Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gord's Still Golden

Mrs Silverfiddle and I went to see folk superstar Gordon Lightfoot in concert last week.

We started off the evening by leaving the kids and our cares behind.  We enjoyed drinks and dinner next to a big stone fireplace at an Irish pub and then walked to the concert hall in the crisp darkness .

Gordon packed the place.  Lots of old geezers with long white hair, but I was surprised to see so many people my age, as well as quite a few youngsters.  I shouldn't have.  I myself was a child when "The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald" hit the top 10.

Gord came out to a sparse stage, leader of a 5-piece band holding a 12-string.  The crowd whistled and cheered as they led off with a most righteous rendition of Carefree Highway.  They were tight with not a hint of rust.  Over 40 years together does that to a band.  The "youngster," keyboardist Mike Heffernan, has "only" been with the band since 1980.

Lightfoot alternated between the 12-string, which I couldn't identify, and a Fender 6-string.  He had both capo'd up and I don't think he ever took them off or adjusted them up or down.

I was a little shocked to see how skinny Gord was, and his voice, while still solid and pitch perfect, had a kind of old man sound to it, but then he's 72 years old.  It did not detract from the awesomeness of seeing this folk legend live.  It was not a raucous flick your bic concert, but rather a thoughtful, appreciative affair, with respectful silence during each song and grateful applause after.

I am an amateur singer/songwriter, and I always enjoy live music, especially when it is by someone so talented.  Having been in bands and also having performed solo in the US, Europe and South America, I appreciate the work it takes to perfect a 20-30 song set and bring it to a live audience.

It also warms my heart and gives me encouragement to see musicians in their "old age" out there having fun and making people happy.  When I came back from a year in the desert I was depressed to realize I didn't have the range I used to have.  It was almost to the point that I could barely sing; it was like I had a permanent sore throat.  I figured I was getting old and got really depressed.  My wife pushed me to go to the clinic and it turned out the Middle East had given me some kind of allergy that was easily countered with Claritin.

Voice restored.  Almost.  Time had taken a toll, even with Claritin's help.  No kidding, I used to be able to sing "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes.  Yes, the female part.  But I no longer can.  So, I am willing to cut some slack to an immensely talented artist like Gordon Lightfoot who no longer sounds exactly as he did in his 20's.  Our voices change with the passage of time, and he's rolling with it, adjusting his style and pleasing his fans. 

That's all we can do really...  Roll with it.  And that's what Lightfoot's music is all about.  Listen to Rainy Day People, Circle of Steel or Summer Side of Life, and you'll know what I mean.  Gordon Lightfoot is living life and doing what he loves at 72 years old.  I pray I can do the same.


tha malcontent said...

Cool, as long as you didn't go to see Bruce Springsteen

innominatus said...

Wreck of the Ed Fitz gets stuck in my head like no other song. I now know what I'll be humming all weekend

Silverfiddle said...

They did a great job on "Wreck," really tore it up good.

Mal: I probably would see The Boss in concert if I knew he wouldn't start preaching his liberal BS.

I'm Laura Ingraham: Shut up and sing!

I tend to cut artists slack, since liberalism tends to go along with artistic talent. Boycott all the lefties and you're left listening to Laurence Welk.

Proof said...

I'm mildly envious. I had the privilege to hear Mr. Lightfoot in a concert in Berkeley back in the early '70s as I recall.

jim said...

no Fender...the 6 string is a Martin (capo 2nd fret)

the 12s are Gibsons (standard tuning with capo 2nd fret on one, and drop D tuning with capo 3rd fret on the other)

glad it was a good evening...keep up the playing:)

Silverfiddle said...

Proof: Concert a Berkley in the early 70's? And you can remember details? You must not have been "partaking"

Jim. Thanks for the correction. I was sitting back aways, so I did the best I could.

I play a Guild myself, which is easy to identify by the distinctive head.

I bet his Gibsons are old, from back in that company's heyday...

Proof said...

I recall being able to recall...

I have a couple of Guilds six string, one 12.
John Denver was partial to the Guild as well.

Proof said...

Ian and Sylvia did a TV special where they were joined by Mr. Lightfoot.

You might enjoy this:

Always On Watch said...

I'm a big fan of Gordon Lightfoot. Wish that I could attend one of his concerts!

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