Concert Review: Glen Campbell, August 31, CNE Bandshell

Toronto – Glen Campbell is a bona fide music legend.  When I get a chance to see one of those (whose music I actually like), I take it.  Combine that with the fact that this would be the 75 year old Campbell’s last tour ever due to a recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis and this show was pretty much a must-see for me.  Many others must have had the same thought, as the area surrounding the Bandshell was fuller than I ever recall seeing it before. 

Starting his set off strong with the 1-2-3 punch of “Gentle On My Mind,” “Galveston,” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” he had the crowd’s attention from the get go. He also had me wondering what else there was left to play, as those are most of the songs I know by him.  The answer? A lot more.  He played a good mix of tunes, practically all of them hits either for him or someone else, including his own “Southern Nights” and “Wichita Lineman” as well as The Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me,” Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” and even “Dueling Banjos,” the latter actually a banjo/guitar duel between Campbell and his banjo playing daughter and one of many opportunities which he took to show off his impressive guitar picking skills.  One thing is for certain – this guy can still play.  I suppose you get pretty good after playing with Phil Spector, The Beach Boys and Elvis, not to mention years of solo work and hosting your own TV variety show back in the day.

There’s something impressive and endearing about watching an old school performer with years of experience under his belt.  This show definitely had a “showbiz” vibe about it, not in the sense that it was schticky or smarmy in any way, but just based on the fact that he comes across as an old pro, even with the occasional flub.  Near the end of his set, he played “Rhinestone Cowboy,” probably his best known hit.  Normally, one would expect that to be the end, but he went on the play a few more songs, including a couple from his latest (and presumably final) album Ghost on the Canvas.

I went into this show with an understanding of Campbell’s status and an appreciation of some of his biggest hits, but I really didn’t expect this show to be as good as it was.  This was definitely a nice way for him to go out on a high note and certainly seemed to be appreciated by the fans. 

And just because, here’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” being covered by Radiohead:

Radiohead – Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell Cover) by fernandopso

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

2 Responses to Concert Review: Glen Campbell, August 31, CNE Bandshell

  1. Ted

    Thanks so much for this review. I really wanted to make this show but live in Kitchener and no one I know wanted to drive in with me. I bought Glen’s last album and think it’s great. I’m sad about his diagnosis, but at 75 he is “going out with a bang!” and seems very happy.

  2. Garth Turner

    Great review.

    Personal highlight:

    “This show definitely had a ‘showbiz’ vibe about it, not in the sense that it was schticky or smarmy in any way…”

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