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Old 02-01-2007, 09:52 AM   #1
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I, like RMD was at the Tucson show this past monday but have a considerbly different opinion.

I left the theatre, what I can best describe as "sad". Sad in the same way I felt watching Arnold Palmer shortly before he totally retired from golf - we in the crowd loved to see this legend on the course but we we not watching his golf.

Seemed like this was the same for me at the Tucson show - it was thrilling to be in the crowd but his voice is only a shell of it's former self. What was once powerful and melodious is now thin and reedy. Seems to me that an epic song like "The Wreck" requires a strong voice and it just wasn't there. Some other songs were OK but the high notes are gone.

The banter with the audience was also un-audible - and i was only 12 rows back. It was so poor that we in my general vacinity were convinced that the technicians had turned down his mik. The volume just wasn't there and his voice seemed to crack frequently. (The producer who came on stage before the performance was loud and clear - couldn't have been a technical problem.)

So, when I return home I'm going to put the "Reno Live" DVD on the wide screen with surround sound and try to keep the voice and performance of one of the greatest composers of our time as I'd like to remember him.

with the greatest of repect,
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:17 AM   #2
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We've hashed and rehashed this discussion before. It is a little surprising the first time you hear him after years and years of the frozen in time voice on Sundown, but we overlook it because he is who he is and that is why we go. I also think that he deserves a huge pat on the back for being 68 years old and having the energy to keep entertaining us. Most of us agree the sound is too low, Gord hears it on the speaker by his feet and adjusts himself accordingly - only thing I can say about that is he must have REALLY good hearing.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for the review. It's good to hear all sides in a forum such as ours.

I'll keep attending until he retires no doubt but I sure wish they'd crank the sound back up, if only just a bit for us over 50 folks whose ears have been blasted by years of rock music.

Again, thanks for your take on things.

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Old 02-01-2007, 12:11 PM   #4
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Going back to the 70's and 80's at Massey - even back then a lot of his 'banter' couldn't be heard...he'd move from the mic, walk around, step back to laff at something he said or thought and then start talking before he got back to the mic...that's nothing new.

For me the volume during the songs is good..I don't like loud. Lightfoot music for me is "quiet" ...even the toe tappers...especially the toe-tappers should be quiet for me!
Yep - he's a different doubt about it...he's not 38 anymore..but he's still the consumate professional who still mesmerizes the crowd with the same ability he had 30 years's just different.

I'm different too...I listen differently and I appreciate differently and my expectations are different. Not less but different.

Yep I love to listen to the old gawd could anything be sweeter?
But that was then.

He puts himself out there for the fans...and I'll continue to put myself out there for him-not all performances/songs are note perfect..the overall sound is a new listening experience but I sure love it..he's older, I'm older and we'll keep meeting when and where we can..supporting each other along the way.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:33 PM   #5
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Interesting thoughts. I've had some thoughts of my own which I have not shared, but since it's on topic I will now. As a precursor, I will say that you need to remember that I love Gord and his music and would be happy to hear him perform any time and any place. Also understand, that I have seen him perform often from the late 70's right through to the present day.

I also had a tinge of sadness when I left from the Saturday night performance at Massey this past year. I quite enjoyed the concert, but at the same time, I felt the music didn't have the same "umphh" that it used to. I especially noticed a real raspiness at that concert, like his voice had been strained. It seemed like he was really struggling to hit some notes.

Now when I saw his comeback concert at Hamilton, I thought he was quiet, but I thought his voice sounded quite good. At the first set of Massey hall concerts after his comeback, I thought he did well too. But this year, there was a serious raspiness I'd never heard before.

I basically chose to ignore this thought for some time, until about a month later when I found a bootleg copy of the Thursday night Massey concert from November. I listened and then realized, it was true. I heard the same quality of raspiness on the bootleg too. I wondered if he was just tired from his touring, I don't know. My only point is that I noticed this raspiness this year, and I had not detected it before.

So I can understand the sadness mentioned in the first post. It is like a realization/ reminder that time is passing and that what we've enjoyed all our lives will be passing into memory soon. There's a reluctance to accept that and yet we must.

