One of my favorite musicians is Gordon Lightfoot. Last Friday evening Sprite and I attended his concert at the Rose, a dinner theater in Pasadena. I typically object to being required to arrive by 7:00 pm for a 9:00 pm concert, but I’m happy to report that both dinner and the show were excellent. We were seated about twenty feet from the stage. I have found over the years that my enjoyment of a performance often depends on how close I am to the stage. After all, none of us would enjoy a conversation if we were seated two hundred feet apart.
Gordon and his band appeared on schedule, and I was delighted that he performed well even though he is a year older than I am. When I was thirty I started paying attention to the age at which writers were first published. I was happy to find that most were older than me. At age sixty I stopped that foolish comparison. My first book, People Tools, was published when I was seventy-four.
One benefit of aging is that you don’t care quite so much about what other people think of you. Gordon, who suffers from allergies, used nasal spray, followed by Kleenex, several times during his performance.
He shared stories from his life. Early in his career, he was hired to appear on a Square Dance show that was televised live.
“I never could learn the difference between an ‘Allemande Left’ and a ‘Dos-e-do.’ And it was a live show.” He did not last long on that job.
Gordon also shared that Elvis Presley sang one of his songs, “Early Morning Rain,” at a concert in New York. Gordon and his friends crossed the border from Canada to attend the concert. They were invited to meet Elvis, but after the show it was difficult for them to make headway through the tide of people exiting. When Gordon and his group finally arrived backstage at Elvis’s dressing room they were told the now proverbial, “Elvis has left the building.”
“I never did meet Mr. Presley,” Gordon said, a bit wistfully.
I was reminded of a charity performance I attended years ago hosted by Paul McCartney. Major Hollywood stars, including Tom Hanks, seemed thrilled to be performing with Paul. We all have our heroes.
Our Friday evening at the Rose included many of my Gordon Lightfoot favorites, including “Rainy Day People,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” and “Sundown,” which was his only song to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre pop chart. The audience responded to many songs with a standing ovation.
Gordon and I and perhaps you, either now or in the future, share a fate in which our lives move from having only a few accomplishments and a dollar in our hand to a great deal more success and, hopefully, money. But when we do it’s no longer so early in our lives.
Welcome to the fulfillment of Late Morning Rain.
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