Gordon Lightfoot link:
The story of Gordon Lightfoots concert might be best characterized as a "Tale of Two Shirts" (with sincerest apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens). His performance this night was broken into two parts separated by a 15-minute intermission. During the first half of the show, he wore a light blue Hawaiian print shirt. Then for the second half, he donned a pitch black T-shirt.
During his brightly colored apparel set, Lightfoot was anything but sunny and relied upon brooding moments like "The Watchmans Gone" from Sundown, various sea chanteys and other historically inspired songs. Still this first portion also sported quite a few hits, including "Ribbon Of Darkness," "Sundown" and the epic "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald." Lightfoot said little to the audience, letting the music speak for itself.
Post-intermission, Lightfoot came out dressed in a jet black T-shirt, but surprisingly his mood was markedly brighter. Somebody must have spiked his between set punch. Even though his return began with "Rainy Day People," Lightfoots disposition didnt at all mirror the pity party participants detailed by this song. Whether revealed through his lighthearted song introductions, or the funny face he made when a moth floated down from the ceiling right in front of him mid-song, the second-half Lightfoot was a distinctly different man. He turned to a few brand new songs for the homestretch of his performance. One of these fresh catches was called "Shellfish," which spoke alternately about staying artistically motivated and avoiding becoming overly selfish in the pursuit of individualism. A second more recent composition was called "The No Hotel," and it humorously described a hotel experience from hell. Oddly enough, as Lightfoot explained it, this song was inspired by a hotel visit as part of a South American environmental activism trip he took with Sting eleven years ago. Believe it or not, this song was completed a mere six months ago. Sometimes the space between inspiration and an actual song can be an extremely wide chasm.
Lightfoot also saved a few choice hits for this final portion of the show, including the thoughtful "If You Could Read My Mind." He stepped up the tempo toward the evenings close with spirited runs through "Old Dans Records" and "Blackberry Wine."
His band included keyboards, drums and bass. Lightfoot supported himself with either an acoustic six-string or twelve-string guitar. He was also joined by a second guitarist, who primarily played acoustic guitar. One of that guitarist's rare electric contributions was for moody solo guitar break on "Sundown." Truth be told, he really never had a chance to rock out. Lightfoot may be actively writing new songs still, but his largely acoustic folk sound has remained relatively unchanged by time.
Unlike that old Dickens novel, this night was both the best of times and the best of times, since any city (or shirt, for that matter) Lightfoot is inside of, is markedly improved by his presence.Dan MacIntosh