Toes were tapping in downtown London as Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot brought his latest tour to the Forest City Saturday evening. Fans young and old spilled into Budweiser Gardens eager to hear the music icon perform their favourite tunes they know so well, including classics Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Carefree Highway, If You Could Read My Mind and Sundown.
Having celebrated his 80th birthday only days ago, Lightfoot shared with the crowd that this tour marks his 58th year of performing, and although age may be causing him to slow down, and perhaps sing a little softer than he once did, it’s clear performing is still his passion. And his fans were eager to make him feel welcome, even singing him Happy Birthday as he paused between songs.
Accompanying the performer were four talented musicians: Rick Haynes on bass, Barry Keane on drums, Mike Heffernan on keyboards and Carter Lancaster on lead guitar. All seemed happy to keep pace with Lightfoot as he told tales of performing, and assured the crowd that ‘stories of (his) death were greatly exaggerated’.
At a time where ‘modern’ music is often auto-tuned, and live performances are accompanied by backing tracks, Lightfoot stayed true to what his fans were looking for – pure, authentic Canadian folk music. He may not sound exactly the way he did in his prime, but no one minded too much on this evening, just happy to have one more chance to see their hero live on stage.
Thank you to Budweiser Gardens for the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane through the songs of my childhood. Londoners are fortunate to have a first-class venue like Bud Gardens bringing so much talent into our core.