Gordon Lightfoot

An evening with Gordon Lightfoot

February 13, 2014

Selena Auditorium

Corpus Christi, TX

            What honestly can be said about this Legend that the other Legends have not said already? This troubadour has been performing since his mother recognized his talents as a young boy in Orillia, Ontario. With his first public hit, Too Ra Loo Ral (an Irish lullaby)…

            The age demographic ranged from the early 40’s to late 60’s with the occasional child peppered in with their grandparents. The sweet smell of Patchouli oil hung soft in the air & upon the necks of the older hippie generations. Instantaneously sending me back to my childhood with my parents. 

          Gordon (12)  Mr. Lightfoot began his evening with a standing ovation from the audience as his tall slender body walked onto the stage, donning his signature velvet red suit coat, following his band mates… The 75 year old, 5 time Grammy nominee, singer, song-writer & musician approached the microphone and said; “Despite the horrendous rumor, I am not dead.” Showing the crowd that he still has a sense-of-humor.

            It wasn’t long after the applause & laughter stopped, that Mr. Lightfoot began his double set with Sweet Guinevere… The soft sweet voice of Gordon Lightfoot reverberated off the hearts & minds of each individual in the Selena Auditorium at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas that night…

            Mr. Lightfoot went on to play his hits Cotton Jenny, Sea of Tranquility, All the Lovely Ladies, & from his 1998 album A Painter Passing Through, he played Drifters. After each song was played the applause seemed to get longer & louder. Gordon Lightfoot’s hits kept coming in rapid succession with Wild Strawberries, Let it Ride, Spanish Moss & Shadows.The first set continued flawlessly as he played more hits like Beautiful, the Watchmen & his #1 hit single The Wreckage of the Edmond Fitzgerald, which Mr. Lightfoot had written to commemorate the sinking of the bulk carrier S.S. Edmond Fitzgerald on Lake Superior November 10th, 1975, after reading the 1975, Newsweek article on the event “The Cruelest Month”. The song made #1 in his native, Canada, November 20th 1976, almost exactly one year to date of the wreckage.           

            Mr. Lightfoot & his band ended set one with Carefree Highway the 2nd single off his 1974 album Sundown. The soft melodic tune hit #10 on Billboard’s hot 100 & spent a full week on the Easy Listening charts back in October of 74. Carefree Highway is a lovely song about the love of his woman and the love of touring. Soft acoustics & even softer bass & drums.

Gordon Lightfoot & his band then took off back stage for a much needed rest after performing 13 of his classic hits without a sitting down a single moment. Never in my life has a 10 minute intermission taken so long to pass by as each minute seemed to take an hour while we waited for this phenomenal musician and his band to make it back on stage. Conversations from fans could be heard throughout the venue, but one stuck out more than any in this photojournalists head.

The conversation was coming from two gentlemen one row behind me. One fellow asked the other if he was from Canada too. To which the other fellow answered “No, I’m from Utah, my wife is from Ontario. She and Gordon Lightfoot are old friends from the same town… I was working on the set of Three Men and a Baby, & I seen her taking photographs of Tom Selleck. So I said to the director; ‘Look another star-struck fan’ to which he suggested I should ask her out to dinner. I never once thought I’d marry her.”Gordon (10)

            The band made it back on stage, after what seemed an eternity. But things often seem to take that long when you’re waiting for a good time. Mr. Lightfoot’s band began the second set with Now and Then, from his 1975, 11th, album Cold on the Shoulder. Now and Then is a beautiful melody about the memory of a past love, now lost. Ribbons of Darkness followed close behind with just enough time to change from 12 string back to 6 string acoustic. The unmistakable acoustic & bass guitar began his title track Sundown, of his 1974 album of the same name. The venue became filled with the soft baritone voices of the men in the venue singing along with Gordon Lightfoot, including yours truly… The song Sundown, is one of Gordon’s most popular hits. The song hit #1 on the Billboard’s hot 100 & Easy Listening charts, #1 in his native Canada as well as #13 on the Hot Country Singles charts.

            The night continued with hit after hit, Mr. Lightfoot held nothing back from his fan’s this night ladies & gentlemen. One right after another… Hangdog Hotel Room, 14kt Gold, I’d Rather Press On, A Painters Passing Through, Waiting for you & from his 1971 album  If You Could Read My Mind Love, came his title track. The song If You Could Read My Mind, hit #1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in February of 1971. The song made its first appearance on Lightfoot’s 1970 album Sit down Young Stranger, The success of the single led Lightfoot’s label Reprise Records to re-title the album off the song.

            As quickly as the phenomenal night of music & laughter began, Mr. Lightfoot ended it with Restless, Baby Step Back, Early Morning Rain & last but not the least…  Cold on the Shoulder. Gordon Lightfoot, then again received a standing ovation that lasted well on until he exited, stage left…

Fans of all ages need to catch this tour before it is gone. A must see Concert for the old & young & heart.

Review by: Jared Wingate