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Old 09-23-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
niffer
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 239
Default Milwaukee Part Deux

My friend Micky and I started out for Milwaukee around 3 PM. After navigating through rush hour and road construction we arrived at a parking lot near the Pabst Theatre and began to roam through Milwaukee's rejuvenated Riverwalk area. We found a nice restaurant overlooking the river and stopped in. We were having a discussion about what triggers my migraines. Mostly now it's MSG, and unfortunately the blackened chicken salad I was consuming as we were having this discussion must have been laced with it, because by the time we arrived at the concert venue my head was beginning to throb.

The show began right on time, with the band entering from the opposite side of the stage than usual. Gord's voice sounded great on Sweet Guinevere, then a little weaker on Cotton Jenny and 14 Karat Gold. Never Too Close aand In My Fashion, which he introduced as "a toe-tapper we keep in reserve," were fine. As usual, he didn't talk much between the first-set songs. He then followed with a shortened Christian Island, Shadows, and a very strong Beautiful. He then said he was going to introduce the band, "the road warriors, fine musicians all," but as he was saying this he was switching from the 6-string to the 12-string and became distracted by a loose strap, and so he launched into Carefree Highway without actually introducing the band.

After that the first "We love you Gord!" rang out. He then played Hangdog Hotel Room after the intro about staying up all night with Jerry Jeff Walker. "Do you remember any of it?" someone yelled, and Gordon laughed. Then it was Ribbon of Darkness into Sundown, which drew the most enthusiastic applause of the night, and a well-deserved ovation for Carter's solo.

Then it was The Watchman's Gone ("I don't know what the hell this song's about!") and Alberta Bound to finish the set.

The crowd had been appreciative but not wildly enthusiastic (except when Gord said, "We've played in Milwaukee many times, and hopefully we'll be back for a few more!") There were a large number of people who kept getting up and going in and out of their seats, either to a) get another drink or b) go to the bathroom to deal with the fallout of a). It was distracting and more than a little rude, but apparently it's allowed at the Pabst Theatre to bring your drinks into the auditorium throughout the performance.

The second set began with the introduction of the band for real, and then The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which was flawless. After the song Gord mentioned that the ship had launched from Milwaukee in 1956, and that there had been a "kerfuffle" over the lyric about the hatchway caving in, with the "Ladies Aid in Madison" sending him a letter complaining about it.

He then sang Ringneck Loon and Don Quixote, my favorite, which was lovely. He then introduced Clouds of Loneliness as the song he wrote for his second ex-old lady about a year before the marriage ended.

He followed with Let it Ride, Fine As Fine Can Be, and If You Could Read My Mind, which was gorgeous as always and caused him to motion for the band to take a bow. Then someone yelled "You're doing great, pardner!" Gord smiled, and the audience guy yelled "Those are big shoes to fill!" Gord looked confused, and then realized that the guy was talking not to him, but to Carter. "We stll miss Terry!" the guy continued. Gord then mentioned that Terry was from Detroit, had lived in California, and could have been a rock-and-roller.

Then came Restless, Baby Step Back, Early Morning Rain (with shouts from the audience about Elvis), and Song For A Winter's Night, which was excellent and ended the set. They got a standing O and left the stage, soon returning for the encore, Blackberry Wine. Another standing O, and they were gone.

My head was throbbing from the migraine but the whole show had been excellent. It was my friend's first Lightfoot show, and she loved it. We then waited around to try to spend a little time with the guys. I talked a little with the road manager, Warren, who was extremely nice and couldn't have been more helpful. I got to meet Carter for the first time, and then it was time to talk to The Man himself. I had met him three times previously, but it's always an overwhelming moment. I introduced myself and said that I had written a number of columns about him. He seemed to remember me right away, unlike the last time. He asked if we had ever spoken on the phone, and I said that we hadn't, but he could call me whenever he wanted! I told him that I wrote for the Appleton paper but wasn't employed by them, and he nodded and said, "You can write about whatever you want. You should write a book!" I reminded him that I had, and that I had given him a copy in Green Bay two years ago. He asked the name of my book ("Dog Coffee"), and when I told him, he said, "Oh yes! It's on the desk in my office!" So now I can officially die happy.

