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STK 03-11-2000 03:57 PM

I expect I'll get flamed for this post, but I am so confused about last evenings show, that I must say something somewhere. I have liked Gordon for almost 30 years now, but have never seen him live. I haven't followed his career closely, but have tuned in from time to time, and have always enjoyed going back to the 70's albums - especially Don Quixote which is my favorite. I was excited when the concert was announced, and bought tickets immediately.

What an unbelievable disappointment! He opens with one of my favorite songs, but where is the warm and robust voice he once had? It is gone! The man can barely sing at this point. At first I thought there was something wrong with the microphone, but when nothing improved, I realized that this was how he was. And the music itself had little or no life to it. The band was so uninvolved in what they were playing, and their performances so wooden and lifeless that they might as well have e-mailed them in from home. The sound reinforcement was so tinny and lackluster that there was no way the music could come close to filling the hall.

I expect a performer to change with time, but I also expect a certain level of quality when I spend $30+ per ticket to see a man who has been playing music for more than 35 years. Instead of a seasoned older musician who is still able to command a performance, I felt as if I was watching a sort of nostalgia show in which the audience is left to grasp hold of a memory of something long since past. I cannot recall another concert (and I go to many) where I have felt embarrassed and sorry for the performer from the outset. Yet everyone else in the hall seemed to be perfectly content with the concert. Do these folks not go out very often? Are they unaware when a show is not up to professional standards? Or do they know that this is how Gordon is these days, and they expect and are satisfied with less?

Before you flame me out of existence, please understand... I do not express these feelings out of meanness, or to anger others. I love Gordon's music - as a songwriter he has few equals, and his body of work speaks for itself. It is just that I was so let down, and confused as to why no one else seemed to be having the same experience. For the first time in my life, I walked out on a show... after 5 songs. From now on, I'll stick to the recordings.

Constructive responses appreciated,


Kevin 03-11-2000 05:40 PM

No flames from me my friend.From where I sat, I noticed that He was straining his voice to reach the higher notes for the first few songs. I figured; new tour.New night.New crowd.You should have stuck around.By the middle of the show,His voice was flowing.The more that the crowd responded, the more the band and Gordon flowed.For the first time in my life,I sat,watched and listened to the man I've heard as background music for years.I tell you.......I was taken away to some places that I've always wanted to be,Like the forefront of the pacific Northwest railroad where when the sledge hammers came to a stop,it was too quiet to be real.You should have stuck around.

Algeh 03-11-2000 06:39 PM

I wasn't at that concert, but I remember feeling a little disappointed when A Painter Passing Through came out, and listening to the beginning of "Drifters". His voice has changed as he has gotten older, which is a biological thing that simply happens to people. But after listening to the album for a bit, I realized that I still liked his voice, even though it wasn't what I was expecting from his older albums like Don Quixote and Cold On The Shoulder. Give your ears time to acclimate, and you'll probably like it too. It's just shocking at first. And also, it can take any performer or band a few songs to warm up. At least, I've noticed that with choral music sometimes, which is what I generally get to perform and/or hear live. (For the record, I now really like the song "Drifters")

wolfebay 03-11-2000 07:23 PM

Yes, unfortunately Gord's voice is not what
it once was. But listen to Dylan, Van Morrison, John Stewart. Their voices have all
changed with the years. And I remember seeing
Gord in 1975 in L.A. and even then it took him(and the sound guy)a couple of numbers to work out the kinks. I'm sorry you walked out on a legendary performer who, like the rest of us, is not getting any younger. His voice
may be somewhat less than it once was, but if
you listen closely, it still has that Lightfoot charm. I am sympathetic to your
comments about the band, however. I saw him
in Portsmouth, NH his last time there, and I
was sitting front-row center. I also came away with the feeling that the band somehow
wasn't with Gordon - almost a sense of disinterest. I hope I am wrong. However, being on the road, and playing basically the same songs every night must get trying! In closing, we have been lucky to see a talent
such as Gordon's, so next time stay for the whole show - the time will come all to quickly when he hangs it up, so let's enjoy him while we can!!

bcfitz@banet.net 03-11-2000 07:52 PM

I am replying to several comments about the 3/10 show in Northampton last night. At first I too was surprised and disappointed by the thinness and weakness of the sound overall (Gordon's voice AND the band) bit it picked up as the concert went on. And he DID feed off the warm, appreciative response.
I saw him in Springfield, MA in about 1971, at the HEIGHT of his fame, and his voice was full, mellow and robust. Now it seems more reedy, tinny and tentative, but some of that might also be the sound mix, I'm not sure. He may also get stronger as the tour continues, which of course doesn't help those who saw it early on.
It IS a shame he opened with Don Quixote, one of his best songs of all time. I had to strain to hear the sound. I wish he had done this one nearer the end.

