Glen Campbell’s Goodbye Tour rolled into the Little Creek Casino Friday night, trailing stardust from his Lifetime Achievement Award at The Grammys. It was an especially bittersweet night, because this is the Rhinestone Cowboy’s last rodeo. The 75-year-old music legend has Alzheimer’s.
Hitting the stage in a bright blue blazer and strat to match, he jumped right into his gold mine of hits – Gentle on My Mind, Galveston, and By The Time I Get To Phoenix. It was immediately obvious that he would lean on his band, including three of his children, throughout the evening.
Campbell relied heavily on tele-prompters, and sometimes lost his place playing and singing. The crowd, however, never stopped showing the love. Brilliant moments far outnumbered the lapses, especially during the show-stopping guitar solo in the hit song, Try A Little Kindness.
Although he seemed to have the most trouble with songs off his final album, Ghost on the Canvas, Campbell settled comfortably into his classic hits, singing and playing with grace and ease. At times he looked to his daughter for the key, or where to put his capo, but ever the showman, he used his self-effacing southern charm to lighten the moment.
If there were any doubts about whether he can still play, they were answered when he was joined by daughter Ashley with her banjo for a rousing rendition of Dueling Banjos.It was a foot-stomping, hand-clapping crowd pleaser.
At one point, he left the stage for a break while Ashley and daughter Shannon performed Hey Little One. Glen’s kids are clearly talented, and I hope to hear more from them in the future. In terms or sheer musical skill, I would put Ashley up against Taylor Swift anytime.
Returning to the stage, Campbell shared his admiration and appreciation for long-time friend and writer, Jimmy Webb. Accompanied only by T.J. Kuenster on keys, he performed The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. As Campbell struggled with the lyrics and cues, it was a special moment between the two performers, together since 1977.
The melancholy didn’t last too long, and cueing the band, Campbell picked up the pace with three more solid hits from his outstanding career – “Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” By this time, the crowd was on its feet; singing along and showering him with love and appreciation for a moment we will most likely never share with him again.
For his encore, he delivered two more songs – Southern Nights, which included another blistering guitar solo. The night ended with his heartbreaking and poignant song, A Better Place. It’s a tribute to the ones he loves the most. Some day’s I’m so confused Lord- My past gets in my way; I need the ones I love, Lord- More and more each day. There were very few dry eyes in the place.
It was a touching show.
I’ve been a Glen Campbell fan since I was a kid. The first album I ever bought was a Glen Campbell album, and it was played in heavy rotation at our house. I’ve been fortunate enough to see him live several times, including his Rhinestone Cowboy tour of 1976. Knowing this would most likely be the last time I see him perform live, it was tough to see this once technically brilliant musician struggle. However, we all knew what we were there for – to pay tribute and respect to a performer who has brought us so much joy, and to witness, one last time, the undeniable talent of the Kid from Delight, Arkansas.
Campbell’s tour is scheduled through June.