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Old 10-21-2005, 05:41 AM   #1
Don Quixote
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"Much to my surprise" I find myself writing this; until Tuesday I thought I'd be out of town and unable to attend, but fortunately I had a meeting canceled and there were a few tickets left. I was towards the back, but the Calvin theater is small and intimate, and there really isn't a bad seat in the place. The only thing I missed was a little of the stage patter between songs.

The Calvin is a historically preserved, old-fashioned New England movie house--slightly musty, plaster ornamentation, marble fuax columns, lights adorned with black ironwork, stage outlined in maroon and gilt. The stage is small--just enough room for the players and their instruments. The backdrop was black; during much of the show, geometric patterns of different shapes and colors were projected onto the backdrop.

The crowd was a little older and even more subdued than I imagined it would be--many people in their 60s and beyond, some younger, a few kids dragged in by their parents. A couple of rows ahead of me, there was some slacker-looking kid (hooded sweatshirt, knit cap smashed down over ragged dyed blond hair) with his parents and younger brother.

The band came on to fairly quiet applause, followed by a more sustained, semi-standing ovation for GL himself, dressed in black pants, white shirt and dark satin vest--something like he might have worn back in the mid-60s, but without the string tie. At intermission, the white shirt was exchanged for a blue one.

Here's the set list. Several of the songs were truncated:

Spanish Moss
Don Quixote
Minstrel of the Dawn
In My Fashion
Harmony
Never Too Close
Ghosts of Cape Horn
Blackberry Wine
Sea of Tranquility
Cotton Jenny
I Used to be a Country Singer
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Ribbon of Darkness
Sundown
Intermission
Restless
Beautiful
Shadows
If You Could Read my Mind
Let it Ride
Clouds of Loneliness
14K Gold
Baby Step Back
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Rainy Day People
Song for a Winter's Night
Old Dan's Record
Encore--Early Morning Rain

As usual, the band was in great form--efficient and effective. GL was in good voice most of the night; it took him a while to warm up, and I think he was sounding a bit tired at the end, but all in all was in good form. The show did, however, give the impression that they all couldn't wait to get out. Gord didn't introduce the band at all; one song followed another, often without a pause to let the applause die down, even a little; too many songs that were shortened: Spanish Moss, Minstrel of the Dawn, Cotton Jenny, even the Wreck (didn't use the verse "The dawn came late, etc.", Ribbon of Darkness", Rainy Day People all were shortened.

Lowlight of the evening: right before intermission, he totally blew Sundown, goofing up the verses, and ending up singing "La, la la, blah". Everyone got a laugh; it reminded me of Ringo blowing It Don't Come Easy on the Concert for Bangladesh.

Many highlights: GL on DQ was excellent; Harmony was moving, especially in the beginning when it was just Gord and his guitar; Never Too Close sounded like his voice kicked in all the way; his voice was excellent for the Wreck; Restless was just perfect; Beautiful was good, although, understandably, he didn't try for the high notes at the end; Shadows was stunningly haunting--there was a slight pause before the applause, as if people were still taking the song in, and GL's vocals were right at their peak; IYCRMM was, as always, a centerpiece of the performance; Song for a Winter's Night was magnificent.

I always love to hear CRT, and the band was in excellent form, but I personally don't like that he's slowed the song down where it should be gaining momentum. I understand that it's a young person's song, and that it may just be too hard to sing in its original tempo, but it turns what I think is one of the greatest songs ever written into just a very good one.

A few comments: Before launching into Harmony, GL commented that the song was "as real as it could be, at least to me". He talked a lot about the rains we've had in this area this week, talked about the "two-dimensional life" that performers had, mentioned the origins of Ghosts of Cape Horn ("that was the end of my movie producing career"), and comically apologized for including two songs off the new album ("There's a lot of product out there").
There were some shouts for requests (Pony Man, a few people were relentless about this), and someone behing me yelled after intermission that they wanted him to do Sundown over again; GL explained that he had switched from 12-string to 6-string guitar.
Only one other comment--there was too much percussion on some of the earlier songs, before GL used a drummer. I thought that DQ and Beautiful could have used a less intrusive drum.

All in all a great evening; glad I was able be there.
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:42 AM   #2
Don Quixote
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Sorry--I spelled "faux" wrong--typing too fast on too little sleep.
DQ
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:37 AM   #3
<formerlylavender>
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DQ, nice review. Thanks for posting.
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Old 10-21-2005, 07:13 AM   #4
Sydney Steve
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The Don.,
Thanks for a review that had " a dose of the real" . Non gushing , non rose coloured glasses, just nuts and bolts and ...well, - just real.
Corfid people know our hero needs no embellishments. We know he walks on water !

Gord. knows and often reminds us through his lyrics that he doesn't - and that he has all the weaknesses that come with being of our species ..(although as we know he is a far superior version )....

PS . Anyone who already has , or is soon to attend one of the man's concerts please provide your own "take" on the concert via a review in this forum - it is much appreciated by those of us who can't get there !

[ October 21, 2005, 07:29: Message edited by: Sydney Steve ]
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:20 AM   #5
BuddyP
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Hi everyone,

We too were at the concert last night. I bought tickets the minute they went on sale, so were most fortunate to be 5 rows from the stage. We've never been that close before, and we really enjoyed the experience.

Don's review is excellent. We too were surprised that he never introduced the band. I didn't have a sense "they all couldn't wait to get out." Obviously they have done all the songs a million times. The band may have looked a little bored, but Gord was in his glory all night. He commented "we do our best work live" and he clearly was having a great time.

Gord's voice was thin at the start. He missed a few notes in Spanish Moss. He really got going with a terrific rendition of In My Fashion.

As Don noted, somehow he forgot the words or where he was in Sundown. Everyone was singing along, and he just lost his place. He handled it was grace and a good laugh.

They seemed to have some equipment problems, which may have been most evident to us in front. The bass was all over the place. Gord had trouble with the microphone during Wreck, and some feedback cropped up when he tried to adjust the microphone. It was kind of fun to watch him deal with stuff like that, but it did nothing to diminish our enjoyment of the evening.

Gord made a funny comment before CRT. He said "I can't do the high notes, so I'll just fake it." That got a good laugh. Even better, I did not hear one person clap during the magnificent pause at the end of CRT. That is a first in the 10 or so concerts we've attended over 30 years.

The crowd was, well, old and white. I felt like a kid at 50, but I never mind that feeling! As Don indicated, the crowd was quiet at first. It warmed through the show, and was really into the second set. The show ended with a standing ovation.

As you see in the set list, he did a wonderful cross section of music spanning his career. Each set lasted about 50 minutes. The voice may not be what it was in the 70's, but his stage presence is as entertaining as always. Gord loves what he does. He seems almost shy on stage, but we could see the fire burns as strong as always in his heart. In many ways this was our best concert, and I can't wait until we see him again!
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:59 PM   #6
BILLW
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Thanks for the reviews, great reporting.

Bill
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Old 10-22-2005, 12:14 AM   #7
Sheryl
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Thanks, everyone! I feel like I've seen him again!
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