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Gordon Lightfoot: Not just the sum of his parts (20 photos)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011   by: Donna Hopper

An intimate gathering of 1,000 fans met with one common purpose last night at the Essar Centre - to revel in the genius songwriting of Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot.

It didn't matter that the 73-year-old's frail frame bordered on alarming.

It didn't matter that his whisper-thin voice was barely audible at times.

And it didn't matter that his appearance would suggest that he's aged 10 years since he last performed in the Sault just two years ago.

Because it's true that some people are much, much greater than just the sum of their parts, and his mere presence on stage immediately captured the audience's respect and attention. suspects that Lightfoot could have done nothing but recited a grocery list, and his fans would still be in awe.

He could get away with it because he's Gordon Lightfoot.

Thankfully he didn't, opting to select a number of familiar (and not so familiar) tunes, including If You Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway, Alberta Bound, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, 14 Karat Gold, Baby Step Back, A Painter Passing Through, Don Quixote, Rainy Day People, and's favourite, Sundown.

The distracting 72-year-old man standing next to us for the majority the performance claims to have played with the likes of Stompin' Tom Connors and Hank Snow, but never got the chance to sit in with Lightfoot.

Since he refused to provide us his name, we have no way of verifying this, and we suspect he may have been a tad fanciful with his statement.

He did get one thing right, however.

"This man is the best that ever was and ever will be," he said of Lightfoot.

We're confident this sentiment will ring true long after Gordon Lightfoot has left this world.

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