If you could read my mind … Like it would make any difference

Last night I saw a TV spot advertising an upcoming Gordon Lightfoot concert at our local Julie Rogers Theater. Two thought struck me when I viewed the commercial.

First, Gordie is beginning to show his age. Aren’t we all? I guess you see someone in a picture on a record album and it just sticks with you. The man is 73 years old though and didn’t, from the brief shot on the tube, seem nearly as weathered as Willie Nelson. Of course, Willie has been around all that smoke and out in the sun playing golf. It’ll weather a man, for sure.

Second, I think about the venue in which Lightfoot will play being similar to the one in which I saw him perform back in 1978 at San Diego Civic Theater. The Julie Rogers, once known as the Beaumont Municpal Auditorium, has total seating of about 1,600. The San Diego venue almost 3,000. Both venues may have been different in capacity 33 years ago. I only visited the old municipal auditorium once and that was in high school for Jerry LaCroix and White Trash, after Edgar Winter had departed the band. Winter and his brother Johnny, are from Beaumont by the way. LaCroix and some of the other band members are also natives of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Nevertheless, I think I stood up during the whole concert because they played music that would get you moving even if you were dead. The point is both facilities — in Beaumont and San Diego — are small enough for one to appreciate a mellow performer like Lightfoot. I can only imagine Lightfoot coming on for the Rolling Stones during the concert I saw at the Louisiana Superdome only a month or so after I saw Lightfoot in California. It just wouldn’t work.

I can’t remember how much I paid to see Gordie in 1978. I went with one or two shipmates and the fact that we were in the Navy back then, with me as an E-5 making about $600 a month, I can’t imagine the admission was too pricey. That is actually part of the reason I went to as many concerts as I did back in the 1970s. I was a real freak for music and, some would argue, a real freak. And rock concerts were abundant: The Doobie Brothers, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac (three times in two countries), ZZ Top, the Stones, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Bob Seger, Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, just to name a dozen.

Looking at Ticketmaster, about the cheapest seat I could find for the Lightfoot concert in January was about $50 on Ticketmaster for a balcony seat. That isn’t Himalayas-style nosebleed as when I saw the Stones, Doobies and David Lee Roth-era Van Halen at what is now the (oh goodness) Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Of course, $50 today has the same buying power as did $14.50 in 1978, according to my favorite little economic tool, the Inflation Calculator, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I would love to hear Gordie play “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” or, probably my favorite GL song, “High and Dry,” even though he might not even play the latter anymore on stage as it never was a well-known song for him. The truth is $50 is a little steep for a Tuesday night’s entertainment. I probably wouldn’t find being seated and unseated with 1,600 folks too difficult these days, but cavorting with 50,000 or 60,000 people as I did  at the Superdome to watch the Stones just would be something I can no longer hack.

Both Gordie and I are getting old(er), no doubt about it.