3 min read



Thirty days ago, the world said goodbye to Gordon Lightfoot, acclaimed Canadian folk singer and one of my earliest musical influences.   Everybody remembers "The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald" or "Rainy Day People" if you were around and listening to the radio in those days, or pretty much any day since.
Stereo FM radio was really building momentum at this time in the late seventies. Because I was quite a fan of Gordon Lightfoot, I was excited to hear about a concert near enough to attend in Ames, Iowa, about six hours from our home in Wood River, Nebraska.  

Concert of a Lifetime

My mom, my sister, Viet Dzung (We called him "Young" then) and I piled into my dad's 1975 Lincoln Towncar and headed for Ames, Iowa.  This car was like driving your living room, plush to the max and literally the biggest sedan I've ever been in. So it was the Cat's Pajamas* for road trips.  Turns out this land yacht was exactly what we needed as we slogged our way through the heavy snow and slippery roads to Ames that night.

Side Story

The following year Lori, whom I was dating at the time and has been my wife since 1982, my dad and I were in an accident in that Lincoln Towncar.  Another newer and lighter car slammed into the rear of our car as we were waiting to make a left turn off Dodge Street in Omaha.  The impact was so hard that Lori, who was sitting in the middle of the front seat, between Dad who was driving, and me, flew up and hit her nose really hard on the rear view mirror.  Once the action had stopped, we got out to look at the damage.  Much to our surprise there was no damage to that tank of a Lincoln. The other car, a Thunderbird, didn't fare so well.  The impact caused his car to buckle at the rocker panels and jammed his driver's side door so hard that he couldn’t open it and had to slide over and exit through the passenger door.  Loris bruised nose was really the only injury. As we looked at Dad's Lincoln in disbelief we couldn't find a trace of damage, even to the back bumper, not a scratch or dent.  I wish I had that car today; it was truly a beast!

A Night to Remember

Ok, back to the concert.  To a young, kinda wild, kinda romantic musicion, this night was truly one that sits in a lovingly prepared page in my memories. When we arrived at the venue I actually thought we might have made a mistake and gone to the wrong place.  I couldn't believe a big star like Gordon Lightfoot would play in such a small venue, a modest theater on the campus of Iowa State University.  I would estimate there were roughly six hundred people in attendance.  The coolest part was that it was a totally acoustic concert, just Gordon, his guitar and one straight backed wooden chair. The second coolest part: we were in the center of the sixth row, literally  about fifty feet from Gordon.  Almost like jamming in your living room or basement, which is what Dzung and I were doing on the daily then.
Gordon played two sets that night and in between the two he left his guitar and straight backed chair in favor of sitting with his feet dangling off the front of the stage.  For the intermission, instead of going somewhere and resting or getting refreshments, he just candidly conversed with the audience for about twenty minutes.  He told a few stories and asked people where they were from, truly as if we'd joined him in his living room.  To this day, that is still one of the best concerts I've ever had the privilege to attend.

A Little Music

To continue along this musical tribute path, of reconnections and recollections, here's a very informal acoustic cover of "Beautiful", written and released in 1972, on Gordon's Don Quixote album.
I played this song at some gigs in the late 70's, before and after Dzung and I started playing together.

While I made this video a couple of weeks ago, specifically for Lori's birthday, I really hope it reminds you that the more you seek and value beauty, the more beautiful you become.
Till next time, have a beautiful day; be good to yourself and one another!

*Cat's Pajamas: Colloquialism, an ideal solution.