Legendary Lightfoot was a letdown

Musician Gordon Lightfoot performs Monday evening at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Alley Stroh

Musician Gordon Lightfoot performs Monday evening at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Amanda Hefner, Staff Writer

Last Monday night, the Chester Fritz Auditorium was transformed from a quiet theater settling into a rousing concert venue full of live music and feelings of nostalgia as Gordon Lightfoot took the stage for a dramatic performance.

Lightfoot’s performance was part of a string of international tour dates stretching across the U.S. and Canada.

Nearly every seat in the Chester Fritz was filled, as many people from the greater Grand Forks area came to witness the singer’s longevity.

It is no secret that Lightfoot is a musical icon. With over 250 songs in his artist repertoire, it is no wonder why he has been a long time inspiration to many other great artists including Bob Dylan and Elvis.

Even though the Canadian folk legend is nearing 80 years old, Lightfoot’s performance Monday evening proved he still has some fuel left in the tank and hasn’t given up yet.

When Lightfoot, 77, stepped out on the stage to join his four-piece band, there were cheers from the audience, who most likely remember him at his peak. An era when his pleasing baritone voice could carry his folk-style songs with his poetic, often haunting lyrics.

However, the musician that took the stage on Monday night looked far removed from the powerhouse legend he once was.

Looking gaunt and frail, playing simple guitar, Lightfoot murmured his songs in a soft, crumbling voice that barely rose above the rest of the band.

Through no fault of his own, Lightfoot’s age really showed during his performance.

Granted, over the years, the singer has been through many hardships, ongoing health issues and has even had close brushes with death.

Unfortunately, during the performance, it was very apparent how these circumstances took their toll on the singer and his once velvety, folk voice.

Yet, despite sounding meager, Lightfoot and the band powered through and played a wide range of songs, including many popular hits such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, “Carefree Highway”, “Sweet Guinevere,” “Never Too Close,” “14 Carat Gold” and “Rather Press On.”

Although Lightfoot’s performance failed to bring the energy and power of the past, he still delivered a determined and untiring stage presence as he filled the room with feelings of reminiscence.

It can be said that one of the most difficult problems for performers who are passionate about performing is knowing when to hang up the guitar and retire.

But after Monday night’s performance, it is apparent that as long as loyal fans continue to support him and send him their deep love, Lightfoot will undoubtedly continue to take the stage until he can no longer stand.

Amanda Hefner is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]