Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson Surprise at Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Concert

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Geddy Lee with Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy at center, during Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot, Toronto’s Massey Hall, May 23, 2024

Gordon Lightfoot was celebrated on Thursday (May 23, 2024) with a tribute concert in Toronto by many of his Canadian music peers including Burton Cummings, Tom Cochrane, as well as two extraordinary house bands, Blue Rodeo and the members of Lightfoot’s longtime band, The Lightfoot Band (Rick Haynes, Barry Keane, Mike Heffernan and Carter Lancaster). The evening’s biggest surprise, though, was when Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson joined Blue Rodeo to perform Lightfoot’s “The Way I Feel,” with Lee sharing vocals with Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy.

The concert, Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot, honoring his music and legacy, was held at Massey Hall, in collaboration with the Lightfoot Estate, just over a year after his passing. The show was announced on November 17, 2023, on what would have been the music icon’s 85th birthday.

Watch Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson join Blue Rodeo on “The Way I Feel”

The evening also featured performances by Allison Russell, Aysanabee, Caroline Wiles & Bob Doidge, Meredith Moon, Sylvia Tyson, The Good Brothers and William Prince.

As he has done before, Cummings sang Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” in the voice of Lightfoot. Cochrane performed Lightfoot’s 1976 classic, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” “I hope I remember the lyrics,” the Toronto Sun reported Cochrane as saying.

For the evening’s finale, the vastly underrated Blue Rodeo were joined by the entire ensemble including, once again, Lee and Lifeson, to perform Lightfoot’s “Summer Side of Life.”

Proceeds from Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot will support Massey Hall, a charitable not-for-profit, including the Revitalization of the Hall, its music appreciation, education, community outreach and artist development initiatives. The concert was filmed for a future broadcast. Lightfoot performed at the venue more than 170 times.

The official poster for the Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert

Lightfoot was considered by many to be Canada’s greatest singer-songwriter, best known for such hits as “Sundown,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind.” Lightfoot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as Canada’s Walk of Fame. He died on May 1, 2023, at age 84.

He was the subject of a 2020 documentary, Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind.

Lightfoot’s recordings are available here.

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