Even I don't always agree with my opinion


The Canadian Way

Posted October 28, 2012 by Carter in Lifestyle

– Carter Stack

We Canadians are known internationally for our polite and respectful attitude.
Every country has their idiots and we, of course have our share. As a rule we are a quiet spoken people.

Prove it you say? I could pound you into the ground and make you take back the question but instead, I will illustrate…

We will go back to July 2010 in Orillia Ontario, Canada, The 50th annual Mariposa Folk Festival. 25,000 people attending to see Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Blue Rodeo, Serena Ryder, Ashley MacIsaac, Murray McLauchlan and of course, Gordon Lightfoot. This is about Lightfoot’s performance. Gordon is a local boy and has a warm spot in our hearts. He is a sentimental favourite and a classic. We like to say we don’t listen to him or go to his concerts but we do. He’s our Gordie. And we Canadians are loyal, respectful and polite.

There were several thousand people sitting on the grass in front of the outdoor stage that evening. We had listened to many performers over the course of the day and the sound quality had been excellent. Dusk was setting in as Lightfoot took to the stage. As soon as he started singing it was clear that something had gone wrong. There was no sound. The only thing you could hear was the monitor that feed sound back to the performer. Now, I have never sang on stage and I don’t know if you can notice the difference. I imagine the performer would be able to hear themselves fine even if people more than 100 yards away may not. In any case, the show has to go on, right. Still, most of us couldn’t hear him at all.

Lightfoot sang his first song and as the crowd of thousands yelled, “No sound.” he bowed deeply, graciously, said, “Thank you very much.” and rolled right into his second silent song. Thousands of Canadians sat politely and respectfully as Lightfoot went through the motions.

At the end of song two the crowd appealed in a “No sound, No sound” chant. Again, Lightfoot bowed deeply and started act three of his mime show. The crowd had figured out that, barring a technical miracle, there was going to be no sound.

At this point we all had time to reflect, in silence. Many people were looking around, smiling. I was thinking, “What if this was taking place in the states?”, “or a soccer field in Europe?” I had mental images of the crowd swarming the stage and tearing down the equipment. Police and ambulances being called in and headlines the next day about the Mariposa riot. Looking around again it was a a warm evening with a nice breeze the stars starting to come out over thousands of people who had been already enjoyed a satisfying amount of good music, back bacon and beer. So, we all enjoyed the ambiance and waited, politely and respectfully, while Gordie sang.

After, or during, his set of ten or so songs you would think that people would just get up and walk away. Perhaps disappointed, maybe even angry that the show was a bust. This was our Gordie. When he gave his final bow and stepped back, we all got up for a standing ovation in recognition of the man and his achievements. Even if we couldn’t hear him tonight.

It was the polite and respectful thing to do.

Gordon Lightfoot

Photo credit: Sara Ross: sross@orilliapacket.com July 12, 2010
article: http://to.ly/gm2D


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