Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gordo



Do you know or remember Gordon Lightfoot? Mike first took me to one of his concerts in 1976 or 1977 in Fargo, North Dakota. It was my first big concert and it was a bit scary. For some reason they didn't sell reserved seating and they kept the doors closed until close to show time. When the doors opened, the crowds pushed forward with frightening force. I remember Mike trying to keep hold of my hand as people were trying to push through. We managed to stay together and my arm eventually healed (kidding). 

Mike has remained a Gordo fan since the 1970's. I am a Gordo fan by marriage. Our children grew up hearing John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot and other pop/folk singer's voices in the background of our family life. So, whenever Gordon Lightfoot is performing nearby, and sometimes when he isn't really that nearby, we go to hear him.  Over the years we have purchased tickets to Gordo concerts in 5 different states. Hmmm.... that doesn't make us groupies, does it?

(Gordon Lightfoot in Wyoming September 20, 2013)

Back then, Gordon Lightfoot was a really big deal. Here's what Wikipedia has to say...

"Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. CC OOnt (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folkfolk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.[1] He has been referred to as Canada's greatest songwriter[2] and internationally as a folk-rock legend.[3][4]
Lightfoot's songs, including "For Lovin' Me", "Early Morning Rain", "Steel Rail Blues", "Ribbon of Darkness"—a number one hit on the U.S. country charts[5] with Marty Robbins' cover in 1965— and the 1967 Detroit riot-generated "Black Day In July" brought him international recognition in the 1960s. He experienced chart success in Canada with his own recordings, beginning in 1962 with the Number 3 hit "(Remember Me) I'm the One". Lightfoot's recordings then made an impact on the international music charts as well in the 1970s, with songs such as "If You Could Read My Mind" (1970) (Number 5 on the US charts), "Sundown" (1974), "Carefree Highway" (1974), "Rainy Day People" (1975), all reaching number 1, and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976) (reaching number 2).[6]

Gordon Lightfoot was once pretty much a household name. He was a denim kind of guy, just like Mike. 

A little more than a decade ago Gordo suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm just before a concert in his hometown. That is often deadly and it very nearly was for him. He spent a long time in a coma. They had to put a tracheostomy in him and do abdominal surgery, damaging his diaphragm. These are not actions that improve a person's voice. Essentially he had to learn to breathe again. He still has problems filling his lungs with the amount of air necessary to sing. Nevertheless, he is now doing a 50 year tour. Think of that! 50 years of touring!

When we watched Gordon Lightfoot's Concert last week, I sat there thinking a lot about the aging process. He doesn't look too much like the guy I saw at that first concert. I wondered if he felt like that same guy. I suppose he does. As I age, I realize more and more that we are not the body we are living in. The essence of who we are comes from something much more substantial. I'm pretty sure I just said something profound there but this post is about a concert, so let's move on.

We enjoyed the concert. Gordon Lightfoot seemed to be enjoying himself and that makes everyone else enjoy themselves. The auditorium we were in held over 900 people and I believe it was sold out. Although he was used to singing to many thousands at a time, I liked that he didn't seem to mind entertaining a smaller group in a small town in Wyoming. I expect it was a walk down memory lane for many of those in the crowd, just as it was for us. I think we all appreciated his work, his songwriting talent and his love of entertaining. 



Do you have any entertainers that have stood the test of time for you? Any you'd go see in 5 different states?

It was a pleasant evening. The best part for me was this... after more than three decades, the same guy was holding my hand on the way into the concert. Yes, that was my favorite part. Oh, and I also liked that my arm wasn't in danger of breakage this time.