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Old 05-05-2008, 06:00 AM   #1
Jesse Joe
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Default LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Lightfoot still holds audience rapt !

May 05, 2008
Robert Reid

KITCHENER

There was a time when the Canadian Pacific Railway not only linked the country from sea to sea, but was a sustaining national myth.
When Gordon Lightfoot was at the height of his powers, he gave eloquent voice to that national myth in Canadian Railroad Trilogy.
The CPR has been reduced to a skeleton and Lightfoot, on the cusp of 70, has lost the vocal authority he once possessed.
One of the most poignant moments Saturday night came when the Canadian legend launched into "There was a time in this far land when the railroad did not run."
The voice was a raspy whisper and there seemed moments when he wasn't going to make it to the end of the six-plus-minute epic.
But he did.
It's as if Lightfoot's diminished vocal powers reflected the diminution of the railway. History and art converged.
Such is the stuff of cultural icons. Lightfoot looked stronger than he did when he last performed at the Centre in the Square 18 months ago. And it was evident he was delighted to be here once again.
The capacity crowd openly embraced him. He received standing ovations at the start and end of the concert and, again, after his encore of Old Dan's Records.
Most of the 26 songs he performed came from the last 25 years of songwriting.
His voice fits more comfortably in the contours of newer songs, even if the collective ear of his audience still yearns for classics from the 1960s and '70s.
It was the songs from the '70s that received the warmest response, beginning in the first set with Cotton Jenny and Carefree Highway and ending with Sundown and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, one of a handful of Lightfoot songs to make regular rotation on AM radio over a career exceeding 40 years.
Ribbon of Darkness was the only early song he performed, albeit in a lower key.
The heart of the first set was A Painter Passing Through, one of his best songs of the '90s, and In My Fashion, the song that means the most to the singer-songwriter.
The heart of his second set featured two masterworks, If you Could Read My Mind and Don Quixote.
These were greeted with ovations, as audience members hummed and sang along to lyrics as familiar as old friends reacquainted after long absences.
Those who attend concerts to hear Lightfoot risk disappointment. But those who attend to listen share in an intimate creative partnership between artist and fan.
Lightfoot gives it his all, including breathing and enunciation, even if some of the notes elude his vocal grasp. He wants us to comprehend and to understand.
And those who listen attentively, making allowances for the inevitable encroachment of time, are rewarded.
After all, Lightfoot provided the soundscape for fans who grew up, went to college and university, married, had children, divorced and remarried, and retired against the backdrop of his music.
As usual, Lightfoot didn't have much to say between songs. He offered a couple of humorous riddles and recalled performing at the Centre for a tribute to Gordie Tapp who he worked with on CBC TV's Country Hoedown.
He said he's happy he returned to what he did for the first five years of his career before the recording contracts -- performing live.
People have asked me why Lightfoot continues to perform. It can't be for the money and he doesn't seem to need the ego gratification, they speculate.
It's not money, it's not vanity. He performs because it's the lifeblood of who he is and it's what he was put on Earth to do.
This he knows in the depths of his heart and his soul, which explains the sense of gratitude you see in his face after he completes each and every song.
Gordon Lightfoot knows a thing or two about grace.


http://news.therecord.com/arts/article/345846

Last edited by Jesse Joe; 05-05-2008 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:23 AM   #2
BILLW
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Well written - this Robert Reid has got the story straight !

Bill
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:28 AM   #3
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

I agree Bill, it started off like it was going to be another "The voice is Gone." But after reading the entire story, he nailed it right on !
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Interesting analogy re:CRT Nice review thanks for posting Jesse Joe
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:39 AM   #5
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Your very much welcome podunklander.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:48 AM   #6
charlene
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Grace and humility..and gratitude..very nice. One couldn't do much better than having those superlatives attached to their name..

It's so true about "listening" - there is so much more to Lightfoot than 'the voice', and there always has been for me.

While performing I have always found him to be mesmerizing to watch..To the point of not even being aware of the others on stage most of the time..His facial expressions, his stance, the way he leans sideways or takes a couple of steps back, his head back with eyes closed as he plays the guitar..they are all part of the song when I see him in concert..When I listen to his music at home I see him in my mind and how he was onstage.

Perhaps his grace comes from age and knowing that yes indeed, he has been who he always was supposed to be...and that it has been his lifeblood for so many reasons over the years but now it is for the joy of performing the music for those who truly appreciate it.

Last May when I spoke with him on the phone I remember not being able to call him Gordon after my initial attempt and his quiet, humble answer:
CHAR: Hi Gordon!
G.L.: Yeah!

CHAR: Geeze, I don’t feel right calling you Gordon.
G.L.: That’s alright!
CHAR: You’re MISTER Lightfoot – that’s who you are!
G.L.: Oh well.(laughing)

He may not feel he fits the icon label but his pride in his lifes work and it's iconic status is irrefutable.

Mr. Reid is so right when he says that Lightfoot does what he was put on this Earth to do..and MY world has been so much richer for it.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:20 PM   #7
RM
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Very nicely expressed. It's truly amazing how a song heard on the radio can lead to something as magical as the "Lightfoot Experience", and all it entails.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
Jesse Joe
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Default Re: LIGHTFOOT In Kitchener Ontario ! 05/03/2008

Quote:
"While performing I have always found him to be mesmerizing to watch..To the point of not even being aware of the others on stage most of the time..His facial expressions, his stance, the way he leans sideways or takes a couple of steps back, his head back with eyes closed as he plays the guitar..they are all part of the song when I see him in concert..When I listen to his music at home I see him in my mind and how he was onstage." ... Char

Dear Charlene,

I certainly can agree 100% with that... Wish I could express myself the way you do. You should have a column in some Toronto (Canadian) paper. You write very good indeed. You seem to express my very feelings for that great Poet Genius.

Thanks for those beautiful words.

Last edited by Jesse Joe; 05-05-2008 at 02:29 PM.
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