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Old 04-09-2009, 08:05 AM   #1
charlene
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Default Vancouver Sun article

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertai...910/story.html

When Gordon Lightfoot was struck down by a ruptured aortic aneurysm in 2002, I have little doubt that when the bright light at the end of the tunnel appeared he started singing. Canada’s minstrel prince has been singing in front of bright lights since 1943 and cut his first record (one song with his sister Bev) when he was 10. That was in 1948.

When Lightfoot plays this week in Vancouver, he will have an album full of new songs to choose from along with a heap of old favourites.

“We do a two-hour show with a 20-minute intermission and there isn’t much talking,” he said. “We just knock out song after song.”

That he is upright at all is a triumph of will. His illness left him in a six-week coma and required three major surgeries, two months-long visits to intensive care and two years of recuperation to resolve.

“I was working and then I fell down on the floor and from that point on I don’t remember anything for six weeks,” said Lightfoot, who came closer than he’d like to admit to making his final tour stop.

“That kind of aneurysm is the kind that kills just about everybody,” he said. “I wondered for the first six months if I would ever sing again.”

It was close. Lightfoot was struck deaf for five months after the collapse, a terrifying outcome for a singer.

So is he slowing down, taking it easy, marvelling at his good fortune?

Umm, not really, no. He’s going on a tour that will take him from Vancouver Island to Sault Ste. Marie.

He completed work on Harmony, his latest album, during his convalescence; much of it had been written and recorded before his illness. Lightfoot worked for six months on his guitar-playing before he was ready to perform again. He didn’t practise singing, but then he never has.

“I was in speech therapy, but I found it embarrassing,” he recalled. “I said when it’s time to sing, the voice will be there.”

When he could play, he played. When he could rehearse, he did — and then booked a tour. He just can’t stop himself.

“I’ve always been a performer, right back to the beginning,” said Lightfoot from his Toronto home. “It’s how I got my entry into the business.”

Lightfoot was making a living performing during the 1960s folk revival, singing popular songs, a few of his favourite country tunes and working his own songs into the mix.

“I would listen to folk and country and pick out these great songs for my set and at the same time I would be writing my own songs,” he said.

It would be years before he did a show entirely of his own material. But when he did, good things started to happen.

Ian and Sylvia heard him sing and immediately recorded several of them. Peter, Paul & Mary did the same thing and took the Lightfoot composition For Lovin’ Me to No. 20 in the U.S.

“By the time I had signed my first record deal I had about 80 songs,” he recalled.

He released his debut album, Lightfoot!, in 1966 and from there his life became a blur of CBC specials, sold-out concerts and tours in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Over the years and 20 albums of original material, Lightfoot has penned more than a few genuine classics. Whether you know it or not, you can sing along to Early Morning Rain, If You Could Read My Mind and the infamous Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald without missing a word. Try it. I dare you.

The list of artists who have covered his songs is nothing short of astounding: Elvis, Sarah McLachlan, Barbara Streisand, Hank Williams Jr., Conway Twitty, The Guess Who, Bob Dylan and Jim Croce just to name a few.

“I never heard a cover I didn’t like,” laughed Lightfoot. “It’s really a terrific compliment.”

Lightfoot soon will be singin’ and strummin’ his own songs at a concert hall near you. As usual.

rshore@vancouversun.com
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting the article Charlene.
This is the first I've ever heard of the deafness and speech therapy. For a long time there was also the dispute of whether a tracheotomy had occurred or not. We are so lucky and blessed as is Gordon that he recovered. I guess in much of the recovery he must have been humming "I'll rather press on, don't want to rest easy."

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Old 04-09-2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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A very special weekend in store for this lighthead2toe guy here in Vancouver. It's two shows and I'm on board for both of them.

It's Easter and the sun will rise o'er the majestic mountains.

Will report back from the "wild west" following the two performances.

Cheers, RJ.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:41 PM   #4
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word from last nights' Nanaimo concert is that the show was terrific, Gord was a bit stuffy but he was in a great mood.

keep us posted RJ!
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:29 PM   #5
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This is the first I've heard about the deafness and speech therapy also,KHester.I wonder if maybe the article didn't get it quite right?
I've heard about the tracheotomy before.Keeping that in mind,the speech therapy makes sense.It doesn't really explain the deafness,though. BTW-My dad is a retired speech teacher,so I know what I'm talking about.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
charlene
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I'd never heard the info regarding the deafness either..
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlene View Post
word from last nights' Nanaimo concert is that the show was terrific, Gord was a bit stuffy but he was in a great mood.

keep us posted RJ!
Will do Char.

The stuffiness could be related to the pollen etc that's in the air now. Lots of plants are in bloom out this way and lawn mowers are going full tilt as well. It bothers me sometimes and it can be distraction for a performer.

