I admit that I wanted to hear "If You Could Read My Mind" actually sung by the legendary songwriter and singer Gordon Lightfoot in person last Thurday night at the Holland Center in Omaha. Considering that the song was released in 1970, forty-four years ago, the seventy-five year old man did not quite sound like he did years ago, but he can still hold the tune and has an amazing voice for his age.
Also amazing is that this man has probably sung this song at every concert in his long touring and recording history. After listening again to the song from a 1974 recording on You Tube, I realized that it was a little unrealistic to expect the performer's same love of the song with his unique voice quality. What made the song to special way back then was the intensity through dynamic changes mixed with words and a tune that everyone could feel a connection.
Yes, this was the same person singing but now the voice is a little less melodic and edgier. He still has a wonderful tenor voice but the years have not always been kind to him.
The concert began with many of Lightfoot's country songs. Being that he has composed music for years and for many performers, these were not songs that were well-known, but they were enjoyable. At times his singing seemed a little weak but as the night progressed and the bestsellers were performed, his strength and connection with the audience grew. All the songs were well-balanced with the focus on the words and tune of selection rather than volume.
Much of the night was listening to the country and folk music of Gordon Lightfoot who actually started in the music business in the early 1960s. During the night filled with many of his ballads, folk music, and country songs were also the favorite "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", "Sundown", The band playing along maintained the perfect balance while always centering on the singer. Barry Keane on percussion, Rich Haynes playing bass guitar, and Mike Hefferman playing the keyboards have been a part of the creation of Gordon Lightfoot's music since the 1970s. Carter Lancaster on the lead guitar is the newest member who joined this group in 2009.
It has been five years since Gordon Lightfoot last visited Omaha. For a seventy-five year old, he created a magical experience for the audience of memories and songs from years ago.