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Old 06-06-2005, 06:26 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,595

Memories of Massey-2005

Saturday May 21, 2005 – Sunday May 22, 2005

Another day dawned in Toronto and the weather was gorgeous. Everyone was off on errands, sight seeing and shopping after their breakfast and I was in need of some shoes. Okay - I didn't NEED them but I wanted to take advantage of the shopping in Toronto! And it was a successful expedition!

The pickers and singers had planned an acoustic jam session in the meeting room around 2 p.m. so many of us gathered there to sit and listen and sing along. The talent pool in this Lightfoot gang of folks, including those who couldn’t make it, is astounding. Singers, songwriters, guitar players, performers…it’s amazing how well they can all sit down and just make it all sound so fabulous. I of course had my air guitar but played quietly enough so as not to bring attention to the fact that I have absolutely no talent. I also lip-synch when I sing. It’s for the greater good, trust me.

We all finally had a chance to hear Ron Jones and he certainly lived up to the reputation of being the consummate performer. He’s our own Lightfoot! Jenney mentioned that Diane said Ron could play the “now” Gord and Kenyon the “before” Gord in a film about Lightfoot’s life! Well she was spot on about that. The stars in Kenyon’s eyes when he saw Ron’s guitars was a sight to behold, as were the guitars themselves. And Ron and Kenyon certainly made the music happen with them. Bill, Lori, Melissa, Denny, Donnie and Ron’s son Liam sang and played as well and made all of us wish they would never stop. The passion and love they all have for the Lightfoot music is so evident in their talent. Ron sang a beautiful rendition of “Your Love’s Return” for me which was a very touching and thoughtful surprise. He also did “Face of A Thousand People” for Sir John. His enthusiasm and exuberance was matched by Kenyon’s – the two of them together were quite a sight to behold. It was fine as fine can be. My dear Paul could not be persuaded, even with one of Ron’s guitars, to play along with the others though. It was also a joy to finally hear Bill play and sing in person. He even treated us to one of his own compositions. Once again I did not notice how he looked

My daughter Lisa joined the group mid afternoon on Saturday as well. She was anxious to see all the familiar faces she remembered from the Charbeque of May 2001 and meet the new folks this year. Needless to say it was quite overwhelming for her but she got right into the swing of things and had a great time. Unfortunately the poor girl, like her mother, has no musical ability but she knows what she likes to listen to! If we could only have more afternoons like that, much more often!

It sped by so quickly and before we knew it we were all heading out to get ready for supper and the last concert of the Massey 2005 series. It was all ending much too soon.
During the jam session our dear Janice, hostess par excellence, had left to “go pick up some munchies and more refreshments” and had still not returned by the time all of us traipsed en masse down to the City Grill in the Eaton Centre. We had a lovely upstairs area all to ourselves and had a grand time laughing and chatting, eating and drinking. Janice finally did make it to the restaurant so we were all glad to see her. I was worried that she had some sort of “problem” in the city, perhaps was lost or had gone on a shopping spree to end all shopping sprees!

The whole gang of us headed out to take our seats for one last time at Massey. It was hard to believe that 3 nights had come and gone and here we were down to the final last hours. Couldn’t we start all over again???? Please?!?!?

Lisa was excited about our front row seats and being able to go backstage. Imagine that – 17 years old, front row seats, backstage pass, a night at the Delta Chelsea, good grief the kid is lucky! Imagine back to ’72 when I was 17…..I was buying 45’s and listening to the radio!!! Sheesh.

Before the concert I had a surprise for Jenney….Eleni from the Massey Hall Group ticket sales office came over to say Hi to me. I knew she’d be there but didn’t tell Jenney. Eleni is the person she spoke to in past years to get everyone’s tickets. How great to meet her and say thanks for all she does for us.

This night was a hugely special one for Lightfoot as he had all of his immediate family, extended family and beyond, plus friends in the audience. There were children, spouses, former partners, his sister, cousins etc. all over the place. It was a Lightfoot Lollapalooza!

The lights went down, the band entered and then for the last time of 2005 at Massey, Lightfoot strode to centre stage and we all let him know how thankful we are that he is back. Seeing him smile and bow and wave and take it all in with such dignity and class was very moving. He truly is a humble man.
He told his belly button story and enjoyed it like he’d only ever told it that one time. And we did too.
He spoke of his hands being stiff when he played guitar and one doctor suggesting cortisone shots. Another doctor said he all he needed was to practice. Which then reminded Lightfoot about the guy walking up 5th avenue in New York City who stopped someone to ask “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” and the answer was “Practice man, practice.” Gord said this with a snap of his fingers and a laid back “groovy” attitude. Of course he laughed at his joke!
A few songs later he said that “a few recognizable 12 string tunes will come your way” and I thought of those 12 string guitars of Ron’s.
“Ribbon of Darkness” ran into “The Wreck” and “Spanish Moss” ran into “Shadows.” He sort of lost track at the beginning of “Shadows” but caught up and all was fine. It was intermission and we were half way finished with this last memorable night.

