Gordon Lightfoot didn’t work up a sweat at the two-thirds full Greek on Friday night, and he didn’t break any strings or throw any moves.
But he commanded the crowd with that unmistakable voice, those timeless lyrics of forests and railroads and unfathomable lakes, that chiming 12-string guitar.
The 54-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter is on the road promoting a new Warner Bros. album — his 19th — and he pulled much of the two-hour set from it.
But he didn’t neglect crowd favorites like “If You Could Read My Mind, “”Beautiful” or “Early Morning Rain.” There’s some nice stuff on the new disc–“Waiting for You” stood out in the set–but nothing to match the power of “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,””Don Quixote” or “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
If only Lightfoot realized that people who know the words to “Sundown” don’t just want to hear the song; they want to hear the songwriter. The crowd salivated whenever Lightfoot offered the slightest bit of chat.
The performance — simply staged, starkly lit — cried out for human contact. Lightfoot should go to a few Peter Himmelman shows and take notes.
The band, which has traveled with the weathered balladeer since the late ’70s , was as laid back as a bunch of cowhands Sunday. Mike Heffernan’s keys did a good job of mimicking a prairie fiddle, and Barry Keane gave solid backbeat. But they didn’t move much, either.
An audience that ranged in age from preteens (who were delighted) to grandparents offered standing ovations for a gentle, undemanding evening.