Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot Gold

A few weeks ago Christine thumbed  the newspaper and noticed Gordon Lightfoot's tour was swinging into our region. We've checked his schedule occasionally since we're both fans, but there'd never been a convenient date and location.  

Until now. He was making a stop in Hot Springs, AR. 

My parents honeymooned in Hot Springs, back in the first great age of car trip vacations, and it was an occasional stop years later when I came along, and we hit tourist venues across the Southeast. (In Biloxi, MS,  you used to be able to buy a conch shell with a Last Supper miniature inside.) 

Christine and I took a long weekend in Hot Springs 15 years ago,  but we actually live a little closer now, with access to a route that doesn't zig-zag quite as much like the trip from Central Louisiana up through Central Arkansas.

So, we juggled work schedules and bought tickets and were in the audience Monday night when Gordon walked on stage in a red velvet jacket.

It brought a flood of memories. Gord's gold was on the radio the first summer I really began to listen to music and could recite the Top 40 from memory as played on K Dixie radio.

"Sundown" and "Carefree Highway" were the soundtrack for that summer punctuated by mowing lawns and installing black light in my bedroom.  's

The troubadour's voice isn't quite as strong as it was in the seventies, but it was still a thrill to see him live, and to travel through his repertoire from "Don Quixote" to the more recent "A Painter Passing Through." 

Tunes from "East of Midnight" took me back to a late night eighties drive, heading home from a visit to my cousin in Monroe, LA.

Mid-set, when he did a "Sundown"rendition that had Bic lighters ignited, I was back under the AC in my parent's house, watching my black light gleam off the abstract poster I'd crafted on aluminum foil with fluorescent crayons I'd scored at a five and dime called Wacker's.

The baritone was as it used to be for "Sundown" and "Carefree Highway." " They sounded like they did on the album, and "Edmund Fitzgerald" brought a tear like it always does. 

Then there was a moment, as he strummed his 12-string, completely immersed in his music, delivering magic, that made now and then one.

It was 1974, and 1985 and 1998, and  "the thing that I call livin' is just bein' satisfied."

It was quite a night.


Lana Gramlich said...

How cool! Of course, being a longtime denizen of the Great Lakes (& having a friend who's father knew the captain,) the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald's at the top of my list of his songs.

Charles Gramlich said...

I will always love "sundown." One of my favorite songs.

Sidney said...

Thanks for the thoughts, guys. Lana, didn't realize you were from there. It really is a sad story and I know having a connection to the captain makes it more so.

Anonymous said...

Great story! Have caught him a few times in the last few years and always enjoy remembering the past and he and the band always do an excellent job!

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