(UPDATE: Corrected to properly identify the guitarist. Mike Hefferman is in fact Lightfoot’s keyboardist. The Prof regrets the error.)
Just saw this during a break in an NFL game:
And speaking of Canadians, I had a very pleasant time at the Gordon Lightfoot show last night. I may have been the youngest adult at the show, barring those who came with their parents. It was the penultimate show of the tour, and Gordon is 73, but even taking that into account, it was a very strong show. There were a couple of notes he took down, and the voice was a little furry here and there, but his affable baritone still carried the evening. His stage presence is unassuming, which is fine — he has nothing to prove at this point in his career.
To his credit, Lightfoot resisted the temptation to do a “greatest hits” cabaret act. Many of the hits were there — “Carefree Highway”, “Rainy Day People”, “Edmund Fitzgerald”, “Sundown” and several others. But there were numerous lesser-known tunes as well, most notably “Painter Passing Through” and “Drink Yer Glasses Empty”. One regrettable omission was “Canadian Railroad Trilogy”, but in a recent interview, Lightfoot mentioned that some of the high notes in that one are a reach these days, so I suspect he’s saving that for his annual sets at Massey Hall in Toronto later this year.
His backing group was, well, perfect. That isn’t surprising — three of the four members have been with him for more than 30 years, and even the recently added lead guitarist (Carter Lancaster) fits seamlessly. Of course, because I am who I am, I was dazzled by the performance of Gordon’s drummer, Barry Keane. He handled his five-piece kit and an array of accessory percussion gear subtly, colorfully, and musically. Every note he played was exactly what should have been played, and higher praise for a drummer I can’t imagine. These guys weren’t sidemen — they were collaborators and old friends, and that was the feeling for the night: it was an evening of old friends making warm, familiar music, and we, the audience, were lucky enough to get to watch.
Now for a Sunday evening of writing midterm exams, and if I’m lucky, getting a little reading in.