Glen Campbell has been getting them for over forty years, but Glen Campbell doesn’t take a standing ovation for granted. “I’m getting embarrassed now,” the Country Music Hall of Famer said with a grin after walking on stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Tuesday night, as a packed house of friends and fans quickly rose to their feet. Of course, Campbell didn’t stay bashful for long. Backed by a band that included three of his children, he launched into “Gentle On My Mind,” which kicked off a sprightly set of his biggest hits, well-known covers and brand-new gems. He pulled the microphone out of the stand and walked along the front of the stage, giving points and waves to familiar faces in the crowd, which included Tanya Tucker, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Ralph Emery, Ricky Skaggs, Larry Gatlin, Stephen Curtis Chapman and Mac McAnally, all there to witness what may have been Campbell’s final performance in Nashville.
Campbell returned to Music City in the midst of his “Goodbye Tour,” which he embarked on last year after announcing in June that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Tuesday night’s show – the second of two Ryman dates on the tour – was rescheduled from Dec. 5, when Campbell was forced to cancel due to laryngitis.
Little appeared to be impeding his performance Tuesday night. Teleprompters set up at the edge of the stage were glanced at for lyrical cues – almost a necessity for anyone tackling the songs of wordy popsmith Jimmy Webb – but Campbell remained in fine voice and proved to still be a staggeringly sharp and fluid guitarist, wowing the crowd early on with an explosive solo on “Gentle” and muscular melodic licks on his classic “Galveston.”
The hits flew by at a similarly breezy pace throughout the show: “Galveston” giving way to other Webb-penned classics “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Where’s the Playground, Susie?” Campbell also seemed happy to hold court in the Ryman one last time, cracking jokes between lines in songs, breaking out an Elvis impersonation and setting up certain tunes with stories of old friends including John Wayne and Ray Charles. “I didn’t get to talk much when I was a kid,” he explained. “It was ‘Shut up, Glen.’ I was the seventh son of eight boys and four girls. I couldn’t say nothing…maybe that’s why I started humming and singing.”
His own kids – Ashley, Cal and Shannon Campbell – didn’t have to keep quiet, opening the evening with their group, Instant People, and sharing some endearing moments as their father’s accompanists, whether it was egging him on in a foot stomping rendition of dueling banjos or echoing his guitar solo on “Wichita Lineman.”
They let Campbell take a quick break about two-thirds through the set, taking on “Hey Little One” from his ByThe Time I Get To Phoenix album. When Campbell returned, he and the band played a few songs from his 2011 farewell album Ghost On the Canvas – modern tunes with nods to the smooth, sophisticated sounds of his early years – in a moving, full-circle moment.
The final stretch of Campbell’s farewell to Nashville was a fitting mix of melancholy and lighthearted hits: jutting between songs like “Lineman” (no opening lyric earned a bigger roar from the audience than its unmistakable “I am a lineman for the county…”) and those like the funky, fancy-free “Southern Nights” and trademark “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
An encore in the tightly scripted show wasn’t a sure thing, but Campbell returned to the room’s delight for “In My Arms” – another affirming cut from Canvas – before taking bows with his band and giving his crowd a last – and clearly loving – wave goodbye.
Article sent in by Marty Martell email@example.com
(Nashville, TN) I was fortunate to be able to attend Glen Campbell’s concert at the Ryman this past Tuesday night. I sat down in that old hard church pew at the Mother Church of Country Music, knowing in my heart and mind that what I was about to see and hear was one of the great legends in the music industry. I was not disappointed with the outcome of the show, from the beginning with “Instant People” opening, I could not sit still waiting for Glen to come on stage. Glen’s children have been taught well by their Father, because they are great musicians, and their harmony is as the old adage always says, family harmony is the greatest harmony that any group can have, and these young people gave a great account of what they were taught from their Dad.
From Glen’s opening entrance on stage to a standing ovation, to his first guitar lick, and his first vocals, I was immersed in what I considered one of the great entertainers of our time, not just country, but all of his music. His reverence for being at the Ryman made the evening even more important then what it already was. When I left the building, I realized that not once did I realize this man has a serious health issue, because he was truly magnificent. I heard someone say, he missed a couple guitar rides, and I thought to myself, it takes an idiot to say something like that, when we were witnessing the last time we might be privileged to see this man giving a live performance and making it one of best shows that I have been able to see in my many years in this business, and I have seen them all…..
Glen was on top of his show with great vocals, a set list of super hit standard songs, his camaraderie with his children in the band, his acknowledgment of the building he was performing in, his friends in attendance, and the passion he gave of this special performance for all of us. As you read Dave Paulson’s article, you will see that there were many artists and music industry people in attendance. I feel that he gave them everything they came to see and hear, and much more. Through his set which lasted over an hour, he was given several standing ovation. He was funny, serious, sad, happy, and full of energy, which has a lot to do with being on the stage of the Ryman. From one guitar to another, no waste of time, all was in order on the stage set for Glen Campbell, and when he had completed his show, you could feel the vibes inside of the Ole Church, as she spread her smile throughout the building. We had just witnessed an awesome performance by a great entertainer, a stylist that will live on forever, and the music of a man that gave a passionate performance for his friends and fans one last time. And who knows if this was Glen’s last performance in Nashville, or for that matter, anywhere. I hope that after you read my comments and Dave Paulson’s article you will keep Glen in your thoughts and prayers.
I have always loved his music, sang his music, and last night I once again sat in awe listening to his music. I did not hear any bad chords or any bad vocals. I feel that I was very lucky to attend one of the milestones in the music industry. Glen Campbell was awesome at the Ryman on January 3, 2012 to a sold out audience.
Article sent in by Marty Martell firstname.lastname@example.org