Back from the break Gord welcomed all the “wives, children, all the family for the Lightfoot family reunion.”
“Couchiching brought a lot of laughs from the audience again after he introduced it by saying “I did it once before I went down.” This was in reference to his first of two benefit shows in Orillia in Sept.2002 – the night before he fell ill.
He mentioned there were 70 people for the family get together and wondered “how late can you stay up?” Sheesh I’m sure we all could stay up for as long as he was willing to perform!
Gord also said that this concert series goes into a long weekend and “I don’t have to work tomorrow!” He changed the series from the previous week as one night was Friday the 13th and he wouldn’t do it on the 13th.
He did “Song For A Winter’s Night” and I don’t think any of us minded it considering that it was May 21, and Toronto was having a beautiful spell of good spring weather.
After “Old Dan’s Records” Lightfoot and the band left the stage to a standing ovation and came back to perform The Trilogy.” A huge roar and we were on our feet as they left again. We kept it up, shouting for more and they graciously obliged us. And yes, Gord said “We were coming back anyway!” with that wry grin of his and a shake of his head. Someone in the balcony yelled “We love you!” and then a little girl’s voice yelled out “I love you Daddy!” 11 year old Meredith was letting her dad know she loved him too. It was quite charming, bringing great applause and Gord grinned from ear to ear.
“Cold On The Shoulder” was the last song of the 2005 Massey series of concerts despite a continued ovation, stomping and calling out for more. Gord did come out on his own to take a bow and crossed back and forth across the stage waving to the balcony patrons and saying “Thankyou” to all of us there on that magical night.

The lights came up and I took a deep breath and sighed a wistful sigh. He was back, he was more than okay and he was planning on doing it again in 18 months. Could it get any better than that? Hardly.

Lisa and I made our way down to the bar area where the “backstage” meeting was being held. It was more than crowded….shoulder to shoulder people were mingling in groups and we just stayed off to the side observing it all. Wendy joined Lisa and I and we waited until Gord had made his way around the room and a lot of people had left. I introduced Lisa to the members of the band, with her being absolutely delighted to finally meet Mike Heffernan. Or as she calls him - “Patti’s boyfriend.” The room was almost empty and one poster at ‘corfid’ asked me to snap some pics of him, his wife, new baby and grandmas with Gord. Gord was handed the baby and seemed a bit fumbly at first but he had her sorted out and cooing and making faces at her so she was fine with it all. It’s been a while since he held a newborn but he was a pro.

When I spoke with him I mentioned that Lisa had first met him in 1990 when she was 3 and he was performing at the mall in Scarborough to raise funds for the disabled. He looked up and away and then recounted the whole thing, many things I did not remember as I only had eyes for him the whole time! It was certainly an odd spot to see a Lightfoot concert I told him and he laughed. He graciously posed with Lisa and I and we looked to head out after saying our goodbyes to Mike and Patti. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity in having Lisa (and I) on the list to go backstage. She was having quite a night! And so was I!

Wendy cajoled us into taking a cab back to the Delta with her so we headed out the stage door to find one. Sheesh, we were only a 10 minute walk away! There were some folks waiting at the stage door for Gord and I’m sure he didn’t disappoint any of them.
Well, on the cab ride back I was thinking how great the 4 nights had been and that I just wanted to sit and relive it with everyone before it was all over the next day and we all scattered to our respective homes, near and far.

Well, that little plan went to hell in a hand basket when I opened the door to the meeting room and was greeted by everyone yelling “SURPRISE!!!” I think I closed the door a bit and wondered what that was all about….then I opened it again and they did it again. Good grief this surprise was for me!! For my 50th birthday which is in July! LOL
It was a major shock to say the least! I was getting hugs and birthday wishes and was hustled over to blow out the candles on THE most magnificent cake I’ve ever seen. Omigod it was awesome. And my worrying about Janice earlier in the evening was for naught….she had been off to pick up the cake! What a sneaky devil! She had a spread of goodies on the table, balloons and streamers….it was overwhelming! I wandered around the room in a fog….it was the best surprise of my life! All 50 years! Lol

Then I was shown the gifts to open! This was TOOOOO much. I was quite overcome and may have even stopped breathing once in a while. Sitting beside Sir John and opening presents…could it get better? Yep! He made the very, very big mistake of sitting down with only ONE piece of cake. And I promptly told him that if he wanted to continue sitting there he’d have to share…which he gladly did, feeding me forkfuls while I merrily went on my way opening gifts! Lol

The gifts were beautiful and the cards were hilarious, as only cards for “50 years” can be. Another surprise was when I opened the gift from Joan,John and Susan. Earlier that day we had been in the gift shoppe together and I had looked at a watch saying that I liked it. I thought to myself that I would check the Eaton Centre and if I didn’t see anything I liked better I would come back and buy it. Well I came back as planned and the damn thing was gone! I should have bought it when I saw it….ya live and learn. Yet when I opened the box from the three of them there it was!!! It was hilarious and no one got more of a kick out of it than Sir John when I told them I had planned on coming back and buying it!