One more point: near the end of the show the band launched into a great rocking number I never heard before that was one of the best of the night. The only words I could make out - or thought I could make out - were in the chorus: "Can I rewind?". Did I get it all wrong? What aws the real song title? And is this a new one for him? Thanks.

markpoker 03-11-2000 08:55 PM

The Loudest song of the second set was Blackberry Wine. It sounded great, but if you are not familar with the lyrics it is tough to pick up.

pufferbell 03-12-2000 12:04 PM

Yes, Gord's voice has changed over the years, but he can still carry a tune and come across as good as ever. Maybe if you examine how your own body has changed over the last 30 years, you won't be so hard on Gord.

dantedungen 03-12-2000 01:20 PM

I saw the concert on 3/11 at the Westbury Music Fair, Long Island, NY. It took gordon 1 song to warm up, & his voice was fine.
There was also a lot of banter. Although he is a "talker", he seemed more vocal than the other times I've seen him.
As far as the band's "involvement" is concerned, keep in mind that they don't sing backup, and are really there to provide the musical backup; they've always stayed in the background & do a great job. The music is crisp & clean.
It's a shame to ever walk out; stick around & wait for the adjustments! I'm sure the others in the crowd were smiling & enjoying themselves because, like me, they've listened to GL for 20, 30 years & still appreciate the talent.
Many performers lose it, Elton John is one who comes to mind, Gordon's lost maybe a step. Just sit back & enjoy it!

Gord 03-12-2000 05:05 PM

Hmm sad to hear you walked out on the concert. I have seen him play 5 times since 1988. True the band looks "uninvolved" but they are concentrating on doing their job instead of looking flamboyant etc. I used to play the drumset in highschool and I was more worried about doing it right than being an acrobat etc.

Gord's voice has been this way since 1990 after the Shadows Lp was released, I last saw him Nov 1999 and I didn't find anything objectionable about the quality of the concert. Each to his own I guess

sandyo 03-14-2000 08:23 AM

Northampton was a highlight in my life. I too have been a fan for a very long time and couldn't wait to see him. I appreciated every single note that he sang because I knew they were all coming from his heart. I am sure that he now plays and sings for us, his fans and for the love of what he does and I am thankful that he is still performing.

mikedn337 03-14-2000 11:10 AM

a reply to sdk, northampton disappointment.having been a close friend of Gords for several years, i can tell you that he goes out on the road for 50 concerts a year because he loves to play the music and sing for the people. He dosen't need the money. His band members have been w/ him for many years and are all totally committed to him both on and off stage. Sure his voice has changed, he's 61 years old. Also, for your information, he was getting over a lingering head cold just prior to the concert season. I will be seeing him in concert at the end of this month at 3 differant venues and on his worst day he will still be the greatest singer, songwriter of all time. I strongly suggest to you that you make a point of seeing him again as soon as possibleand savor the fact that this man has been giving you his heart and soul for 40 years. And i know for a fact that he will continue to do so for years to come...i can't beleive you walked out. Call your therapist asap. God bless you.

BuddyP 03-14-2000 04:07 PM

I attended the New Haven concert with friends. The playset was similar to the other concerts. It did take Gord a few songs to get warmed up, but he was outstanding for most of the night. Yes, adjustments have been made for his voice but so what? It is obvious that he still loves being on stage. He was relaxed and teased the crowd with comments. My favorite was when he said "The Shubert Theater is very famous ... or so we were told." That got a good laugh!

His voice is not as rich as it once was, but neither is mine when I sing along to the CD's on a long car trip. What has not changed is the magic of his lyrics. I was glad he played many of his newer songs, most of which were unfamilar to many in the audience, who seemed familiar with only his work through the Summertime Dream album. Gord made light of this a couple of times. Gord is truly a painter passing through time.

