in the town of Mississauga, just south of Toronto. We traded our general locations in town but I couldn’t pry the exact address out of Mike as I’m certain he believed (and rightly so) that I would wheel myself down to his doorstep to with a 'six-pack' in hand.

As my wheelchair taxi had arrived, I regret that I did not get a chance to shake hands with Barry Keane. So little “flash” as a performer with such an important and intricate role. Love him!

Gord? Yes, I did meet Gord!!!! What an honour! Gord was kind enough to sign my copies of ‘Two Tones On The Village Corner” and the Chateau Recordings of “Early Lightfoot”. (A case of ‘duelling Sharpies’ as I was reaching for my marker, Gord already had his out). You may find those on e-bay but only after my death (unless buried with them - who says” you can’t take it with you?”)

I told Gord my tale of stopping on Hwy 631 on while on my way to a canoe trip. Pulling over to catch a few winks at the side of the isolated road, my canoeing partner and I were disturbed all night by bells, whistles, rumbling and the smell of diesel fuel. Giving up on the cat nap we drove off pressing Gord’s ’Dream Street Rose’ into the cassette player. Gord was singing ’On The High Seas’ and the lyrics rang out “Was it up in Hornepayne where the trains run on time”. Just at that moment we passed the town’s road sign and our jaws dropped as it displayed our location as ‘Hornepayne’ . As I mentioned the songs title, Gord softly sang the appropriate lines back to me! (a private mini-concert!) I was hoping to get a “scoop” for this group and asked Gord how he had come to write those lines to that song? Did he also spend a sleepless night in Hornepayne being kept awake by trains being shunted back and forth in the rail yard?? “I have no idea” was his reply as he wandered off to greet other guests..

Sadly, I don’t believe I had any pictures taken of Gord and myself. My wife left our camera on our table as she went off to get some refreshments just as Gord approached. Lost out again as when I last had an opportunity to meet Gord our camera malfunctioned and the flash would not fire. The picture is so dark that even ‘Photoshop’ can’t rescue it. Some things are just not meant to be…

For those who have not had the honour enjoying a backstage pass, I can only describe it as a large noisy cocktail party. I estimate that about fifty to seventy-five friends, family and invited guests all waited for Gord to grant an audience. The scene was rather chaoticc as attendees jostled for a chance to be near Gord. A number of years ago Jenney arranged Gord to meet with his ‘internet people’ at Massey. That event was (no disrespect intended) more civilized and organized. Backstage Thursday, I noticed some guests grab Gord’s arm and pull him aside while still in conversation with other fans. I felt this was rather rude. Regardless, I wouldn’t trade one experience for the other. Gord was there!

Corfidian Janice asked in another post if I spoke to Gord about the wonderful ‘Get Well’ card he, and his band, signed for me. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to bring the matter up as he had so many guests to greet. As a ‘star’ I’m certain he gets thousands of requests a month for favours. How would he remember my situation from all the others? Regardless, I was so moved by the gesture that I sent a ‘thank you’ card to Gord via ‘Early Morning Productions’. Again, they must receive mail by the truck load so my card was probably never passed on but rather deposited in that round ‘filing cabinet’ by Bernie Fiedler or staff.. The card I received from Gord will be treasured for all time!

It was great meeting so many Corfidians, both old friends and new faces. I had developed an inner ear problem while in hospital which they failed to resolve in all he months I was an inpatient. I apologize at this time for not hearing everyone clearly. Your words were important but my brain was not so receptive. To all of those who I met for the first time, please find the time to send me a private e-mail to refresh my memory as to your names. I’d like to be able to link the face to the name to your Corfid ‘handle’. Thank you for making the effort to locate me and say hello. It was a joy to meet to all!

We older Corfidians certainly are showing our age. During greetings, introductions and intermission small talk, I fumbled around in my wheelchair trying to retrieve my glasses. While apologising for my poor hearing,. We sadly began to share symptoms of our failing health ranging from arthritic aches and pains, prostrate problems, hot flashes, surgical scars and even flatulence. Once again, enjoy the moment for we never know how long these magic times will last.

Peter Bro10 has observed that this group is a very close, knowledgeable , loyal group of welcoming friends. He certainly has that right! A nicer group of friends I could not wish for.. You have no choice over who you are related to by blood but friends you can choose. I’m proud to call my Corfid friends family as well! Those who have never had the oportunity to partake in the Massey experience, please try to make this pilgrimage once in your lifetime. You won't regret it!

Another thanks to the Massey Hall staff who were so very polite and attentive. A true asset to the organization.

Best wishes to all who attended, in person or in spirit!

Have a safe trip back to wherever you call home but I hope you leave some of your heart here in Toronto and at that 'old grey lady' on Shuter Street called Massey Hall.

Gordiciously yours,

Yuri

[ November 19, 2006, 11:27: Message edited by: Yuri ]
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:48 PM   #2
byKimberly
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"As many of you know, I had my doubts of making it to this year’s concert.
Of all my medication, breaking my quarter century of Massey Hall attendance, would have been the hardest pill to swallow!"

After, all you've been through I am so glad you did not have to swallow this pill. Beleive me, it tastes awful!

So happy to hear you made it to Massey!
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:51 PM   #3
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Yuri,

What a wonderfully written post. Your perseverance and strength to battle on through the adversity is inspirational.