And my 3rd meltdown of the Massey 2005 gathering came when I tried to thank everyone. It was all a bit too much to take in and Lisa, being like me, had her own meltdown too! Good grief. We were moments away fro being carted off to the local psych hospital! I did sort of look around in case someone had shanghaied Gord into coming up since he was in the hotel with his whole family anyway! The cake was big but not big enough for him to jump out of! Lol

You all know what you mean to me, how much your love and support have meant and dammit I just didn’t want any of you leaving! That Bru would suggest the surprise and Janice and her co-horts would get it all ready and EVERYONE could keep it a secret for 4 days was quite the feat…..I am humbled and awed and very, thankful for all of you.
And I love you all dearly.
I then got up and got my own piece of cake.

I think it must have been after 3 by the time Lisa and I and Dan headed to our rooms. We had taken Kenyon home, up Yonge St. about 10 minutes to a lovely area of old Toronto homes. Lisa and I hauled my prezzies to our room with Lori and I fell immediately asleep, emotionally exhausted but with a smile on my face.

Morning came very soon….too soon! We headed down to the coffee shoppe and sat with Lori, Bru, David, John, Susan, Joan, Paul, Yvonne,James, Diane and Sparky...….there may have been more but I can’t remember! Some folks had left earlier to head for the airport, some were still sleeping. Paul and family and David were heading to the Skydome for a ball game that afternoon.

It was getting to the time to say goodbye and we were heading out of the shoppe when a tall good-looking guy walked in. I knew he was Paul Brandt, a Canadian country music star, receiving the most CCMA awards in history. He is also one of Lisa’s favourites! She watches his videos all the time. I stopped him to say hi and being a well brought up fellow he put his bag and cowboy hat down to shake hands with me. I introduced Lisa and he shook her hand too while saying hi. She was gobsmacked. We spoke for a few minutes and he signed an autograph for Lisa. In August he will be at Massey for one night performing in “Annie Get Your Gun” and hoped he’d see us there. Lisa LOVES the musicals! Unfortunately we will be in Florida that night. We thanked him for his time and left the shoppe. About 10 feet later Lisa was shaking and crying, she was having her own “moment.” Maybe now she understands her poor mother a bit better. I had the digital camera so we ran back in for a quick picture and Paul was more than obliging. I told him Lisa had just had a bit of a “moment” after meeting him and he said “that’s very sweet”, put his arm around her and posed for the pic. What a great way to end Massey 2005……the last surprise was for Lisa.

Lord knows I don’t think my heart could have taken another one!

Last hugs for Paul, Yvonne, James, Lori and Donnie and Lisa and I were heading out cuz” the trains run on time” and we had one to catch.

[ June 06, 2005, 21:01: Message edited by: charlene ]
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:44 PM   #2
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Can't wait to read this, Char. Let me go get some popcorn first...
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:47 AM   #3
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Old 06-07-2005, 04:20 PM   #4
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Thanks, Char! Fantastic, as always!
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:24 PM   #5
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Originally posted by charlene:
Another surprise was when I opened the gift from Joan,John and Susan. Earlier that day we had been in the gift shoppe together and I had looked at a watch saying that I liked it. I thought to myself that I would check the Eaton Centre and if I didn’t see anything I liked better I would come back and buy it. Well I came back as planned and the damn thing was gone! I should have bought it when I saw it….ya live and learn. Yet when I opened the box from the three of them there it was!!! It was hilarious and no one got more of a kick out of it than Sir John when I told them I had planned on coming back and buying it!
it really was amazingly funny.
We had spotted Char in the hotel shop(pe) admiring and trying on this ultra-expensive wristwatch then Susan and her mother made
a bee line for the Yonge Street exit. When I asked what was going on they giggled and told me that Char had said something like "I wish somebody would buy this for me" so they were giving her time to leave the shop whereupon they dashed in and bought it
(Sir) John Fowles
As Rex said recently
We never were much bothered by time
from another GL lyrics site:-
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:49 AM   #6
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you are too funny sir john!
if i thought that just saying 'i wish' would work so well i'd be saying it all time.!!

i never did see the price!! i'll take your word that it was ultra-expensive...
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