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Magic Lightfoot At Meaford Hall

by Katharine Peat & Susan Ferrier, The Meaford Independent November 2, 2023


Looking for an evening of nostalgia and romanticism? The Classic Lightfoot Live show at Meaford Hall on Saturday, October 21, exceeded expectations!

We were treated to a journey int the magic lyrics and sound of our recently departed Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot with lead singer John Stinson and his fellow musicians.


Ron Jones stepped on stage, and quietly and eloquently expressed the band’s profound grief on the loss of their inspiration, Gordon Lightfoot, as a slide show of the painted guitars art project in Orillia which honoured his legacy and photos of Gordon and the band was projected.


John Stinson and the band launched into Did She Mention My Name(1968) followed by Carefree Highway(`1974). Don Quixote(1972) was followed by Home From The Forest(1967) - a song that recounts the ravages of Vietnam War at the time and continued with Second Cup Of Coffee(1972), Black Day In July(1968) and If You Could Read My Mind (1970), all receiving huge applause and foot tapping.


Stinson’s style and voice has stood the test of time; his voice resembles Gord’s in timbre and tone and the band is a true tribute band. His knowledge of the Lightfoot catalogue is extensive, and the concert was peppered with anecdotes and warm humour.


More thoughtful moments were Lightfoot’s war song from 1967/68 Home From The Forest as well as the songs he wrote for his children, The Pony Man and If Children Had Wings.


Eric Kidd, lead guitar and dobro, kept the driving pace. Steve Eyers, nephew of Gordon Lightfoot, on bass guitar, is also known for the band Even Steven. Liz Anderson was stellar on all instruments ebony and ivory. The drums and chimes of Bruce Campbell kept the rhythm of a band fully in sync. All extremely seasoned local artists.


Stinson performed Christian Island  (1972) as a special request and followed up with a shout out with Beautiful also from 1972. All in all 13 songs before a brief intermission(much needed I’m sure for the band). Applause began as soon as the first notes of Canadian Railroad Trilogy were sung.


The second set continued with a quiet start with Restless(1993). Rainy Day People (1975) was the final song that Gordon performed at a concert in Winnipeg and John noted that it has a special meaning for everyone. Rounding out the second set was Early Morning Rain (1966), Alberta Bound (1972), Sundown and of course The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald (1976)


Stinson changed the lyrics to the church bell chimed “now it rings thirty times” since the Mariners Church in Detroit rang their bell thirty times in memory of Gordon Lightfoot. Clapping resounded.


A standing ovation shook the hall and an entertaining evening closed  with two encores, including Cotton Jenny (1971) and I’m Not Sayin’(1966)


It was the first time Classic Lightfoot Live performed at Meaford Hall and it shop that they come back very soon.

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Vocals & Guitar

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Bass Guitar

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Lead Guitar

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Gordon Lightfoot in the audience!

In 2016 we were honoured to have the legend himself in the audience...

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 John Swartz Review - The Orillia Packet and Times Newspaper

There was a surreal moment at Lake Country Grill Sunday afternoon.

John Stinson is singing a tune. Of course, it’s Lightfoot Days, so it’s something from the Lightfoot compendium of music. Eric Kidd is playing lead guitar. His affinity for Gord’s music is natural; his guitar teacher was Red Shea. Steve Eyers is playing bass. His ability to get inside a tune Gord wrote comes from growing up with it; he’s Gord’s nephew. Stinson played previous Lightfoot Days. His voice is too much like Gord’s in tone. Add an ability to phrase like Gord and other vocal idiosyncrasies and he sounds just like the voice on all of the records. He doesn’t appear to be trying too hard to be a Memorex machine; it’s more natural. With your eyes closed, you’d think you were in the room with Gord.

Then you open your eyes and sitting right across from you is Gord.

He’d come to hear his nephew’s band at what amounts to a bit of a family reunion with more than a dozen other relatives on hand. Between conversation with a niece or other family member, he pays attention to Stinson. How does an observer process that? Seeing the icon watching a darned good band performing the icon’s tunes so  well? Heck, how does the singer process that? Stinson said before he stepped up to the mic, he was a bit nervous, on top of not feeling 100% chipper. He’d sung every day of the festival. But he pulled it off. When the set was done, Gord shook his hand and congratulated him.

(from Orillia Packet and Times, Nov 16, 2016)

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