Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot

Folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot performed at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville tonight. His first ever performance here. I don’t want to say that the audience skewed a little older, but three people died before the intermission.

Seriously, it was a fine concert — really fine. More of a tribute to a long and great career. Lightfoot was all about bidness. Very little onstage banter. He came on stage and started the first set before the applause died down. This continued, workmanlike, for each song on through to the encore. He did, at one point, share some old stories and one bad joke. His old bandmates were there: Terry Clements and Rick Haynes. The song selection was wide-ranging, but he seemed to favor his middle period, and "Shadows" in particular.

As was to be expected, the arrangements were spare, gentle, and masterfully punctuated. Lightfoot, gaunt and approaching seventy, sang quietly and sometimes strained for his old register. All in all, I was proud to be in his presence and say: “Farewell old friend, good friend.” I have always considered Lightfoot to be the Walt Whitman of folk music.