September 17, 2011
The anniversary of the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald was last thursday. I can't think about that tragedy without Gordy's song playing in the back of my mind. It's amazing how intertwined those two items have become (and i was very aware of the wreck happening at the time). And despite how many times I have heard the song, it still draws me in and gives me chills. I suppose the number of people who only know about and have sympathy for the event from the song is uncountable, but huge. Thanks to this song, I suspect those poor souls in the wreck will never be forgotten as long as music is played. That is really an amazing accomplishment for a musician.
And it's not like that was the only great song Mr. Lightfoot produced. I've got a strong supply of Lightfoot tunes on the mental ipod that i can retrieve at a moment's notice. And he has one of the single greatest folk singer names of all time. So of course, I was excited to see Gordy at the State Theatre when the Hennepin Theatre Trust folks offered up some tickets as a make good for the awful sound at the Fleet Foxes show. Kudos to the Hennepin Theatre Trust for providing the tickets. I really enjoyed the show.
Yes, there are some caveats, but everyone knows that going into the show. He's 72, he's suffered some pretty severe health concerns (AAA and a stroke) so he seems really frail and every time he'd pause and lean over to catch his breath i was worried for him. His voice is mostly shot, the upper range is completely gone and even the middle notes that he still has don't have a lot behind them. And he doesn't EXACTLY look like the handsome man i had a crush on back in my "formative" years.
But whatever, the man is still at consummate professional. And his band knows how to do a sound check. No sound problems here and the band was perfectly complementary. Even though I was sorta worried he might not make it through the show (i bet that's how he wants to go out anyway) i never for a minute did not enjoy the show (well, except for the idiots in front of us who talked through the entire show).
And yes, i got chills during "The Wreck", and i loved hearing "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Carefree Highway" (it was also fun to watch Shawn's face light up when he'd recognize songs), and i was really impressed that he did the "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." But i think my very favorite performance of the evening was "Painter Passing Through". Never had really noted it before and now it's #1 on the mental playlist.