It was wonderful to see younger people in the crowd, and not just people of my generation. We had two kids next to us with crazy colored hair that seemed to have a great time.

I did not attend expecting to hear the magnificent voice that I so enjoyed at Tanglewood in the mid 70's. I did not go to be entertained by the band. I went to see a man whose poetry speakes so often to the life I have lived. I went to see the man who takes my mind to beautiful places I have never seen. In all respects I attended an event that met every expectation. My only regret is that I cannot go again this year.

When the sea runs high,
Th' sea runs wild and I'm unsteady,
And I think of you,
In the warmth of your home and family.
When love is true,
There is no truer occupation.
And may this gale
Blow us to the ones we love.

That's what I went for. Open your ears and your heart my friend and you may find the same.


Wes Steele 03-14-2000 06:41 PM

To the person who walked out of the concert and had tears in his eyes because he "lost" thirty dollars.
My Friend, you don't have a clue......

Wes Steele.......

Paul J B 03-14-2000 08:58 PM

To the person who walked out, I would just like to let you know you have wasted an opertunity that some of us aren't able to have. Ihave to agree with Wes , you don't have a clue.

loveandmaplesyrup 03-15-2000 01:22 AM

To the person who walked out: I think you need to find someone ELSE to follow and criticize. I don't think you'll find much sympathy here. I'm sure Gord noticed you walking out and I'm sure he was deeply hurt to see it. He made a comment just recently that he will continue touring "as long as they will have me" and YOU just chalked up one mark to make him think about continuing. THANKS A LOT. I can only hope there aren't too many people out there like you to discourage him because we all (his real followers, that is) wait each year to see him and hope and pray that he won't stop. It is just people like you that could cause him to be discourage enough not to tour again next year.

So, here I am opening my big mouth, but this has to be said. Do his LOYAL followers a favor and please don't go to anymore of his concerts. Gord does not need people like you in his audience. Save your $30.00 for someone who sounds like they did in the '70s. Do what you like, but PLEASE don't be so inconsiderate and discourteous as to spoil it for the rest of us. WE want to see Gord next year and the next year and the next year. We want him to know that "we will have him" as long as he's willing to walk out on that stage. You should dream about rising to his status. Believe me, Gord wouldn't dream of criticizing you. So, why don't you leave him alone and move on to someone more "worthy" of your expectations!

Please go and try to destroy someone else. There are plenty of "stars" out there worthy of your efforts, believe me.

Stay loose, eh?


P.S. Just out of curiosity, are you one of those people in that group that call themselves "the Lightheads"? Sorry, but you just sound like it.

P.P.S.S. I'm not trying to start up another riot. I just had to say this. Please forgive me, all of you.

"Love and maple syrup
go together like the
sticky winds of winter
when they meet....
If you go into the forest
Gaze up through the trees
The sky is white.
You can understand
What makes the forest
Greet the man
Like a mother's only
child ..."

[This message has been edited by loveandmaplesyrup (edited March 15, 2000).]

Rob Wells 03-15-2000 02:38 AM

I've read all these replies and I must admit that flaming the "The Guy Who Walked Out" isn't really the intension of any of the posts. Biology is the factor here. That and the fact the Gord quit smoking (I think). And let me tell you, he could smoke!!!

The fact remains, we all Love this man. Everyone will agree, He's no longer in it for the money. He's made his pile, but he never was in it for the the dough. Name me anyone outside of the the folk greats still living that hasn't dedicated their lives to spreading The Word of Love in the world as much as Gordon has. But then, Noel Stookey and Peter Yarough are bald now. Glen Yarbough's beard has turned grey, Mary travers has put on a few pounds.
Would you walk out on them because they too are showing signs of age?

For thirty bucks you get to hear and see a living legend. A man ,who with one song, recorded in one take, brought worldwide attention to the tradgic loss of a ship and her crew. Now a monument stands on both sides of the lake, as a testement to the sea. One song!!!!! And how many songs are in that catalog......over four hundred?

I can tell you that as long as Gord has it in him to go out into the world and sing his music, to remind us of who we all are and how we effect each other, to touch us all in places we don't even like to think about, then, he will. I pray each night that God will keep him safe and well.

