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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 30, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 48
Happy trails - Glen Campbell says farewell to Seattle with admirable performance
Arts & Entertainment
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Happy trails - Glen Campbell says farewell to Seattle with admirable performance

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

GLEN CAMPBELL
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
November 27


Glen Campbell's music was the music of my papa. And if you thumb through your own father's (or grandfather's) vinyl, you might well come across a vintage recording from this man, who helped push country music into the mainstream. At the start of his career, he was a session musician for Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Nancy Sinatra, the Monkees, Nat King Cole, and Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.

Unfortunately, the legend's career is now coming to a close. Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, his recent appearance at the Paramount Theatre marked his virtually certain exit from live touring.

Normally, I would complain about a concert that was barely an hour long, but these were special circumstances, and in that hour Campbell was as brilliant and charming as can be. He opened with 'Gentle On My Mind,' after the audience greeted him with a standing ovation. Wearing a dusty blue suit with sparkling rhinestones and a black shirt underneath, he looked the part of a tried and true cowboy.

FAMILY SUPPORT
'I'm happy to be here,' he said appreciatively, and then went back to work on a fantastic rendition of 'Galveston' that featured a knockout guitar solo. Supported by a full band, which included his daughter and two sons, there were times Campbell had to look closely at the teleprompters placed at the edge of the stage to remember the lyrics. Being the polite gentleman he is, he apologized sincerely to the audience for having to do so.

'I'm happy to be here,' he repeated into the microphone. 'I'm happy to be anywhere,' he continued, and the crowd clapped loudly in response. He passionately sang a cover of the Don Gibson classic 'I Can't Stop Loving You,' and then attempted to tell a story about working alongside John Wayne, but couldn't quite recall the experience.

Campbell's vocals were stellar on 'Lovesick Blues' - better than several top country artists at the moment. He and his daughter collaborated on a great instrumental piece before wowing us with 'It's Your Amazing Grace' and a gorgeous version of Jimmy Webb's 'The Moon's a Harsh Mistress.' Even more amazing was 'Wichita Lineman,' also a Webb number, which drew another standing ovation.

A FINAL ENCORE
He concluded the main set with his signature tune, 'Rhinestone Cowboy,' and got assistance from the audience on the chorus. Excusing himself briefly, he returned to play 'Southern Nights,' which got some folks out of their seats to dance. The show came to a finish with 'A Better Place,' the leadoff song from his latest album, Ghost on the Canvas. Surprisingly, he omitted the title track from his set.

For fans of Glen Campbell, the Paramount concert was bittersweet. It had been years, maybe decades, since he set foot in Seattle, and sadly, he's not likely ever coming back. But despite his condition (and yes, it was heartbreaking to witness him introducing his band members twice), Campbell is still an incredible musician - a kickass guitar picker who's had one hell of a career. Hats off to you, sir!

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