On another note, I haven't had a cold since I started using "Germ MD" which was a new product recommended to me in 2007 by a pharmacist in Toronto for avoiding colds etc. especially when traveling or being in places where there is a chance of picking up a virus.

It even tastes ok. RJ.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lighthead2toe View Post
A very special weekend in store for this lighthead2toe guy here in Vancouver. It's two shows and I'm on board for both of them.

It's Easter and the sun will rise o'er the majestic mountains.

Will report back from the "wild west" following the two performances.

Cheers, RJ.
I'll be rockin out with you, RJ!

p.s thanks for the article, Char!
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- if you meet him you will be/ the victim of his minstrelsy/ he'll sing for you a song

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Old 04-10-2009, 12:27 PM   #9
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Cool stuff Ann. I'm in row B, seat 108 in the left dress circle for tonight's show. Check your private email box. Looking forward to seeing you . RJ.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:10 PM   #10
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have a great time, ron and ann! good health and all the best for the holiday
jim
...
btw, that fairly modern theatre looks like a blend of Hamilton Place and Mississauga Centre for the Arts...I'll bet it has crisp acoustics and sound system
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:38 PM   #11
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Have a wonderful time RJ and Ann!
Let us know how it goes asap.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lighthead2toe View Post
Cool stuff Ann. I'm in row B, seat 108 in the left dress circle for tonight's show. Check your private email box. Looking forward to seeing you . RJ.
Sorry for the delay in my response! I'm in Right Orchestra, N 62 (*A 6X - whatever that means!)

See you there (I'll give you a call)...
m'ann
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:58 PM   #13
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Thanks JJ and the same to you and the Jones family.

Yes, it is a very beautiful theatre. It used to be called "The Ford Centre" at one time and then it was completely refurbished .

Gord played there the last time he was in town as well. In 1999, two years after I moved here he played at "The Orpheum" which is an older theatre and the home of the "Vancouver Symphony Orchestra." It is also a very beautiful place with lots of character.

It's a nice spring day here in Vancouver and the sun is shining so it's gearing up to be an exciting weekend with Gord in town.

I'm on my own for tonight's concert but tomorrow night there will be six of us for dinner and then concert. Life sure is great for this Jones boy!.

Cheers, RJ.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:17 PM   #14
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Hey Ron did you have a good Easter?
Will you be posting a review with pictures here or elsewhere- let me know
I am confused at the best of times.
Say giday to Mar for me
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:59 PM   #15
lighthead2toe
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Well, the Easter Bunny has left for another year and the dust cloud on the edge of Vancouver town is Gordon Lightfoot on his way to Calgary.
At this point he's probably in the concert hall as would be our Char and no doubt a full house of Gord fans as was the case here in Vancouver this past Friday and Saturday nights.

When Gord played Massey Hall last November I remember him saying when he walked out onto the stage something to the effect that he "couldn't find words to describe the feeling of how good it was to be there in the hometown performing."

Well, that sentiment was exactly the way I felt when he walked out onto the stage here in Vancouver this past weekend.

Just seeing him from a vantage point in the complete spectrum of the spotlight making his way to the microphone in that true to form Gordon Lightfoot posture, twelve string guitar strapped on and tuned to perfection in concert pitch, crowds just roaring with applause; how could anyone in the hall not get caught up in that kind of frenzy?

It's now Monday and I'm still rollin' on the high of it all.

Anyway, so it's Friday night and I'm on my own just entering the hall heading on over to the box office to pick up six tickets for Saturday night's concert as my wife Marian and several of our relatives are on for the show. It's a special weekend for me as I'm always in my element when I have the opportunity to take anyone to a Gordon Lightfoot concert.

From the corner of my eye I can see waving to me our "mandoann" from Corfid who came up to Vancouver from Oregon for the two concerts.
So we connect and have a chat as I had the opportunity to meet Ann at the previous Massey Hall gig.

Bernie Fiedler is also in town for the shows.

It's a Gordon Lightfoot Easter weekend in Vancouver and the place is hoppin'.

Ann tells me that she will try and do the setlist and I say that I also brought my note pad, tiny flashlight and binoculars, so between the two of us, hopefully we can produce.

I'm all settled and the gentleman in the seat beside me I discover is in town from Perth, Australia and we had a nice chat.

So in true sagittarian form, after I get the first two songs listed I drop my pen onto the floor and it bounces on down under the seat of the person in front of me. So that is the extent of my set list attempt. Help me Ann, please.

But it doesn't take away from enjoying the performance, and Gord, despite battling a cold was in great form.

On the Saturday night we had an opportunity for Ann to meet Bernie and have a chat. We talked about Gord's cold but Bernie assured us that "he's OK" and of course, as is with colds they have to run their course but it's clear he was on the mend and he performed as he always does, in a true professional manner.

