Age can’t keep Gordon Lightfoot down
Vail, CO, Colorado
Today’s kids would probably classify Gordon Lightfoot’s sound as “elevator music,” but for those who grew up during the ’70s, it means so much more than that. If there was some universal contest to name somebody the king of soft rock, Gordon Lightfoot would be very high in the running. His music is as menacing as a sleeping kitten, but that didn’t stop him from selling out the Vilar Center in Beaver Creak Saturday night.
Lightfoot’s back-up band took the stage first, a modest looking group of older musicians. Then Lightfoot came out and humbly bowed. There he stood, dressed neatly in a white button-up shirt, vest, gray slacks and polished black shoes. His hair was combed back, his mustache neatly trimmed. The acoustic guitar strapped around his shoulders looked like the only thing that would keep a gust of wind from blowing him over. Then his unmistakable voice filled the theater, and even though it sounded worn and scratchy, it was a true testament to the decades he’s spent giving it away to his fans who don’t ever want him to stop singing for them.
Lightfoot is very good at making pop music. His trademark country-folk hybrid is very palatable to the ears of any listener, and his lyrics are engaging enough to keep the listener involved with the story. His band built the many layers of sound, taking a very basic melody and turning it into this rich blend of tones and harmonies that flowed from the stage.
You’ve got to hand it to the man, as simple as the formula may be, he has a way of making it oddly enchanting. It was hard not to be captivated by his music, he just comes off as so earnest and passionate about the material. This Canadian poet and musician obviously cares about what he’s writing, and who he’s writing it for.
Too old to be a god, and too ingrained in music’s history to be irrelevant, Lightfoot is firmly human while remaining immortal. During one of his songs he dropped his guitar pick. No big deal. Then he stopped the show completely, slowly bent over, and picked it up. The audience laughed, and so did he. Age can’t keep the real ones down. Lightfoot has the spirit of a kid, and that’s something age can’t take away. Rock star may never define Gordon Lightfoot, but with a career as solid and remarkable as his, I don’t think he would have it any other way.