Songwriter and folk music legend, Gordon Lightfoot, graced the stage Friday evening for a nearly sold-out performance at Charles Bailey Theatre.
Opening the show with the 1975 release, “Now and Then,” the 75-year-old played through two hours of classic hits that any fan could sing along with, and many fans did.
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” singer also took a few moments to joke around with concert-goers between songs.
“As you can see, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he said, while laughing along with the audience.
The performance was part of his 2014 Canada-wide tour, and after releasing music and performing for nearly 60 years, Lightfoot is a seasoned performer and it showed.
Playing with Lightfoot were some familiar faces. Rick Haynes, on the bass, has accompanied the folk singer since 1969, while drummer Barry Keane joined the band for studio sessions back in 1972. Keyboardist Michael Heffernan has spent over 30 years on stage with Lightfoot and lead guitarist, Carter Lancaster, the newest addition to the ensemble, joined only recently to replace quintet regular, Terry Clements, who passed away in 2011.
The show happened to fall on Halloween night and during an intermission, Lightfoot had a costume change from a blood red velvet blazer with white patent leather shoes to a black silk vest, paying homage to the holiday and apologizing for any Halloween plans that may have been cancelled or changed for the show.
After the small talk, Lightfoot launched into some of his biggest hits, including “Beautiful,” “Much to My Surprise,” “Carefree Highway,” “Restless,” “Sundown,” and plenty more, with many songs receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
When Lightfoot and his band played the opening chords for “If You Could Read My Mind,” one of the singer-songwriter’s biggest hits, the whole audience broke into applause, and some got out of their seats. There was a din of Lightfoot fans singing along with one of his most recognizable songs.
To close-out the evening of classic tunes, Lightfoot played a seven-minute song that he holds near to his heart, “The Canadian Railroad Trilogy.”
“I wrote this one in 1967 for Canada’s birthday,” he said just before the band launched into the history-inspired ballad, chronicling the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The house lights stayed low after the show was over, with the audience all on their feet, signalling an encore, and Lightfoot delivered.
Lightfoot fans took their seats, once again, while he and his band played a perfect rendition of “Song for a Winter’s Night” to round out the 26-song set list.