Last night I met Glen Campbell. He hugged me and autographed my album – A copy of “Ghost On The Canvas”. I told him what he meant to me – how the songs he sang or played on are touchstones in my life, how his fingerprints are all over every great record to come out of Southern California in a certain, perfect era.
He smiled and was off into the night after his final show in Los Angeles at KCRW’s World Festival at The Hollywood Bowl.
On stage, Glen seemed most comfortable and happiest when he was playing the guitar. Three of his children are in his band and he clearly loved having them with him. There was a great moment when Glen and his daughter Ashley played “Dueling Banjos”.
On stage, Glen Campbell said that Jimmy Webb was the reason he was standing there which drew a big cheer from the audience. Webb wrote most of Campbell’s biggest hits, “Galveston”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, and, of course, “Wichita Lineman”. And, it’s true, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house for that one – especially mine.
The scope of the show was breathtaking. The first half showcased Dawes as the house band and they were — in a word – awesome. Dawes held it down, while guest after guest showcased the music that Glen had a role in making – Everything from Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” to The Beach Boys “Hang Onto Your Ego” (Glen played guitar on the originals).
While I was lurking backstage, I also had the pleasure and thrill of meeting Kris Kristofferson and Jackson Browne.
I think what affected me most about the show last night was the new meaning the songs had in the context of seeing an artist at the end of his life and career. A young man performing “A Better Place” or “Any Trouble” (both from “Ghost On The Canvas”) is a very different experience from that of a man with a life lived.
Hearing the mature Glen Campbell, who created so much music, sing “Wichita Lineman” last night is a moment I will not soon forget.
– Anne Litt