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Despite his soft sound at the State, Gordon Lightfoot's still gold

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: April 30, 2013 - 2:58 AM

A few thoughts about Gordon Lightfoot’s concert Monday at the State Theatre:

• Considering that  he’s been through an abdominal aneurysm, a minor stroke and other health issues in recent years, his voice sounded remarkably true.


• Unfortunately, his voice was loud enough for a coffeehouse, not a nearly full theater. Sound adjustments were made for the second set, during which the drummer was quieter, favoring brushes instead of sticks.

• Lightfoot seemed in good spirits, reminiscing about his first Twin Cities gig at the old Guthrie Theater and his first U.S. tour when he had some green-card difficulties In Syracuse. He even told a joke: How long is the hair on a rabbit? About three seconds.

• There was a reassuring gentleness and gentlemanliness to Lightfoot’s style.

• At 74, Lightfoot is hunch-backed and rail-thin, with should-length hair. Emaciated, he looked a bit like latter-years Abe Lincoln without a beard.

• Backed by a bassist, guitarist, drummer, keyboardist (who loved the synth-strings on pop hits) and his own acoustic guitar, the veteran Canadian troubadour played two 50-minute sets and a one-song encore.

• He offered a song by his old buddy Bob Dylan, “Ring Them Bells,” but didn’t mention that it’s a Dylan tune.

• Highlights included “Carefree Highway,” “Cotton Jenny” and “Beautiful” in the first set, and “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Early Morning Rain” and “Don Quixote” in the second set.


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