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Old 10-03-2011, 12:50 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,586
Default Penn's Peak review

October 3, 2011
Gordon Lightfoot shows frailties of life in songs, self at Penn's Peak concert
Penn's Peak
Posted by John J. Moser at 07:58:27 AM on October 3, 2011

Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has spent a 50-year career telling the stories of life and the people in it – often about the adversities they face.

Now nearly 73 and having faced obstacles himself – a heart ailment, six-week coma, tracheotomy and stroke in the past decade – Lightfoot could easily be a subject of one of his songs.

His concert Sunday at Penn’s Peak near Jim Thorpe showed that Lightfoot’s frailties have diminished his voice – in some songs, especially the early “Carefree Highway,” it was a quavering whisper.

But he also has retained the ability to impart the emotions of his musical stories – and in some ways, the change in his voice has enriched that ability. Its aged quality, for example, was more fitting on the ominous and haunting “Sea of Tranquility.”

And his song “A Painter Passing Through” was never been so starkly believable -- it’s tale of bittersweet reminiscing captured in his barely audible whispered rasp: “Once upon a time, once upon a day/when I was in my prime, once along the way.” And he still was able to add inflection and feeling.

It went that way in an 80-minute show, played in two sets with a 20-minute intermission, as the last on the current leg of his tour.

Lightfoot, skeletally thin with long gray hair, stood at the microphone with a guitar and sang 28 songs -- some barely two minutes long, most without comment between them. He was four songs and 15 minute into the show before he spoke to the crowd.

When one song would cause pause at how much Lightfoot had lost, another would be refreshed by that loss.

Never was it more obvious than in the two songs that closed the first set.

His biggest hit (and only U.S. No. 1) “Sundown” was a weak, hoarse whisper rather than the robust warning it once was. But for the following “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (one of the few songs he gave an introduction), his older voice fit perfectly the dramatic tale.

His four-man band, perfectly sympathetic and fittingly quiet for most of the night, also was at its best on that song, setting the ominous tone with echo-y keyboards and dramatic drums.

Both songs got huge cheers from the near-sellout crowd, which clearly was feeling the emotions Lightfoot was imparting. They clapped along to “Ribbon of Darkness,” his song that Marty Robbins took to No. 1.

Lightfoot’s voice would occasionally capture its familiar tone. It was richer on “Sweet Guinevere” and had more texture in his deeper range on “The Watchman’s Gone.” It appeared he was feeling the emotion, as well, as he grimaced while singing.

Nearly all his songs were wonderful tales, presented with wonder. “Never Too Close” was chugging and sweet. “Restless” was quiet and evocative. He played “Let It Ride” with his eyes squeezed shut s he picked his guitar.

“I haven’t done this one for a while; you’ll probably recognize it,” he said before a very nice “Home From the Forest.” He introduced “Make Way for the Lady” by saying, “we’ll do a bluesy tune.”

His first U.S. hit, 1970’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” lost some of the bitterness his voice once carried, but it gained a new strain that seemed to even deepen its meaning. And on it, Lightfoot was his most demonstrative – squeezing his eyes closed and bending over to play.

Played late in the second set, it got the biggest applause of the night.

He closed the main part of his show with his “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” perhaps his most obvious and linear tale, then opened the encore with “Waiting For You” before closing with his lighter hit “Rainy Day People.”

It, too, could be seen as being about Lightfoot, the troubadour whose songs lift people – likely himself as much as his listener.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:08 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2000
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Default Re: Penn's Peak review

another review @

Gordon Lightfoot gives 2-hour Penn's Peak concert, Sunday
Monday, October 3, 2011

Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot on stage at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, Sunday.Large crowd attends singer's first appearance at the local venue
Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot put on a two-hour, no-nonsense concert Sunday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, and the large audience in attendance loved every minute of it.

People came from as far away as West Virginia and Delaware for his performance, during which he sang 31 songs - interrupted only by a 15-minute mid concert break.

The soft-spoken Canadian, who tells stories in his songs, did very little talking during the show. About the only sentence he uttered was near the end of the concert when he stated, "This is show number 18 of 18 shows, so it's back to Canada tonight."

Fan Georganne Beck of Bunker Hill, West Virginia pointed out that what apparently made the tour more grueling was that earlier this year he lost his long-time lead guitarist.

Terry Clements, who was with Lightfoot for 40 years, died on Feb. 20, 2011 following a stroke.

Beck pointed out that in honor of Clements, the four band members for Lightfoot were attired in black.

Lightfoot has achieved success in his singing and songwriting in several genres, including folk, folk-rock, and country.

Some of his songs have been recorded by such stars as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Judy Colins, and Johnny Mathis.

Lightfoot walked on stage for the start of the concert and promptly began singing. He opened with the title cut from his first album in 1968, "Did She Mention My Name."

Throughout the concert, Lightfoot played guitar. Beck pointed out that Lightfoot only uses Martin guitars, which are manufactured in Nazareth.

Of course, Lightfoot sang all his major hits including "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," "Sundown," and "If You Could Read My Mind."

Other selections included "Ribbon of Darkness," which was also a number one hit of the late Marty Robbins; "Go Go Round," "The Canadian Railroad Trilogy," and "Rainy Day People," which was one of his curtain call numbers.

Beck, who said she's been a lifelong fan of Lightfoot and has seen him in concert, remarked, "He is amazing."

She said she was concerned about the band after the death of Clements, but noted that his replacement, Carter Lancaster "did very well."

Her favorite song is, of course, "If You Could Read My Mind."

Jerry Hall of Allentown, formerly of Bowmanstown, commented, "I've been a fan of his for 30 years. The show was great."

He said he has seen Lightfoot in concert about 20 times.

Both said they were impressed with the venue.

Layton Miller of Dover, Delaware said he also is a long-time fan of Lightfoot. "I don't know how long he's going to be touring considering he is in his 70s," he said, "so I thought we'd come her and take in the show. What a concert! He never disappoints."

His friend, Lisa Dahusky, also of Delaware, agreed, commenting, "I'm really glad we came. I'm not as familiar with Gordon as Layton is, but he is a truly remarkable performer."
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Penn's Peak review

3 flikr pics -
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:26 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Default Re: Penn's Peak review

The Penn's Peak concert was great. A rainy night but the audience was in good form. It did look to be almost completely sold out. The venue's atomosphere is very relaxed and so was the feeling in the crowd. First time I've been here and it was very enjoyable. My sister and I did a dry run earlier in the day and found the scenery to be extraordinary. From Penn's Peak you can see the Lehigh River and Pocono Mountains - just beautiful. Gordon lead with "Sea of Tranquility" which I don't think I've ever heard him do in concert. There were some shout outs but very respectful. I thought Gordon did great. I especially enjoyed "Baby Step Back" and Carter's solo (my first time seeing him). I liked Carter, but I must admit, I missed Terry. I don't have a set list but some of the highlights for me were "Christian Island" and "Beautiful". Gord wore his shnazzy Red jacket in the first set and a dark blue shirt and satin vest in the second - pretty cool. At the end the guys got a standing ovation and came back and did "Rainy Day People" - very appropriate. It was extremely foggy after the concert and my sister and I were concerned about getting back to the b&b, so we didn't stay for an autograph. What a great evening! Can't wait for the next concert! Now back to reality.
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