Gordon Lightfoot is a class act, and even at 82 he’s entering the lion’s den at Toronto’s Massey Hall, where he plans to launch his new tour on Wednesday evening.
The Hall is celebrating its 82nd birthday – 72 years since the first show there on 14 October 1925.
Born Gordon Crovitz in London, Ontario in 1940, Lightfoot has been one of Canada’s most successful and beloved musicians for six decades, but never had the luxury of appearing there in his mid-50s.
Reopening the venue
While still recording, Lightfoot turned to video conferencing for his first international show, after having opened for legend Frank Sinatra. In response, Sinatra invited Lightfoot onto his tour.
Massey Hall reopened in 1975, after four years of renovations and changes, including the installation of sound systems that were once used by gangsters.
While most of Lightfoot’s music is built on acoustic guitars, the tuneful songs on his latest record, late last year’s 48 Tonic, are heavier – as often happens with the veteran performer, who has recorded and toured with Simon & Garfunkel and the Beatles.
The novel compositions, unlike the folkier music of previous records, were written with drummer Paul Haynes in mind.
Massey Hall is the flagship venue for the Acoustic Music Foundation, which funds a program of woodcarving workshops for people of all ages and abilities. Over the years, the foundation has given out 1,014 perosiotestaments – $41,999 is the total reward for making 48 small pieces.
“Gordon Lightfoot tells stories on stage, but his works are mostly about a simple need to be cared for, and to be happy, in his own voice”, said Linn McIntosh, the managing director of the Acoustic Music Foundation.
“Massey Hall is a cultural jewel that performs a vital role in the cultural landscape of Toronto and our country. We’re looking forward to welcoming Gordon Lightfoot back to the venue where he opened his career with Sinatra,” she said.