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Old 04-15-2009, 09:37 AM   #1
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Posts: 441
Default Edmonton Sun-Lightfoot Heavy on the Past

Lightfoot heavy on the past
Canadian legend puts on a mellow show

Gordon Lightfoot's best singing days may be behind him, but the man still knows how to evoke the folk music scene as it was, in the good old days, on the cusp of dominating popular music before Bob Dylan ruined everything.


The scene at the Jubilee Auditorium last night was straight out of A Mighty Wind - Christopher Guest's cinematic poke at the folk music scene. A huge round of cheers greeted the 70-year-old singer with the long, grey, swept-back hair- who responded not with an eye-popping, ear-splitting opener to merit such adulation, but with a quiet strum of the acoustic guitar and the quiet words to his gentle seafaring yarn, Triangle. It was just what the fans wanted.

He followed that with a slightly less mellow but still low-key take on Cotton Jenny, after which he spoke, "All right, we'll get a little adrenaline flowing."

On cue, a female voice in the audience shrieked, "I love you!"

There we have it, the tone of the evening, the enduring appeal of folk music embodied in one of its biggest Canadian stars.

There's been talk lately about gassing the Canadian content laws, without which, you could argue, Gordon Lightfoot wouldn't be where he is today. But there's no use carping about it.

His fans love him, his songs are classics, he's still out there performing them. He's a legend.

He certainly didn't act like a "legend." There was no fanfare, no introduction of himself and he introduced his band as "my fellow musicians."

He even took requests, at one point appearing to pull out a song based on some woman's singing - perhaps that same woman who loved him so, I'm not sure.

Lightfoot took it all in stride, knocking off his best-known songs, one after another. The cheers of recognition grew as the night wore on.


Humble and charming and still going strong if you don't count a frail voice, Lightfoot is no rock 'n' roll star. He's a folk star. In fact, the best moments of the show were the quietest moments.

There were more gentle sea-faring yarns, beautiful ballads, haunting country blues.

Attempts at "rocking out" - such as Hang Dog Hotel Room - didn't work so well, not the least because his tasteful backing band threatened to drown him out.

Ah, but the classics he's known and loved for worked their magic.

Humming erupted in the lovely two-stepper 14 Karat Gold and the toe-tapper In My Fashion - "at my age they're all toe-tappers," Lightfoot quipped.

By the time Carefree Highway rolled around, the place was on the verge of a full-scale singalong. This was about as wild as it got.

I'm surprised he didn't get a standing ovation in the first set, even for The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, perhaps his best known song and possibly the best known song anywhere about a shipwreck.

Most legends of this stature get a standing ovation just for showing up.




Gordon Lightfoot


2,500 in the Jubilee


A mellow hit parade of pure Canadian nostalgia makes up for a voice that isn't what it once was

Sun Rating: 3 out of 5
"I'll see you all next Saturday..."
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