You might also ask yourself if you're doing the same job you started with thirty-some years ago. Have you done as much to improve the quality of life in the world as Gord has? Have you touched and influenced as many lives as he has? Is your name known in every country, city, town and village in the world? If you can answer YES then, you're a very lucky person. If not, then you might lower your expectations a bit and give people around you some latitude.

Rob Wells

"Hear my song, as I sing it to the lost and lonely ones."
"A message To The Wind"

P.S. Sorry, Florian for all the edits. My wife says I type like a gorilla and spell like a four year old.

[This message has been edited by Rob Wells (edited March 15, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Rob Wells (edited March 15, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Rob Wells (edited March 15, 2000).]

Chuck Darling 03-15-2000 06:17 AM

You only paid $30.00??!! damn I've been paying too much!! LOL and how many beers did you have before the show? you've been a fan for 30yrs? C'MON ON!!! I've seen Gordon numerous times since 1983 and yes once in awhile he'll hit a "clinker" during a song, but barely sing??!!.

My friend there was nothing wrong with the microphone, the problem is with your ears...Lams and Wes... WELL SAID!! and one more thing, the Lightfoot band is one of the best there is!!! So go back to your Insane Clown Posse concerts..they have the real message for you, me I'll wait for the Minstrel's return to Ohio!!!


Ever Onward...

[This message has been edited by Chuck Darling (edited March 15, 2000).]

Frank v 03-15-2000 01:07 PM

This is an interesting topic to say the least!

My view is...
If you attend a concert, like that one.You go to experience the essence of that moment, of a career of a historical, legendary artist.
The standard of performance, is always a matter of opinion, but its not that important.
The concert is unique {because tommorows, will always be different}.
The fact you were there in the same hall as the man himself.Is something you will always have.Something to share with your children {If you have any}or your friends, or future generations.
That is worth the price of admission, if not more, surely?

On the subject of 'that voice'.When I hear 'Painter' I hear a set of very good songs, which show his song writing abilities are still intact, rather than dwell on his voice, which after all was 58 or 59 years old at the time.

If there is a question mark against the status I gave GL.

Ask yourself this question.
How many artists, in the entire history of popular music.
Have made nineteen original works, of 'SELF WRITTEN SONGS' that span four decades.
Works that range from very good to classic.

I personally, cannot name anybody.

{I suppose John Stewart comes close...}

I'm covering my tracks now!!

Getting back to the original topic.
{I've almost forgotten what it is}

I do not wish to 'flame you' STK.
Everybody, in particular paying customers have freedom of choice.

I only wish I had the luxury of making the choice of walking out of a GL concert!
Of which incidentally, I would never do.
The lack of luxury is due to geographical, reasons not financial.

Just a thought...
If everybody used Gord language,
what a charming, better world it would be.

Why say its cold outside.
When you can say,'Its a wicked wind and it chills me to the bones'.

I'd better go or all I'll be here all night!

potter 03-15-2000 03:10 PM

I am 34. I love Gordon's music and talent as a song writer. He is CLEARLY, CLEARLY, the quintessential singer and songwriter. I have been a fan since I first heard my brother's Gord's Gold album in the late 70's, namely CRT. At that point I never could have imagined the depth and breadth of the artist that is GL.

Nonetheless, I recall my first live concert in Toronto, and the initial difficulty I had understanding the lyrics of songs that I was familiar with. I attributed this to nothing else, but Gordon's advanced years. I found that PATIENCE was the key in this regard. As the night went on it seemed that his voice became stronger and my ear more in tune. I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the thought of actually witnessing him perform. It bordered on spiritual. Hell, it was!


'May all of your martinis be forever dry.'


Lightfoot678 03-15-2000 05:03 PM

In response to the "disappointed" guy. You missed out on an opportunity I would love to have had. Walking out only after 5 songs and then critcizing the show to me falls into the category of yelling "they sucked!" after only lstening for 5 seconds. If you want to critcize the performer or the concert at least see the WHOLE concert before you critcize it.

Did you consider that maybe Gordon was just having an off night. It's not impossible. Even people who have been professional musicians for over 30 years may be off key on some nights. But to totally dismiss Gordon based on simply one concert is kinda dumb in my opinion.

Musicians aren't perfect. I know that for a fact and I am not a professional musician. But a 21 year old college student who plays guitar and sings as a hobby.

