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Old 04-16-2010, 01:01 PM   #1
Swede again
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Default London concert review

From the London Free Press:

When a national treasure whispers, you have to listen a little harder.
Gordon Lightfoot was definitely singing above a whisper most of the time at the RBC Theatre at the John Labatt Centre on Thursday night.
About 4,000 fans were ready to accept that, standing up twice to salute Lightfoot's first London concert in decades. cheering such classics as Beautiful, Carefree Highway, Sundown, Ribbon of Darkness, Early Morning Rain and the encore of Blackberry Wine.
"It's been 20 years since we played London," the Canadian folk icon said early in the show. He jokingly blamed that on being "shanghaied to Kitchener" in the last two decades.
As expected, Lightfoot made light of the media hoax that had him dead about two months ago. He delivered the punchline about Mark Twain's death, like his, being "greatly exaggerated" twice -- with a clenched fist for comic effect the first time.
"You're a national treasure," a fan boomed out in the first half. Lightfoot took the compliment in stride, saying they were doing the best they could and would "face the real music" when they got home.
Lightfoot's glory days in the 1960s and 1970s had him in London several times. He recalled playing UWO's Alumni Hall on two or three occasions.
By stellar coincidence, the downtown London arena is set to announce the arrival of Star Wars in Concert, a music, lights and action spectacle that brings the Lucasfilm movie epic to a new dimension. It's to play the arena on July 25. More details are expected Friday.
The Star Wars in Concert show will have all the spectacular trappings that were not in evidence on Thursday. Lightfoot relied on his songs, his fine band and simple lighting and backdrop.
The critics who have been saying that Lightfoot's voice, once so rich and strong, is little more than a whisper at times are right. There were moments during the 90-plus minutes of music, as on Ribbon of Darkness, when it was less than that. In that fine song, words and melody were getting swallowed.
At other times, the Lightfoot whisper-plus approach was subtle and powerful. When he sang the line in If You Could Read My Mind about "the feeling's gone" and not being able to get it back, it worked on so many levels.
Then there was the moment when Lightfoot introduced a song of his that "was recorded by Elvis -- "well-recorded by Elvis" -- and it turned out to be Early Morning Rain.
"You do it better," shouted a fan.
On this Thursday night in 2010, that Lightfoot classic sounded like a classic.
With Lightfoot was his band of more than 20 years -- guitarist Terry Clements, bassist Rick Haynes, drummer Barry Keane and keyboard player Mike Heffernan. Haynes joined in 1969, Clements a year later and that lineup has toured with Lightfoot since 1987.
Clements was magical all night, filling in around Lightfoot with terrific melodies and runs. The band was poised and unruffled without ever sounding complacent.

Plus a comment from the same site:
Like Bob Dylan's before him, Gordon Lightfoot is showing his age - and that's fine. Both iconic singers need to now carefully choose their material, shifting through to find the songs still within their range. Lightfoot should take a page from the Leonard Cohen playbook and add supporting singers to his act. That would give it more power. Still, I am so glad he continues to tour and hope I have the chance to hear him live again
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: London concert review

several more comments at the link..
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: London concert review

He didn't sing "Home From The Forest"...
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: London concert review

I went to the concert in London a bit anxious. Our seats were quite far from the stage (mid way up level three, dead centre). There have been lots of posts with comments from previous concerts about fans being disappointed with low volumes, especially from that kind of distance. Also, I had been fortunate enough to attend the show the night before in Hamilton and I thought Gord’s voice broke a lot on several songs, and that was from much closer (row 7). In our group of four was a friend of mine who had been to one concert (last year sitting very close to the stage) and his wife, who had never seen Lightfoot. The fourth in our group was Anne from Michigan. I was really concerned we would leave with them saying that they had a hard time hearing most of the songs.

I’m happy to report that Gord’s voice was much stronger on Thursday than Wednesday. There was much less breaking until the encore song, Blackberry Wine (which was also the encore song the night before). And the sound levels were excellent.

Also he was very chatty, and some of his intro’s were interestingly long – maybe he was happy to be winding up a fairly long leg of this year’s tour. I didn’t note the set list, but I will try to paraphrase some of the introductory comments:

“Great to be back here in London. Home of the Knights. Home of Darryl Sittler (Char would appreciate that), home of Steve Nash” (which he later corrected to Ric Nash).

“A lot of my family is here tonight. They drove in from Alvinston. They drive in for the Knights’ games.”

“There’s been lots going on lately. Besides the report of my death, there’s been the KERFUFFLE about the Wreck. The kerfuffle started 35 years ago when I wrote the lyrics. There were a number of theories – and I mentioned them all - she may have broke in half at the surface, she may have capsized, she may have been swamped. But I was on a roll for four verses, so I took a little poetic licence, and I said the hatches gave in. The folks at National Geographic did a documentary and they concluded that the ship broke in half at the surface. They are right and that is a relief to the families of the men responsible for the hatches and we have changed the lyrics . . .”

“Are there any daughters here tonight? Are there any daughters here tonight? I’m guessing there are about 2,000 or 2,200. I wrote this for my daughter, when she was a little girl. She has since presented me with two grandchildren. Those grandchildren are older than my two kids from my second marriage” . . . As Fine as Fine Can Be.

Finally before Restless, “This song is about nature and reminds me of a joke . . . How long is the hair on a rabbit’s back? How long is the hair on a rabbit’s back? I’m asking you - How long is the hair on a rabbit’s back?" At this point I was chiding Anne – come on, he wants an answer, you know it, yell it out, but she wouldn’t.

We were really hoping he would reprise Home From the Forest for one more night, but it was not to be. Maybe next time.

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Old 04-16-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
Auburn Annie
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Default Re: London concert review

I seriously doubt he's ever use backup singers beyond the guys in the band.Leonard Cohen can get away with it - he always struck me as more, uh, theatrical, or at least many of his songs are. However I can see the stampede from Lightheads if the call ever goes out for singers, lol.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: London concert review

Too bad our Anne didn't get to hear HFTF but there's two good videos to make up for it.

He asked the same daughters questions in P'boro..He mentioned the 'kerfuffle' in the lyrics in P'Boro as well. Makes me laff everytime I hear the word now. It's funny that in Hamilton he didn't say anything about the lyrics or new findings about the sinking.

I thought he sounded better in Hamilton than he did in P'boro so it's good to hear he got even stronger the next night in London..

Did anyone sing out 'over me' at the end of Ribbon of Darkness like they did in Hamilton??

see you in July!!

Darryl Sittler was born in Kitchener..played hockey in London as a kid tho.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Brian has mentioned that Sittler was born in St. Jacob's which is near Kitchener.. I think he was 'born' in the hospital in Kitchener and raised in St. Jacob's.
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