Meeting a legend

Review: Gordon Lightfoot @ Club Regent Event Centre (aka – “OMG, I MET GORDON LIGHTFOOT!!!”)

Gordon Lightfoot and band on stage at Club Regent. /PHOTO: Anne Martin

I’m trying really hard not to type this whole review in caps, because no one wants to read a review screamed at them. But restraint is not really my thing when it comes to stuff like this and I’m sitting at my desk vibrating.

You guys…tonight, I met Gordon Lightfoot. And he looked at me and he listened to my star struck rambling, and he mumbled stuff at me and I stood RIGHT NEXT TO HIM and someone took pictures and LOOK!!! I HAVE A PICTURE OF ME AND GORDON LIGHTFOOT!!!

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?!

Ok, I’m yelling. Stop. Deep breaths.

Well that was probably one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced. If you had told me at any point in my life that I’d eventually meet Gordon Lightfoot, I would have questioned how that was possible in any reality and wondered if you really knew me at all. Omg, you were right!

Let me give you a bit of back-story, so you know why this was so important to me:

My very first concert was Gordon Lightfoot. I was inside my Mom’s womb at the time and we spent the bulk of the show in the bathroom with her friend, because my Mom was feeling faint. But she says we heard it loud and clear from there – Heh.

Dad, however, was the real fan. All through my life, I’ve heard Gordon Lightfoot. I heard him so much, that about six months ago, I put on his album “Shadows” and sang almost all the lyrics word for word. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I KNEW THE SONGS. That’s how much he played Gordon and that’s how much his music is ingrained in me.

My Dad passed away last year. His death was unexpected and my world was completely turned upside down. We played Gordon Lightfoot songs at his funeral and it was difficult.

Shortly after, I drove to my Dad’s grave and as soon as I got there, the song “Beautiful” played on my iPod (“Well, I must say it means so much to me, to be the one who’s telling you, I’m telling you, that you’re beautiful”) and I burst out crying because that sounded a lot like my Dad. The timing was uncanny.

A couple of months after his death, I drove to Grand Forks to see Gordon. It was a painful trip. I listened to Gordon the whole way and balled my eyes out. I was worried the show was going to be too difficult for me emotionally, but to my surprise, it was actually really nice to see him and hear the songs I knew so well. His voice was alright and it was strange to hear him address an American audience (I kept forgetting I was in The States).

I left that show on cloud nine. I was so happy and proud I went through something really tough and I came out the other side, just fine.

Back to tonight…here’s how I met Gordon Lightfoot:

I heard he was coming to Club Regent Event Centre, I obtained a presale password and bought one ticket for the 5th row, centre.

Then for some reason, I was having a really ballsy day and I thought, “Hey…I’ve been working on this blog for awhile now, and I think the guy who books bands for the Club Regent Event Centre liked my Gordon Lightfoot review. I’m going to email him and ask if he can arrange for me to meet Gordon Lightfoot.”

I typed the email, re-read it, questioned who the hell wrote it – because it was totally out of character for me – and then pressed “send”. Lo and behold, he got back right away and told me if Gordon was doing meet and greets he would try and get me in.

The day of the show my meet and greet pass was waiting for me at will call, and I was standing there with my Dad’s copy of “LIGHTFOOT!” for Gordon to sign. I was over the moon excited.

My buddy Jerry, arrived shortly after and we went in together.

The show was very similar to the one in Grand Forks, last year. The setup and lighting were the same and he sang a lot of the same songs; he even wore the same outfit. His voice wasn’t as good, but I think he was fighting allergies.

He talked about the weather and how they were on their way east. He reminisced about how his first show in Winnipeg was in 1967. He snorted allergy medication, and when that didn’t work, he excused himself and went backstage “to try the next remedy up the line.”

He talked about canoeing down the Churchill River when he got a message from his sister that a top 20 radio station in L.A. wanted to play his single (“The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald”), but it was too long. So he took out the instrumentals, shortening the song from more than six minutes to 4:10 and the song went to #1.

He played many of his hits, “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Sundown” seemed to get the loudest applause. Some of the songs were shortened/abbreviated (he has a large body of work to choose from) and at one point an audience member yelled out “Play ‘Carefree Highway’!” To which Gordon replied, “We already did that. We did a short version, it went so quick, you probably missed it.”

Throughout the show, the man next to me rocked in his seat to the beat of the songs, clapped loudly, and offered random facts and memories at inopportune times…just like my Dad used to.

The audience yelled their love and appreciation for Gordon just before the encore song, “Song For A Winter’s Night”.

The show ended and Jerry and I were whisked back stage with local radio legend, Howard Mandshein and his two friends. We stood around with the photographer and when Gordon walked in the room, I was moved to the front of the line; AHEAD OF HOWARD MANDSHEIN. Me?! I’m first?! I felt like VVVVVVVVVVIP.

I walked up to Gordon and I wanted to hug him or shake his hand, but he looked so frail and I was scared to touch him. I told him about my first concert and how my Dad was a fan and that he was gone, but I had my Dad’s album for him to sign.

He was so polite and he told me about the shows coming up and how they weren’t going back out again until February. I gave him my Dad’s album and then I started fading out of reality because I was STANDING NEXT TO GORDON LIGHTFOOT AND HE WAS TALKING TO ME and frankly, I think it was a bit much for my brain to handle.

When I came to, Gordon was mumbling something and signing my Dad’s album, but he forgot the “t” at the end of his name and who was I to tell a CANADIAN LEGEND he forgot the last letter in his name?

If you check out the pic of the album below, it looks like he’s glancing at his signature, wondering where the heck the “t” is. Hilarious! Anyway, the photographer took our picture, I politely thanked Gordon and told him it was wonderful to meet him and I was ushered out.

Gordon Lightfoot’s signature (minus the ‘t’) on early album cover. /PHOTO: Anne Martin

About an hour later, I received the picture of us in my inbox. I wish I didn’t have to cover my face, because it’s a great shot of me and I’m grinning from ear to ear, but this blog is anonymous and I want to keep it that way.

This is the picture my Dad would have showed everyone in Winnipeg (minus my logo) and he would have beamed with pride while doing it.

I wish he could have lived to see this. I wish he could have been in this photo with me.

I DID IT, DAD…I met Gordon Lightfoo…t.

Good night.

P.S. A million Thank You’s, Kelly!

Gordon Lightfoot and TicketMOMster after the show at Club Regent.

TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMs

Anne Martin

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TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:
http://www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters

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