On another note, I've been listening to my Original Lightfoot collection a lot recently. Because I became a fan of Gord in the 70's, I have often overlooked and ignored his earlier recordings. But listening to this collection, I am filled with a whole new admiration for that voice. Those first recordings sound beautiful. That clear youthful voice sure is a pleasure to listen to. Wish I could sing like that!

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Old 02-01-2007, 12:49 PM   #6
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"He puts himself out there for the fans...and I'll continue to put myself out there for him-not all performances/songs are note perfect..the overall sound is a new listening experience but I sure love it..he's older, I'm older and we'll keep meeting when and where we can..supporting each other along the way."

LOL - reminds me of the end of "Same Time Next Year" when George's wife Helen has died and he finally asks Doris if she'll leave her husband Harry and marry him. She refuses and he leaves, presumably ending their annual trysts forever. She's weeping alone on the bed when suddenly George returns, flinging the door open and acknowledging that "okay, so maybe I didn't think things through", adding "and we're going to keep on meeting like this until our bones are too brittle for contact."
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:54 PM   #7
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LOL - that's it Annie!! - one day I'll give him a hug and we'll both crumble to the floor amongst our brittle old bones!

yep - I guess it's about accepting lifes changes...I have found over the last few years that I'm much more accepting of a lot of things in life..changes - good and bad, disappointments, hurts, loss...
yep - it's official now - I'm a certified O.F...Old Fart..
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:03 PM   #8
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I didn't quite know how to respond, after having read the leading post by Phish, then I realized the best way for me to respond was to re-visit portions of my very first post on this forum, when I joined back in September, the day after attending my VERY FIRST Gordon Lightfoot concert.

"Hello! I'm new and I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found this site. I was at the Gordon Lightfoot concert in Minneapolis on Sun. night, Sept. 17th,...

It was my first Gordon Lightfoot concert..

but suffice it to say it was a very big deal for me to be able to attend the concert on Sunday night.

When Gordon came out on stage, I was not expecting to see the young man who graces the covers of my CD cases, and was not surprised to see a thinner, aging man in his late 60's. However, I recognized him immediately even from my vantage point of balcony seating. He began the concert with Cotton Jenny, and his voice was weak and he appeared to be having difficulty hitting the high notes, and I thought to myself, oh no. But...he found his voice in the second song, and his singing became stronger and stronger with each passing song. There were a couple of songs he did which sounded identical to the albumn recordings from 30 and 40 years ago. And except for the time when I was moved to tears as he sang Early Morning Rain, I found myself at the edge of my seat and smiling the entire time.

I know you've all discussed his health issues of recent days, which is heartbreaking after all he's been through, but I really believe he was having a good time, and in fact he said so more than once. It was awesome to see him smile, and he was actually really funny and had us all laughing at times. At one point he turned to look at his band members to pick up the tempo, and we were all clapping along you know, and so we thought we'd help pick up the tempo so we started clapping faster, and then he had to tell us to bring it down again. It was a very special and funny moment. It made me feel for an instant that I was a part of his music and that in some small way I had made a personal connection with him.

Forgive me for being sentimental, but you could really feel the love in that beautiful theater on Sunday night. The applause after each song was intense and long. The concert was interrupted several times by shouts from the croud of "I love you Gordon!" and "You sound great!" There were several small standing ovations, but at least three times the entire crowd was on their feet applauding.

But what struck me the most, I think, was his humanity. He did not try to hide any of his frailties, and in fact made light of them several times. He sounded excited about his right hand and the fact that the feeling was "coming back." In fact, he was very upbeat about everything, including the fact that he's been able to be productive the past few years, i.e. making music and touring. He seemed very humble to me and handled everything very gracefully.

I will never, ever forget the experience of hearing in person the voice which I have heard a million times on my car stereo, my office boombox, and at home relaxing in my back yard... the voice which has soothed me during many rough times in my life and the voice which I feel is itself a special friend all my own. Gordon's music has touched my heart deeply and I now have a very special memory which I will never forget of the man himself. Thank you, Gordon, for sharing with the world your wonderful gift of song. You are a treasure!"

