Journeyman singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot brought his stylings to Northfield’s Hard Rock Rocksino this past Saturday night, playing to a full house. Perhaps best known for the haunting ditty about the loss of the Great Lakes freighter the Edmund Fitzgerald during a gale in November of 1975, Lightfoot performed close to twenty songs for the crowd.
His appearance chiseled and gaunt, the 78-year old Canadian singer’s voice was a little thinner than we may remember, but the wispiness brought a different sound, especially during “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The timbre of his vocals became more pronounced as he continued throughout the evening; by the time he got to the tail end of his ninety-minute set there was an almost-haunting quality to the sound.
He, of course, offered all the tunes that he’s made famous over the decades. “Rainy Day People” was an early number and, upon hearing the first few bars of the tune, the crowd ate it up. Lightfoot sang “If You Could Read My Mind” towards the end of the gig; it was a song the audience had been anticipating and, even though his voice was thinner than it was during his halcyon days, was confident and hit all the, err, right notes.
“Sundown” was an audience favorite performed early in the set. I suppose he let the songs speak for him as he had little interaction with the crowd. My only real diss of the evening was that the sound was uneven and sometimes difficult to hear what he was saying while seated in the middle of the auditorium.
Seeing these stalwart entertainers has been a treat; the Rocksino knows what their patrons want. Bringing in artists like Foreigner (a sold-out show even though not one original band member attended the recent concert at the Rocksino) and Lightfoot prove that there’s definitely a market for old time rock and roll.