I got an email Thursday from a guy who had read my Gordon Lightfoot preview last week and wanted to know how the show went.

Here’s what I wrote in my reply:

I’ve always had a soft spot for Lightfoot, mostly because I’m from Michigan and every bar singer in my fair state has “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” in his repertoire. But I’m not a superfan or anything like that. I always thought of him as a sort of guilty pleasure, a guy who’s kind of corny and square but who just writes such good songs that I had to like him.

He was very impressive when I interviewed him, just a thoughtful, straightforward, salt-of-the-earth guy. So, yeah, I bought a ticket for the show, not to go review it but just to watch. In the interim I heard, unsolicited and from two separate people, that it is the most boring concert they had ever seen. They’d both seen him in the ’70s.

So my expectations weren’t that high.

And ... he was terrific. His voice isn’t what it used to be. But in a way it’s better. It has this aged poignancy. It seems as though it might crack at any moment. But it doesn’t. And when he needs to summon some of its old strength, he still can. I wish he would find himself a good producer and get back in the studio tomorrow, because the way he sounds now is just as rich (in a totally different way) as he sounded in his prime.

I got the impression, when I spoke with him, that he’s not going to do any more studio recordings. But I think he could have his “Time Out of Mind” or his “American Recordings,” just like Dylan and Cash did late in their careers — something to represent the sum of his career and cement him as one of his generation’s guru-level balladeers. In the absence of such a recording, what we’re left with is the live show. And it’s a hell of a thing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.