All that having been said, I think we all yearn for the days when Gord was, to use his words, "In My Prime." He was a strong, handsome, and viral man and a talented musician. He is now an aging man who has had major health issues, but he still remains a talented musician who, in my opinion, deserves to come out and play as long as he wants to. It's the circle of life! I recall seeing video clips of him as a young boy singing in a church choir, and I can't help thinking it is coming full circle now that he is in entering his senior years. We should celebrate his life, which always has been and is to this day filled with music which he has shared with us. I, for one, will continue to see him every chance I get, and I will not spend a single moment crying over the fact that he is not the same as he used to be. I embrace him and his music, however he wants to or is able to play it and sing it, and celebrate each and every day that he continues to grace the earth with his presence.

[ February 02, 2007, 09:24: Message edited by: Gitchigumee ]
"There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun. Long before the white man, and long before the wheel. When the green dark forest was too silent to be real."
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:31 PM   #9
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I was hoping you would offer your perspective. There is no right or wrong viewpoint. After the numerous postings here over the last few years about his weakened voice, my expectations were extremely low, so it didn't take much to exceed them. I was also in row 2, which probably enhanced the experience. I thought about wandering farther back to check out the sound from a different vantage point, but was just too focused to do so.

I guess I fall into the charlene camp : Lightfoot was there, I was there, and the music was there. Just like seeing an old friend after many years, the physical changes are unnoticed in the blink of an eye, and "the gist of it all" remains.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:48 PM   #10
Jesse Joe
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Originally posted by brink-:
It is a little surprising the first time you hear him after years and years of the frozen in time voice on Sundown, but we overlook it because he is who he is and that is why we go.
Very well said Brink...

I have the 1980 concert, of Olympic Tribute, from the CNE in Toronto. And I saw the 1976 Olympic Team Benefit, he did from Maple Leafs Garden, on CBC. That's the Gordon Lightfoot I would have love to see live in concert. But those days are gone. I got to see him first in 1987, sounded really good. But today, I too like Charlene, am and O.F.

To Ron, you hit the nail right on the head. He is like a charger to me too. Hope he stays plugged in for many more years to come...

[ February 02, 2007, 07:09: Message edited by: Jesse-Joe ]
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:55 PM   #11
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Hey all.

I wasn't going to be on today because a project at work was supposed to take me and others into overtime. Turns out with everyone pitching in and practically going without lunch,we were done by 3:50pm.

So,anyway after readingthis I had to respond. Phish,has a right to his opinion I grant that but to me,what's the point of lamenting something we can't control?

I do sometimes kin of kick myself for not knowing how great his music was much sooner because then I could have seen & heard him in his prime. I can't change that either because in my teens & 20s,I liked what I liked and that's just how it is.
I feel very fortunate just the same to have seen him even more than once. Wispy voice or not.

Lastly,that applause he recieves is not polite applause nor was it out of pity,folks still love him,the band & the music. The best thing is to appreciate it all while we are able to enjoy it.
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:16 PM   #12
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I'm glad phish expressed his feelings....I experienced the same feelings when Gord appeared in Concord, NH early last year. I've loved Gord's music since 1972, and have seen him more times than I can remember, from California to New Hampshire to Massey Hall. I still love his music - will always love him and his music. He's been a part of my family's life for 30+ years and will remain so.
I'm saddened to admit it, but it was all I could do not to leave at intermission. The best way I can describe my feelings? I guess my heart was breaking...hearing my idol struggling with a voice that sounded so thin and frail - so unlike the voice I have loved for all of my adult life. Sadness....overwhelming sadness. I applaude those of you who can look past the obvious - please keep going to support Gord and show him your affection....he deserves every bit. But, sadly, I've attended my last Lightfoot concert. I want to remember him at his finest..It hurts to much to hear him as he is now.
As in any other situaton, we all deal with it in our own way. I only wish I could turn back the clock.