I then introduced him to my friend. Micky is half Japanese, and has a vaguely exotic look that people can't quite put their finger on. So Gordon leaned very close to her and asked, "So what is your band?"

Micky and I had no idea what he meant. Her son played in a band, but it didn't make sense. Then Gordon asked, "But aren't you Aboriginal?" It took a minute, but we realized he thought she was what we would call Native American and wanted to know what tribe she was from. He then told us of a time long ago when, as an unknown, he was hired by a guy, sight unseen, who was then very disappointed to learn he had hired a white guy, and not an aboriginal.

Gordon seemed upbeat and jovial, with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye. It's wonderful to see him like that.

Micky and I got home around 1:30 this morning. With the combination of headache, upset stomach, and restless dog, I didn't sleep well. But my headache has abated and I can sleep in tomorrow. Life is good.
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
charlene
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

great report Jennifer! Sorry about the migraine tho and the drinkers in the crowd. So annoying!
It must have been awkward for Carter to hear that yelled out. In Salamanca Gord never mentioned Terry at all.
Enjoy your day of rest...you deserve it...and no jury duty!!
yay!
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:11 PM   #3
niffer
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

Thank you, Char! Hopefully this means I'm a member in good standing again!
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:45 PM   #4
redhead
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

Glad you were able to go, but so sorry you suffered a migraine during the performance. Sounds like a food allergy and I know how awful that pain you described feels.

Can you imagine ANYONE being disappointed upon meeting GL? He could have been a Martian, and I wouldn't have cared!

How thrilling for you to hear first hand that something you penned is sitting on the desk of someone who's work has moved and inspired you for so long. Recall the memory of him telling you this whenever you have a bad day or feel down on yourself, to keep things in perspective and make you smile.

Thank you for taking the time to share the details of what turned out to be an awesome night for you and your friend Micky.

Go Badgers!!!
(daughter @ U.W. Madison)

Last edited by redhead; 09-24-2011 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:50 AM   #5
imported_Ordinary_Man
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

The Fitz was launched from River Rouge MI in 1958. Gord didn't know that? Or perhaps something was lost in translation?

It's interesting that Gord say he doesn't know "what the hell" the Watchmen's Gone is about. I used to think it was a cynical look at "God" but then decided it was about Death, as in the "Grim Reaper". If Gord doesn't know, I don't feel so bad. What I do think, tho, it's a much more effective song hearing it sung by him at 72 rather then much younger.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
curiousmoonbeam
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

Loved your review, niffer! My sister and I are going to see GL on 10/2 in Jim Thorpe, PA. Soooo looking forward to it. We also made reservations at a lovely B&B, so it will also be a nice get-away. Last time we saw him was last Oct. in Sewell, NJ, just minutes from my home, which was great. I noticed how thin Terry was from the last time I had seen him and I commented on it - not realizing how sick he was. Just a few months later he was gone - still so very sad. I am, however, very much looking forward to seeing Carter since we've heard so many great things about him on this site. I also get migraines from MSG, high salt content, many food additives and rainy/change in weather - I can so relate. I hope eventually you will get a good handle on it and get some relief. Thanks again for the great review!
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:59 PM   #7
niffer
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

It's true that a quick Google search shows that the Edmund Fitzgerald did indeed launch in June of 1958 from River Rouge, MI. So I'm not sure exactly what Gord had in mind. There is a strong Milwaukee connection, as the father of the insurance exec for whom the ship was named was the owner of the Milwaukee Drydock Co. I also learned this past summer that he had owned a house on Nagawicka Lake, west of Milwaukee, just down the road from where my in-laws have lived for many years.

Thank you all for your concern and kindness regarding my migraines. Misery may love company, but it also provides opportunities to be empathetic and compassionate, which is one of the many things I love about this site.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
DellroyGM
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Default Re: Milwaukee Part Deux

Great review! Thanks for posting it!
-DellroyGM
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