Written by Dave Clements
ImageHouston’s weather had turned nice for what seems like the first time in months.  I had my beautiful wife by my side, two tickets, and a photo pass for the Gordon Lightfoot concert at Cullen Performance Hall on the U. of H. campus. What a very nice way to spend Valentine’s Day!

We had the pleasure of meeting the gracious folks at University of Houston Sports and Entertainment, including our lovely host Beckye Levin. Experiencing this Cullen Performance Hall venue for the first time was another unexpected pleasure. With so many enjoyable aspects of the evening to share, it’s hard to know where to begin!

So I’ll just jump right in. The venue! The Cullen Performance Hall holds 1600 and every seat had been sold for the show. What a treat for us and I’m sure all of the other patrons of the arts there on this night. The stage lighting was marvelous and spot on, the sound equaled the lighting in terms of quality, and best I could tell there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.

As you can tell from my photos I was all over the place before putting down my camera and I could hear Gordon’s unique voice perfectly from every vantage point. And not to overstate it, all of the staff we met we very nice, helpful, and courteous.

Frankly, I don’t know what Beckye or the others could have done to make our experience more delightful. Thank you folks! We can’t wait to come back and cover another show for Houston Music Review.

ImageNow – the music! Seventy-five year old Canadian Gordon Lightfoot punctually arrived on stage at 8 pm. Early in the show he decided he needed to set the record straight.  He announced that, although several reporters had recently stated that Gordon Lightfoot was dead, he wanted to assure us he was in fact very much alive and happy to be standing before this sold out crowd in Houston this night!

That wit surfaced several times during his performance. And I can vouch that he was not only standing before us, he was working hard, putting heart and soul into entertaining us. And entertain us he did.

His band was on their A game. The familiar tunes sounded just like I remembered hearing them so many times before on the radio. I can’t share specifics with you about the four guys that accompanied him. They stood behind him and supported him beautifully, doing a stellar job throughout the evening.

And speaking of stellar jobs, Gordon Lightfoot still has that great, melodious voice. It rang clear and true through about 25 songs total during the two sets that were separated by a short intermission.

He didn’t disappoint the fans, playing all of the songs I hoped he would including If You Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway, Rainy Day People, and Sundown. On the other side of the coin, Mr. Lightfoot also sang a tune, a huge hit for him that for many years caused me to change the radio station whenever it came on – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot in this setting, hearing him sing it live, and having it be part of his whole repertoire. I know that may sound a little weird.  He simply had the presence to keep and hold my attention and appreciation from beginning to end.

ImageBefore closing let me share that besides being a very successful recording artist since 1957 he has been a world class songwriter. He has penned many songs that have been recorded by most ‘who’s who’ in contemporary music. I’m talking about the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbara Streisand and many more.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to photograph this musical legend and to have finally had the opportunity to see him live.  I obviously missed a lot by not taking the time to have gone to one of his concerts earlier in my life.  But as I find myself saying a lot these days…better late than never! And again, the same goes for this theater.  Our first time will not be our last.  This was a great venue to enjoy music and we look forward to experiencing it again at future events.

Until next time, remember there is no time to kill.