" he stands on stage, there's a tear in my eye, waiting for the last refrain...of ships and windmills and railroad men, and the early mornin' rain."
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:51 AM   #13
Peter Bro10
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Hi y'all!
Ah, for the diversity of opinions!!!
But I'm compelled to say that, for those of you who are sad, that I"m sad for you! You've missed the forest for the trees. You've sat in the presence of greatmess and missed "it". I've gone to my two latest concerts(in 2005 and 2006) and come away sort of muted in my reaction... but in reality I just absorb everything, and then for the next two weeks I'm on a GL high. One might interpret my reactions as negative or reserved, but again in reality it's all sinking in. The Man is nothing short of phenomenal! always will be. It is one of my greatest hopes that he plays Aurora IL again this year... if so, I"ll be there for sure!
one song that comes to mind with all of this is, oddly enough not Gord, is Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party" I'll paste the lyrics below, just in case you don't recall them all.


Garden Party
?- Artist: Rick Nelson
?- peak Billboard position # 6 in 1972
?- inspired by Rick's experience at a Madison Square Garden concert
?- Words and Music by Rick Nelson

?I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends?A chance to share old memories and play our songs again?When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name?No one recognized me, I didn't look the same??CHORUS?But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.?You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself?

People came from miles around, everyone was there
Yoko brought her walrus, there was magic in the air
'n' over in the corner, much to my surprise
Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan's shoes wearing his disguise


lott-in-dah-dah-dah, lot-in-dah-dah-dah

Played them all the old songs, thought that's why they came
No one heard the music, we didn't look the same
I said hello to "Mary Lou", she belongs to me
When I sang a song about a honky-tonk, it was time to leave


lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)

Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
Playing guitar like a-ringin' a bell and lookin' like he should
If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck


lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)

'n' it's all right now, learned my lesson well
You see, ya can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself

end quote-

In my humble opinion Gord still has "it". "It" is the spirit of his music, not necessarily his voice or his guitar playing for that matter. And his relatively "new" material is wonderful. I especially enjoy "River of Light". It's nothing short of awesome!
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that a Gordon Lightfoot concert is an experience like no other. Who knows how long we'll have them??? I prefer to savor while I can!! and savor I will!!
Bless you all and keep you on the road to tenderness
Heaven can be yours just for now

Peter Bro10
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:45 AM   #14
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Peter Bro 10,

I love that song. "You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself" are words to live by.
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:35 PM   #15
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I'm new to posting to this site but I have been one of those "lurkers" you've all previously discussed. I've been a Lightfoot fan since the early 70's & have been fortunate enough to have seen him more times than I can count. Like many of you, I have seen the changes through the years. I give you credit, Phishfearme, for honestly stating your feelings. I am certain we have all, at one time or another, felt them. I know I have but it will never stop me from being there for him, as he has so often been there for me (whether he knew it or not). I think this is a great forum for Lightfoot fans (new & old) and I appreciate the fact that posters can feel comfortable enough to post their true feelings without being dragged through the coals for it. I thank you for allowing me to "lurk" in the past & maybe I'll post from time to time now. In the meantime, I'm lucky enough to be seeing Gord tonight & tomorrow.
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:00 AM   #16
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Charlene, very well said, exactly the way I feel but could not put in words as eloquently as you have.

Gitchigumee, you have me in tears, the way you expressed your experience, very nice.

I'm looking forward to April when I be there to enjoy Gordon and remember all of the wonderful concerts he's treated me to.
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Old 02-06-2007, 06:07 PM   #17
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I was apprehensive about buying some of Gords later stuff where his voice has thinned out considerably. But after listening to some of it, it really doesn't matter. Any of the resonance/richness he has lost in his voice he makes up for hundredfold with the thoughtful way he composes his songs, and the way he caresses each word. Sure the voice is not as velvety and smooth anymore but Gordon has so much more to offer besides a pretty voice. And despite the voice change, "raspiness" as some describe it, I still enjoyed my GL concert experience very much. Of course had I been around to see him in his prime it might have bothered me. I can understand how it would be a little heartbreaking for those of you who have been following him for many years, and you want to remember him as he once was. I think thats ok. However Gord was already into his 60's by the time I became a big fan, so I think he sings ok for a gentleman of his age.
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Old 02-06-2007, 06:13 PM   #18
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Originally posted by charlene:

Yep I love to listen to the old gawd could anything be sweeter?

Nope. Can't think of anything that is really...
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