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Friday, May 05, 2023

Comment of the Moment: Gordon Lightfoot Tribute

 Gordon Lightfoot: 1938 - 2023 

Our Comment of the Moment is from A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot: 1938 - 2023 by Mark in T.O.:
Another lesser known neat Neil/Gord connection goes back to 2013. Here's the set-up for that: Daniel Lanois hosted the inaugural "Harvest Picnic" music festival at a park just outside his home base of Hamilton, Ontario the year prior in 2012. 

EmmyLou Harris and Ray Lamontagne were the closers of the all-day affair and it went over well. Neil and Crazy horse also toured SW Ontario heavily that year with shows in nearby London, Toronto and Kitchener on the Psychedelic Pill tour. I caught 2 of those 3 shows and was jazzed to see him back with the Horse and dropping solid new tunes.

For the sophomore Harvest Picnic event at the end of August in 2013 the price for the day long affair went up considerably. But the rub for that was Neil and the Horse were the headliners so there was lots of buzz about that when that was announced. Peggi Young and the Survivors were also on the bill that day so that was exciting too. She had a 2nd album out and was touring that across North America with her great band. No more back-up singer role at Neil's gigs for her. She was striking off all on her own in search of her muse.

Then the shit started to "hit the fan" (figuratively and literally). 3 weeks before the show Frank Sampedro breaks his hand over in Europe and Neil and the Horse cancel the rest of those European gigs. Then with only a week before the Harvest Picnic event Neil announces they are cancelling all remaining North American dates. Then shortly thereafter the promoter announces to the ticket holders for the Harvest Picnic event that the show will go on but that there will be a "headliner swap" and no refunds. The swap was Gordon Lightfoot instead of Neil and Crazy Horse. Suffice to say a lot of the Neil fans were upset at this. They took a lot of heat but stuck to that plan.

Then the promotor picked Peggi and her band to do the kick-off show at a small dive bar in downtown Hamilton called " This Ain't Hollywood". It wasn't well announced and the few tickets there were (maybe 100 ?) went fast since the rumour was Neil would show up. It was a jam-packed venue and the show was good. It was neat being up close and I gave a quick "attaboy / well done" to Spooner Oldham and Rick Rosas as they threw back a beer on the picnic table on the sidewalk outside the venue after the show. Neil never showed. Of course we all know now he had made "other plans" for that exact time (driving Lincvolt up to protest the oil sands in Fort McMurray with Daryl Hannah as part of a documentary production). He did show up at a Peggi gig in Boston a couple of weeks later in Boston just before Farm Aid, which was in upstate NY that year.

Anyway back to Gord and the replacement show. Gord was good... most of the audience were respectful whilst also holding the view that Neil and the Horse was what they had paid for and a good # were still pissed no refunds were offered. I had an extra ticket and gave it away that day to a stranger as there was no market demand for tickets. You need to understand that Gord played regularly throughout Ontario (since he lived in Toronto) so his fan base had ample chances most years to see him live in good comfortable venues. He was also about as old then as Neil was just before the pandemic. Respectfully, as a fan of both and their entire body of work, and having seen Gord live on several occasions, I can attest that Gord's live shows fell off considerably as he aged and encountered failing health. That is the norm, and is to be accepted by the concert goer, is it not ?

So just typing out this tome brings back floods of memories of the "days that used to be" and also drives home just how much things have changed since then. We Neil fans are so very lucky he has been vibrant both creatively and when seeing him live, complete with only modest "slippage", despite some serious health setbacks for him along the way too. 

Fingers-crossed long may he run.
Thanks for the tribute "tome" to Gordon Lightfoot Mark in T.O. Much appreciated and well deserved.

It is nice to know that Gordon is well remembered around the world.

Labels: , ,


At 5/05/2023 05:49:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Lots of people play instruments but to write a good song is a whole other matter. To fill albums with good songs is a huge challenge. Neil Young & Gordon Lightfoot are 2 classic Canerican Giants of song who delivered in this regard. The Muse flows and great albums get made. But as Dylan says of GL, “He has a rare talent.” Bob would know.

Yoko Ono got to record “music” and participate but sadly all she could create sounded as lovely as nails on a chalkboard.

Peggy was probably not meant to be a bandleader, a guitarist, or a lead singer. I bought one of her albums because Neil was on it. Not enough Neil to save it. Even backed with all of those great band members, the worthwhile songs don’t just show up by themselves. Ask Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. He knows (Although the songs do seem to explode from his heart like a fire hose, just like his Hero, Neil Young!).

I sure don’t mean to be mean, but it’s bloody rare to find a truly gifted songwriter. We all found one, and that is why we are here.
I have not yet listened to the songs on the new album “All Roads lead home” and part of the reason is that I expect to be unimpressed. Nils, Ralph, and Billy are all great musicians. To support a great Artist as a band member is a different animal entirely than to possess the ability to write great songs. Could Hanging with Neil for decades do the trick? Probably not.

But one can read the Jeff Tweedy book, “How to write One Song” I have not yet read it myself, but I should! Because I am still not writing songs!

Have a great weekend. Your brother Alan in Seattle

At 5/06/2023 08:45:00 AM, Blogger Hounds That Howl said...

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee.

There was a rare beacon lighting at Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior earlier this week to honor the life and music of The Late Great Gordon Lightfoot . Gordon passed away earlier on this week . The beacon, which was decommissioned in 1969 , is always lit on November 10th to honor the 29 lives lost on that day in 1975 when the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a stormy gale . For many, Lightfoot's song about that night resonates every time they visit Lake Superior . That was surely the case at Split Rock earlier on this week . The light of the near full moon lit the scene nicely. Waves lapping at the shoreline with a gentle, cool breeze ... ✌����

Photo Credit : Ken Harmon Photography


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