Monday, November 5, 2012

Glen Campbell says 'goodbye' in Sarasota: review, setlist

Glen Campbell taking a bow with his band at theVan Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Nov. 4, 2012

Glen Campbell brought his nearly completed "Goodbye Tour" to Sarasota on Sunday and said farewell with a moving performance in front of a packed house of adoring fans. The country great, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year, strolled across the Van Wezel stage in a rhinestone-encrusted shirt; smiling, thanking the audience and singing his best known songs.  

He also elated the crowd with a couple more obscure numbers written by his friend and most successful collaborator. Jimmy Webb's "Galveston," "By the Times I Get to Phoenix," "Where's the Playground, Susie?" "Didn't We," "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" and Wichita Lineman" were all included with Campbell singing the bitter ballad "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" while only joined on stage by his keyboardist. It was perhaps the most impressive performance during an evening that elicited about six standing ovations.

On the rest of the songs, Campbell was backed by a commendable sextet featuring three of his children. Ashley Campbell, an exceptional banjoist, "dueled" with Dad. Still a superb guitarist at age 76, Father and Daughter engaged in some fierce, crowd-pleasing picking during a couple instrumental favorites about halfway through the evening.

Ashley, age 25,  was also the one who could be seen lovingly giving her dad a thumbs-up after a performance or helping him remember what key the next song would be in, or just grinning at him when he needed support. Campbell dropped a few lines and seemed a tad confused at times but overall he appeared happy and grateful to be on stage with his family, having a good time with a crowd that appeared equally delighted and appreciative.

I found it to be a special, emotional evening filled with joy and, yes, pathos. But Campbell, with help from his family, left the stage with dignity, having turned in what could only be called a triumph performance. Having covered countless concerts during the past decade-plus, it's the rare a show I feel truly thankful to have witnessed. 


1. Gentle on My Mind
2. Galveston
3. By the Times I Get to Phoenix
4. Try a Little Kindness
5. Where's the Playground, Susie?
6. Didn't We
7. I Can't Stop Loving You
8. True Grit
9. Lovesick Blues
10. Dueling Banjos (w/Ashley Campbell)
11. Foggy Mountain Breakdown (w/Ashley Campbell)
12. Any Trouble
13. It's Your Amazing Grace
14. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
15. I Will Never Pass This Way Again
16. Wichita Lineman
17. Rhinestone Cowboy
18. Southern Nights
19. A Better Place

—Photo by Wade Tatangelo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I went to Bethehem and then to Sarasota a week later. Glen was in top form in Bethehem and didn't seem at all confused. In Sarasota, he did a lot of babbling--in other words, he was un-understanable in all of his stage stories and many of the songs. I checked with my daughter who was on the other side of the audience and she agreed with me.

Since I am thrilled that he gets out and tries, he still gets 5 stars and I am glad I went, but I won't say I was not upset at the new development. Maybe he was just tired--he had done a show the night before.

Only reason I am saying this is if you go see him one of the rest of the shows, perhaps you should be prepared for this. I went knowing that Glen has Alzheimer's and I know he tried as hard as he could and his kids were giving it 100% too and that is all I ask.

I want to see his last show so am going to NAPA California. Perhaps he was just having a bad night last night in Sarasota, but no matter what he does in Napa, I will still be glad to see him. That will be my fifth and last show of the tour. I knew it had to end sometime. The song he ends with-a Better Place--that is one beautiful song and right from his heart.