Friday, December 04, 2009

Another celebrity encounter

It was a cold, clear night at Mammoth Mountain. Several days prior, we'd seen hand bills posted around town that Gordon Lightfoot , the Canadian folk singer was going to perform. We snapped up 8 or 9 tickets and were really excited to be able see him in such an unlikely place. The venue was a large pizzeria that they'd cleared out of tables and arranged several hundred chairs to accommodate as large a crowd as possible. We arrived about 1/2 hour before concert time to be polite and also to secure our seats. The room quickly filled up, concert time came and went and although there was plenty of action on-stage - tuning, arranging and testing speakers, tuning the piano endlessly, concert time didn't seem close. After about an hour, Eilleen and I went outside for a breath of air and were standing there admiring the night sky when a man I'd seen moving things around on stage comes out for a cigarette. We chat about snow conditions, skiing etc and I ask him, "What's with all the tuning and re-tuning and on and on when the audience has been sitting waiting around for so long". He replies, "Lightfoot is kind of an asshole about that stuff. He's a perfectionist and won't get started until everythings the way he likes it." Hmmm. I said...the audience will probably walk out pretty soon if he doesn't get his act together". He stomps out his cigarette and says, "See you later". I walk back in and about 15 minutes later, guess who takes the microphone in hand to start his show, but the guy from the parking lot. The picture posted of Lightfoot looked nothing like the man on stage.

Gordon gave a great performance and we enjoyed it immensely though I felt really embarrassed about the complaining I'd done. The next morning, we're having breakfast in a coffee shop and he walks in, sees me and comes straight over for a laugh. He thought it was pretty funny and admitted to doing that same scene more than once.

I just googled Gordon and found out that we share the same Nov. 17th birthday. He's four years older than me and still alive!!


  1. You never told us about this fantastic "brush with fame".
    Let's have our next meeting all about brushes with fame. I bet we've all had a lot that we've forgotten. Although maybe they were not worth remembering. Wait, yes they are! They all qualify.

  2. Gordon's had a rough go of it over the years with his health. I remember seeing him in Berkeley back in the early '70s. The show was wonderful, but when he broke for intermission it seemed like he was never coming back. The friend I was with, who had gotten us the tickets for free, later told me that her friend was backstage waiting to interview him, and Lightfoot was having to "fortify" himself to even come back on for the second part of the show. I am glad he is till out there performing.