Thanks for a delightful read.
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Old 11-19-2006, 02:27 PM   #4
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What a treasure to read of your experiences, Yuri. Thank you so much for sharing and I'm so pleased that Massey was in the cards and your track record is unblemished.
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Old 11-19-2006, 02:42 PM   #5
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Yes, Yuri, thanks for sharing. I am disappointed I was unable to get to Massey to see Gord and YOU this time.
Next time - right?
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:46 PM   #6
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I was more than honoured to be of any help in getting you arranged in the proper seats and down to see The Man! Lovely Eleni at Massey played a large part as well. Mr. Barry Harvey at EMP was very gracious with our request and he said he was happy it all turned out so great.

The first guy I saw on Thursday night was Yuri out front of Massey with Cathy, patiently waiting to be brought into the House of Gord. A big smile on his face, glad to not have to ruin his streak of years seeing him perform at home in Toronto.

Yuri, I have pics that I took and will be sending them your way asap.

I too noticed on every night some rude behaviour of fans blatantly interrupting conversations with band members and Lightfoot himself. I myself had it happen a few times. Completely unnecessary as he makes a few moments with all who are there to say hi.

I heard you ask him about Hornepayne etc....I guess that's going to remain a mystery a little longer!

I know you and Catherine were overwhelmed with it all but those of us who were there that night were glad you could make it!

Way to go Yuri!
I'll get to the pics asap!
Char
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Hey Yuri!

That was an incrediable post! I was much moved. I knew in general terms the adversities and challenges you've faced in recent times... this shed a brighter light. Message received! I will count my blessings, and try not to take for granted the blessings received.

Your concert review most excellent. When one writes a review and the reader can practically feel as though he/she was sitting in a seat beside you.... that was a well written piece!

The backstage "meet and greet" part sounded like a blast! I bet you won't forget that one, eh?

On a personal note: I am hearing impaired at 50%. In other words, I'm deaf on my left side. Occasionally, I have a problem with my right ear. As I would tell folks "I'm deaf in one ear and can't hear out of the other" (my lame attemp at humor!). My point is that I've attended many events regardless of whether or not I could hear. It may sound a bit nutty to some, but when one of the senses fail the others seem to become more accute. I've learned to listen better, focus harder, etc.

In closing, I'm absolutely delighted you made it to Massey!!! Next time I'll be there with you.
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:09 AM   #8
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Default Massey Hall-Nov.2006-Gord and Yuri get together...Nov.16-06

With Yuri's permission I am posting some pics I took of him with Gord. (borrowed camera - my batteries had died!) The others were taken by his wife Cathy...What a night eh Yuri? I LOVE the last one - "up in Hornepayne...do the trains run on time?"

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Old 11-22-2006, 11:28 AM   #9
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Great pics Yuri, thanks for posting them Char.

Bill

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Old 11-22-2006, 12:42 PM   #10
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Wonderful shots Yuri.

Don't let Gord get too close to tha copy of "Early Lightfoot"!! LOL! (Y'know what I mean?)

Nice copy of The Two Tones by the way!
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:46 PM   #11
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Brought tears to my eyes, how wonderful! Good to see you, Yuri! I was as excited to see the photos of you, Yuri, as I was Gord's photos.
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:16 PM   #12
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Thanks for everyones kind comments.

Charlene and I have been having a discussion on aging. I cannot believe how much this illness and hospital stay has affected me.

Never thought I'd be 'follicly challenged' as I had hair a few months ago - honest!.....
I still have hair but now it resides within the shower drain.

Yuri
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:57 PM   #13
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Wow, fantastic pictures! I bet you'll treasure them forever, Yuri. Thanks for posting those, Charlene.

Vickie
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:06 PM   #14
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Thanks, Charlene, for posting the pictures.
incrediably happy for you, Yuri,... meet the man, get autographs, get photos to prove it!!! it just don't get no better than that!
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:09 PM   #15
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nice pics. is it just me or is terry looking more like pete townshend every time i see him?

[ November 22, 2006, 19:25: Message edited by: charlene ]
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:38 PM   #16
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Yuri, my husband would kill for the hair you have. His turned white in his mid-30s, and now there's not even much of that left, at least not on top.

I think the photo of Terry is fabulous, and yes, he does look a bit like Townsend, who by the way (no pun intended) is again touring too.
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:51 PM   #17
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Yes, that was Pete Townsend afterall. He was there in case Gord decided to include 'Endless Wire' in the set.

Yuri
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:25 PM   #18
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I find that Terry also resembles Mark Knopfler...
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:28 PM   #19
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Beautiful, wonderful, fabulous!!!!
Kimberly
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:28 PM   #20
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Beautiful, wonderful, fabulous!!!!
Kimberly
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:35 AM   #21
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Aaaah, now that's some nice stuff there, obviously a special moment captured on film.

Nah, don't sweat it, your hair looks just fine Yuri.
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:02 AM   #22
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Yuri I dont know you, but by the pics you seem like a great fellow.

All the best to you!
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Old 11-23-2006, 09:13 AM   #23
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Great pics Yuri! Thanks! And Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Yanks here!
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:41 AM   #24
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Hey Jesse Joe!
Glad to see you back! I was beginning to worry some.
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:49 PM   #25
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Hey Peter, thanks but you need not to worry. Im still kickin. lol
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