The finale now at hand, at least till November, we settle back after the show for a nightcap and talk about how much we all enjoyed the evening. It was interesting hearing comments when he spoke about how his personal life related to the songs he performed. He talked about his capos and how they work in conjunction with the correct keys. The audience was loving every moment.

So overall he pulled it off as he always does, that is leaving the stage to thunderous applause following an encore and several bows and a final wave. It could be heard loud and clear throughout both performances: 'WE LOVE YA GORD!"
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:17 PM   #16
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Hi Ron; I had just logged on and was looking for your post and all of a sudden there it was! I was reading it to my sister and reliving the weekend; what a great time it was!

I'm on my sister's laptop and having trouble with the keyboard, so I think I'll have to wait to do setlists, but for now I can say Vancouver loves Gord and he loves them back!

More on Wednesday when I get back to Portland. Hope some Corfidians will see Gordy in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario!
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- if you meet him you will be/ the victim of his minstrelsy/ he'll sing for you a song

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:37 PM   #17
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Great stuff Ann!

And yes, we were all victims of his minstrelsy on Saturday night especially when he did "Minstrel of the Dawn."

It was great seeing you again.

Cheers, Ron J.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:47 PM   #18
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Ron, for some reason I thought you were in Toronto. I was at the first show, with all the Suzuki people. We were in the dress circle, I think I was in seat 317 or something like that. I am so sorry that I didn't meet up with you. I had thought about staying for the next show, but with trying to change flights and all I decided that I should just go home. Loved the show and the guy that was yelling turn it up was about to meet me in person .
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:24 PM   #19
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Hi Brink.

As much as I love my good ol' TO town I was happy to be in Vancouver this past weekend and yes, it's unfortunate that we didn't get to connect, but wasn't that a wonderful evening?

I missed out on the Suzuki gig as there was so many other gigs going on that weekend with family etc.

I could hear the guy yelling "turn it up" as you mentioned, and on the Saturday night in the section I was sitting there was a lady calling out "Four Strong Winds! Four Strong Winds!"

It does tend to raise the hackles of those of us who would love to just walk over and tell her that she is in the right church but the wrong pew.

Hope you enjoyed your stay in Vancouver and I look forward to seeing you hopefully in good "ol TO in November for the Massey gigs.

Cheers, RJ.
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:22 PM   #20
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mandoann reporting on Friday night (as close as I can get it; RJ please correct me if I am wrong!)

Friday April 10, 2009 - setlist

Cotton Jenny
Carefree Highway
Sea of Tranquility
14 Karat Gold
Never Too Close
In My Fashion
A Painter Passing Through
Rainy Day People
Shadows
Beautiful
The Watchman’s Gone
Ribbon of Darkness
Sundown
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

(Intermission)

Triangle
Hangdog Hotel Room
Restless
Let It Ride
Clouds of Loneliness
Waiting for You
If You Could Read My Mind
Don Quixote
Baby Step Back
If Children Had Wings
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Song for a Winter’s Night


One additional thing: this time he introduced not only the Band members, but also every one in the crew, including the 18-wheeler driver!

A great show!

(Saturday night coming...)
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- if you meet him you will be/ the victim of his minstrelsy/ he'll sing for you a song

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Old 04-17-2009, 04:01 PM   #21
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Setlist, Vancouver, Saturday April 11, 2009

Triangle
Cotton Jenny
14 Karat Gold
Never Too Close
A Painter Passing Through
Minstrel of the Dawn
In My Fashion (seemed to be talking to Terry, remarked "I'm not talking to HIM, I'm talking to the guy behind him...)
Rainy Day People
Shadows
Beautiful
Hangdog Hotel Room
Carefree Highway
Ribbon of Darkness
Sundown
The Watchman’s Gone

Intermission

(When they came out for the 2nd set, Gord remarked to the effect that yes, "I do change my clothes"!)

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Albert Bound (where they were going for the next concert)
Don Quixote
Clouds of Loneliness
If Children Had Wings
If You Could Read My Mind
Baby Step Back
Restless
Early Morning Rain

Encores:

Song for a Winter’s Night ( Gord asked Barry to "get out the jingle bells" for this one!)
Old Dan’s Records

All in all, a great show! I hope to improve my setlisting skills with more concerts!
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:05 PM   #22
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Thank you for this Ann. Glad to have you as part of the team.

Yours truly,

RJ, a victim of his minstrelsy.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:07 PM   #23
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Song for a Winter’s Night ( Gord asked Barry to "get out the jingle bells" for this one!)

He did that in Edmonton/Calgary too..loved it!

good job Ann!
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:16 AM   #24
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...I was sitting there was a lady calling out "Four Strong Winds! Four Strong Winds!"

It does tend to raise the hackles of those of us who would love to just walk over and tell her that she is in the right church but the wrong pew.

glad you ad a great time, guys!

lol

at Massey i'm gonna request the Hockey Song...ok, wrong pew, wrong church
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