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Old 10-29-2005, 01:10 AM   #1
davidgledhill
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I was an usher at Massey Hall - seating 2600 - in Toronto in the mid 70's, it was the best job in the world, one night Segovia, the next night Frank Zappa and the next night Bob Marley. I was there for the Lightfoot concert series in 74, 76, 77 and 78. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.

When I was there in 74 ushering for the Lightfoot concerts, I think Eliot Mazer bio ,
was doing the sound recording of all the concerts for a possible album. The reason they didn't use the tapes I heard was that Lightfoot had a broken fingernail which resulted in some undesired sound effects.

But I have always thought that, now that audio technology being what it is - those tapes could be cleaned up and all traces of the broken fingernail removed.

Has anyone heard anything about the tapes, who has them and if they have ever been mentioned by Lightfoot or anyone else as the material for a possible for a live album from the mid 70s.

He was at the top of his form and his band was hot. And he always had the most beautiful women in Toronto there for his concerts. Their boyfriends always looked a bit redundant for the duration of the concerts.
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Old 10-29-2005, 01:19 AM   #2
joveski
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the massey hall show from 74 is a very common bootleg that lots of people have. the sound quality isnt too great so we dont know what generation copy we have. its a great show though.
the only comment on the tape that people know about is what you have mentioned above.

there's a slighty better tape of the 75 massey show
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Old 10-29-2005, 01:27 AM   #3
davidgledhill
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are the 74 bootlegs thought to be taken directly from the recordings made by Mazer or by someone with a handheld mike in the audience? - as ushers we could see the odd person doing that - I think I even have a reel to reel of a 70 concert from Massey Hall but abysmal quality, it was early on in my days as a recording engineer, I think I was 13
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:49 AM   #4
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The circulating bootleg of the '74 Sunday show was an audience recording, recorded on reel-to-reel, according to the people who were (at one time) selling it online. They had a web site for about 6 months, after which they were closed down - reportedly by some artist or record company, but not Lightfoot.

I spoke to the man who was selling them, and the "reel-to-reel" came from him. That's what it sounds like to me. The sound quality is much better than the typical audience recording of today, but of course nothing like what you get from a sound board. I always wondered just how someone could get away with making such a recording. You certainly couldn't hide a reel-to-reel tape recorder under your clothes; nor were there any that didn't have to be plugged in. It always seemed rather incredible.

I believe that Lightfoot has the original masters from that series. We can still hope to see something released some day.
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:22 PM   #5
charlene
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back in those days the camera police weren't around either!
lol
p.s. I was one of those BEAUTIFUL ladies at those concerts at Massey....with the redundant boyfriend....well he's a redundant ex now....
lol
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Old 10-29-2005, 09:17 PM   #6
davidgledhill
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Actually, as ushers we had to ask people not to take pictures - this was a rather thankless task - it varied from concert to concert and promoter to promoter. But Bernie Fiedler, the promoter of the Lightfoot concerts back then was not deeply loved by the ushers. Before the doors opened he would lay down the law about cameras, flash cameras in particular, and smoking that we were expected to mention and enforce.

However,surprise, surprise, just before the lights went down, he, with cigarette in hand, would lead a group of the Beautiful People out from a stage door, fresh from backstage, to their front row centre seats and guess what they would inevitably be carrying cameras and smoking cigarettes. This made the ushers look particularly stupid as most of the audience didn't know who this guy was and they wondered why we weren't rushing up and telling that particular group to stash their cameras and put out their cigarettes.

A bit of usher trivia, one the ushers then taking to people to their seats on the first or second balcony, usually, was Tom Melissis Dewey of Due South fame.
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Old 10-30-2005, 02:35 AM   #7
Sheryl
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Very cool. Thank you, David!
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Old 10-30-2005, 02:54 AM   #8
davidgledhill
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One of the more revealing moments of my time at Massey Hall involved my younger brother, John, 15, also an usher, during the Lightfoot concerts. He was a rock drummer, very much into heavy metal – his band used to practice in our basement – there was an ongoing competition between the two 6' guitarists to see who could be tallest in their platform shoes which got taller each week until it reached the ceiling of its absurd climax with both of them standing on cement blocks – they couldn't go any higher as their heads were touching the ceiling. I digress, anyways, one of the great things about being an usher was that you could always come in early, change into your uniform and go up stairs and sit around and watch the sound checks. The commissionaires who worked on the doors knew to let us in so there was no danger that we would be kicked out. < The only artist who insisted that we clear the hall while he set up was Paul Simon. I listened to Still Crazy After All These Years with a new appreciation after that. >

Okay, we are all sitting upstairs watching Lightfoot and his band rehearse, tape down the mikes and do their sound checks. I had told John that Lightfoot's manager, Bernie Fiedler, was a difficult character, I didn't use such a polite term as that. John comes in late, I think he had been up the road at Sam the Record Man's. He walks up to a guy going 'One, Two, One Two' into the mike, assuming it is Fiedler and says with the self assuredness of youth and as a non - folk fan, “ Well do you think 'Gordy baby' is all ready for tonight's concert?”

The fellow onstage looks at him with a fair degree of surprise in his eyes and replies, “Yeah, I think Gordy's ready for tonight's concert.”

“That's good, Gordy baby should be, “ my brother replies and strides up the aisle to join myself and the other ushers killing themselves with stifled laughter or dying of embarassment, as I was, for John had not been talking to Fiedler but to Lightfoot himself.

Massey Hall was a great place to work, John still had his job after that exchange. It ruined me, though, for paying to get into live concerts ever after.
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Old 10-30-2005, 12:18 PM   #9
Molly
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lol, Is John a GL fan now? Does he ever think back on that exchange? lol
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Old 10-30-2005, 12:48 PM   #10
davidgledhill
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if lightfoot came on the radio I don't think he would turn if off but I wouldn't say he was a folkie at any time in his career as a human being and unlike the rest of his brothers he was never into the great Canadian outdoors of canoe trips, sunsets, cottages, black flies and pine trees.

occaisonally we have mentioned that conversation when talking about the whole thing about celebrities, recognition and what fame does or doesn't do to your head.

i think it is a great eye opener to see that everyone is human and has feet of clay. we would get asked by Fiedler to carry the cases of beer out of the trunk of his Mercedes to put them backstage. And we were there for the concerts where he would come out after the break, slur his words, make crude jokes about his ex-wife and have trouble standing up.
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