REVIEW: Aging troubadour Lightfoot wins over appreciative RR Valley crowd
FARGO It's a good thing "The Gales of November" didn't come too early Wednesday night. Those winds would have drowned out Gordon Lightfoot's set at the Fargo Civic Center. The 70-year-old troubadour has battled back admirably from an abdominal an...
It's a good thing "The Gales of November" didn't come too early Wednesday night. Those winds would have drowned out Gordon Lightfoot's set at the Fargo Civic Center.
The 70-year-old troubadour has battled back admirably from an abdominal aneurysm in 2002 that kept him away from the stage for 2½ years. Onstage at the Civic on Wednesday night, his reedy voice was a shade of its former richness.
Those expecting "Gord's Gold" realized that, well, Gord's got old. Then again, haven't we all? And anyone going to a Gordon Lightfoot concert expecting anything but contemplative acoustic folk was at the wrong show.
Judging from the crowd's reaction, the 2,159 fans were happy with their choice.
Age and vocal strength aside, Lightfoot and his backing four-piece delivered the goods with two 50-minute sets of hits, broken up by a 20-minute intermission.
The crowd cheered when he kicked off the night with "Triangle," "Did She Mention My Name" and "14 Karat," but refrained from clapping during songs for fear of overwhelming the sound.
How quiet was the sound mix? So quiet I could hear a guy 15 feet away tapping his feet. So quiet, when the bassist and guitarist sang backup on "Sundown," they didn't need microphones.
Once Lightfoot warmed up, his voice gained power and the crowd gained enthusiasm, clapping along to "Carefree Highway" and drowning out the opening to "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Thirty years after it was written, that song still delivers chills.
He mixed in a few stories, explaining how the requested "Song for a Winter's Night" was actually written during a July thunderstorm in Cleveland.
Lightfoot still had a trick up his sleeve. As the house lights came on, he returned to the stage for a second encore - "Song for a Winter's Night" was the first, "Blackberry Wine" the second - forcing those who'd already started toward the exits to return to their seats.
Lightfoot repeatedly thanked the crowd for coming out, saying it had been 15 years since he last played Fargo. It's hard to believe he'll be back again, and the crowd seemed happy to have seen him, past his prime, but still in good form.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.