In the presence of greatness

glencsmpbell.jpgA 71 year old shouldn’t be able to do that.

I took my 11 year old daughter Emily to see Glen Campbell performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) last night at the Burswood Theatre. The guy is absolutely amazing.

I’ve never really been a big Glen Campbell fan but many of his songs have helped fill out the soundtrack of my life. I was asked by WASO if I’d like the opportunity to interview Glen’s daughter Debby on 98five Sonshine FM just before Christmas. Debby travels and sings with her dad on some of his tours.

I enjoyed chatting to Debby (You can hear the interview by using the audio player at the bottom of this post.) and when I was asked if I’d like to go to the show I was more than happy to accept.

Having WASO involved always meant that it would be a spectacular show but it was even more impressive than I could have hoped.

Glen Campbell took to the stage and opened with Gentle On My Mind then Galveston and then continued to roll out hit after hit. His voice was in fine form but his guitar playing is extraordinary. Seeing him play the William Tell Overture on his 12 string electric guitar was breath taking. When he perched the guitar on top of his head and continued playing at lightning speed I just thought to myself that a guy of his age really shouldn’t be able to do that. The guy is 71 years of age but apparently no one has told his fingers that.

When Debby was introduced I was ready for a change of pace and possibly some good vocals. She blew me away. She has a magnificent voice and it amazes me that she isn’t recording and performing full time. As well as doing a few songs on her own she joined her father for a number of duets. Brilliant.

The song I was really wanting to hear was the first one after intermission. As soon as the orchestra started playing I knew that Witcheta Lineman was on the way. It’s a song I love and the performance didn’t dissapoint.

Towards the end of the evening Glen Campbell walked on with some bagpipes which he says are the most temperamental instrument he’s ever tried to master. He used the bagpipes to great effect during a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.

The evening was completed with a fantastic version of McArthur Park. It’s an incredible piece of music and the orchestra really got the opportunity to show just how good they are by performing faultlessly.

Oh … and about me saying that I’ve never really been a big Glen Campbell fan … I sure am now. I’ll be grabbing a greatest hits CD as soon as I can.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I ditto everything said above re Glen & Debbie Campbells performance – it was
    beyond expectations. I took my husband along and he came out a convert and amazed at Glen’s reportoire of songs and brilliant vocal and instrumental ability. Judging by the audience response he stirred a lot of memories for many and brought many smiles to many older faces who could relate to what music really is. I would love to hear Debbie get into some more C & W as I can hear that in her voice she has great talent – just like her Dad.
    Best surprise of 2008 – Glen Campbell Concert with OUR WASO !! superb…

  • I saw Glen and Debby in concert in Scotland last year. It was magical, but the icing on the cake was when I was taken backstage during the interval and spent 15 minuets in Glen & Debby’s company. They are truly delightful people to be with and put me at ease in the presence of greatness.

  • You don’t hear much about Glen Campbell any more….When I was a kid I liked the Glen Campbell TV show….His songs were great to sing along to….They made you feel good…

  • Howdy Rodney 🙂

    I saw Glen back in the ’90’s when he had his show in Branson, Missouri (USA). It was awesome indeed to see him perform his old, but goody, songs.
    I am glad to see that he is still around doing shows. He has had a up and down life for sure.

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