Hall - November 15, 1985
COVER A LOT OF TERRITORY TONIGHT"
embarrassing to report the child-like national pride that results from
seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert. Forget about your Mounties, beavers
and soapstone carvings. Get this guy's face on a Canadian stamp.
(Finally a reality in 2007! - WF)
has begun his annual
concert series at Massey Hall and Friday night's opening show was
sublime. He performs again tonight and then from Thursday to Saturday
of next week and the really good news is that you still might be able
to get a ticket.
Both vocally and physically,
Lightfoot is in very good shape. There was
a little gasp of delight when he strode on stage and he sang an
appropriate opening number, If It Should Please You. Boy, did it ever.
Saying "we're gonna cover a lot of
territory here tonight," Lightfoot
mixed such classics as Carefree Highway, Sundown and High And Dry with
some new songs from the album he'll release this spring.
Of the new material, A Lesson In
Love was a standout. Let It Ride, I'll
Tag Along and Morning Glory also offered a nice taste of what's coming
on the new record.
For his second set, Lightfoot
performed Cotton Jenny, Endless Wire and
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, before slipping into a medley that
he called his "ballad salad." Spanish Moss, Christian Island, Rainy Day
People, If You Could Read My Mind and Alberta Bound provided the
Lightfoot fix that so many in the audience had come for.
The sound at the concert was
remarkable and it's a rare experience to
hear every note of every instrument with such crystal clarity.
Lightfoot's band played with the type of familiar ease and pleasure
usually found only in very good marriages.
Lightfoot has no stage personna, one
of the reasons why the raw emotion
of the work comes across so clearly. But it's an honesty that can also
make him awkward or shy on-stage, as if he still can't believe his own
popularity. The enthusiasm of Friday night's audience seemed to catch
him somewhere between pleasure and embarrassment.
For his encore, Lightfoot sang
Canadian Railroad Trilogy and
inadvertently sang the same lines twice. He grimaced over the error,
but then laughed and said, "And it was almost a perfect night, too!"
Except for the "almost" stuff,
that's just what we thought.
By Liz Braun
Globe And Mail