Tulalip, WA

Tulalip Amphitheatre - August 26, 2007


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

By Christina Harper
Special to The Herald

TULALIP — Fans who made the trip to the Tulalip Tribes Amphitheatre on Sunday to see long-time singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot spent a couple of hours enjoying oldies but goodies, including Lightfoot himself.

The evening got off to a great start, with Lightfoot launching into "Cotton Jenny," a hit from more than 30 years ago. He and his great band proceeded into the chilly August night with "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," and, of course, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

At 68, Lightfoot still gives his audience a reliable show full of classic songs. His signature halting voice is clear and recognizable. His guitar playing is solid.

Everything about Sunday's show was good: the artist, the venue and — even if Lightfoot said he was "freezing his butt off" — the weather.

Audience members sang along to "14 Karat Gold" and snuggled up to the beautifully written love song "Shadows."

Lightfoot has a faithful following in the Northwest and around the country. Longtime fans know he is an enduring artist, and like his fellow Canadians Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Anne Murray, his music stands the test of time.

Unlike bands like, say, The Rolling Stones, Lightfoot has never announced a final tour, then come out again. Like in "Cotton Jenny," the wheels just seem to go round and round and Lightfoot can be relied upon to tour every so often to satisfy fans.

People of all ages can listen to Lightfoot's work and get as much from it today as they did in the 1960s and '70s. They can listen to 1998's "A Painter Passing Through" and get that Lightfoot can tell stories of the here-and-now with sadness and passion.

It seems you're never far away from Lightfoot's music and his 40-plus-year span of hits. Hits such as "Baby Step Back" and "If You Could Read My Mind" are classics that most people have heard at one time or another.

Even if you are not a fan or are too young to know who Lightfoot was 20 or 30 years ago, one day you'll hear a lyric and say, "Oh, yeah, I know that."

Near the end of the show, and before he froze, Lightfoot talked about Elvis Presley recording his song "Early Morning Rain." The King had wanted to meet Lightfoot but it wasn't to be. Elvis left the building before that could happen. Lightfoot does a great version of this, his song, made famous by Presley. It takes you back.

After more than 20 songs, Lightfoot, skinny and slightly hunched over his guitar, waved, then ambled away.

He and his band returned to the stage and played "Blackberry Wine" before heading back to Canada for a break before the next leg of the concert tour. No doubt fans will once again make the trek to see and hear Lightfoot the next time around, and, again, they won't be disappointed.