Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Wednesday night, Gordon Lightfoot strode out onto the stage of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for the first of two concerts. His cool, blue eyes surveyed the near-capacity crowd. His square jaw jutted out as he confronted the microphone. Standing there, his tall, lean frame clad in denim jeans and shirt that were faded to perfection, he looked as if he had just walked out of a Hungry Jack biscuit commercial.
Regrettably, Lightfoot's music is similar to the biscuits in the ad. His melodies are light and fluffy. So much so that they lack any sense of emotional and musical commitment. The tempos of the songs are all much the same - fat and doughy with little dramatic punch or tension.
The playing of his four-piece back-up group was perfectly suited to the songs. The musicians provided just the right notes and beat, nothing more, nothing less. The perfunctory style was like pure, white flour - it was a necessary ingredient but added little taste or spice.
Near the end of the show. Lightfoot excused himself and blew his nose on stage. The spontaneity and naturalness of the gesture was a refreshing change from the bland, homogenized music that he presented.