Look into his shining eyes and if you see a ghost don't be surprised......Listen to the strings. That jangle and dangle while the old guitar sings.

The lake it is said never gives up her dead, when the gales of November come early.

Roger 03-15-2000 08:59 PM

To the disappointed fan: I've seen Gord twice live. Once in a theater in Phillie and the other time at an outdoor concert in a placed called Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA, on the closing night of the festival. In both cases they blew the audience away! Gord's voice may not be as strong and or mellow after the all butts and booze of the past, but that band of his is perfect! Down to the last ping. They are truly professionals. You gotta give the artist a chance before you walk out. Lightfoot is still Lightfoot. Nobody can touch him. I personally don't wnat to be blown out of the seats by a million watts of volume like the front row at a Kiss concert. I want to hear that old Lightfoot and company quality. Both times I saw him, it was there in full force without an overpowering PA system Bleeeehing out the melodic poetry of the words and folds of musical overlays. Get to another concert and have patience, or leave Louise at home if you just can't wait to get her outta there http://www.corfid.com/ubb/smile.gif

BuddyP 03-15-2000 09:33 PM

Given all the controversy about this concert I thought you might enjoy to read the review by the Springfield (MA) Union News. Here is the lengthy URL:
Lightfoot carries on tradition
Monday, March 13, 2000


NORTHAMPTON — Carrying the torch for '70s-styled folk, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot delivered two performances at the Calvin Theatre Friday night.

Perhaps best described as Canada's answer to Bob Dylan (no need to discount at the current rate), Lightfoot performed for nearly — 1,000 fans.

The melodies were simple and the rhymes were purposeful, buoyed by Lightfoot's unique phrasing and recognizable cadence. It is that cadence that is his currency and has enabled him to maintain a core following for more than 30 years.

Lightfoot is big enough to have some very big songs and those who thought he cashed in all his chips by playing such songs as "Sundown" and "Carefree Highway" during the first of his two-set performance, were forgetting such hits as "Rainy Day People" and "If You Could Read My Mind," which were highlights after the 15-minute intermission.

"Sundown" was wholly satisfying as the crowd clapped along, keeping time with Lightfoot's four-piece band. Like rambunctious students, the audience continued to shout requests and Lightfoot responded like the favorite professor "admonishing" them with a wink and a nod.

Lightfoot went with the education reference on several occasions, pointing out such songs as "Ghosts," which he said was used in an educational film, and hinting he would be involved in an upcoming PBS special.

"Well, let's go to the big song," he shrugged, referring to the epic "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The true story of the shipwreck was brought to life by Lightfoot's historical demeanor and the band's haunting accompaniment.

On occasion, Lightfoot sounded withered, but nonetheless charmed, on such songs as "Pony Man," and his understated love song, "Waiting For You." He continued to chuckle at various shouted requests, some that went way back in the veteran performer's catalog.

The arrangements were standard folk with hints of bluegrass and an occasional turn on a blues theme. It was Lightfoot's graceful delivery that turned the performances into more than standard four-chord fare.

Lightfoot closed the performance with "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," and walked off the stage to a standing ovation. He returned for a one-song encore and hurled a bouquet of flowers into the crowd.

I don't see any mention of the one person who left. :)


Wordsmith 03-19-2000 07:54 PM

My reply may be pretty late in coming, but I am posting it anyway.

I have not been fortunate enough to have ever seen Gord live-or even on TV, for that matter. But that doesn't stop me from being a major fan--especially of his writing. I would simply LOVE to see him in-concert just once. He is, IMHO, probably one of the greatest writers to have ever drawn a breath.

Rou0044@aol.com Chris 03-24-2000 11:11 PM

I saw Gord twice in '99. Although his voice is not what it used to be, it was incredible just seeing the man who has brought so much incredible music and memories to this world, and to my life over the years. At a live concert, a true fan can forgive the passage of time, and enjoy just being in the same room with a poet, legend, and genius. Music is more than just the sound one remembers from recordings, but how it makes you feel inside. I traveled many miles to see Gordon Lightfoot. I hung on every word sung and every word spoken. I took it for what it was. A wonderful evening of words, melodies, and music that I love and will continue to play, study, learn from, and listen to until I make no sound at all...

Paul J B 03-25-2000 12:05 AM

Chris all I can say is very well said.

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