By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Wichita Lineman is still on the line.
For fans of legendary country artist Glen Campbell, Wednesday night’s show at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair was one of the final chances to see Campbell in concert, as his Goodbye Tour enters its home stretch.
Campbell is dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
But despite the daily struggles and slow decline that are hallmarks of the incurable disorder, Campbell didn’t disappoint a large crowd that showed up on a hot, muggy night to see him. Fair officials estimated the crowd at 3,700.
Wednesday night, Campbell showed flashes of the brilliant guitar work and showmanship that have been his hallmark for nearly five decades.
“I’ve never been to Goshen, Indiana,” Campbell told the cheering crowd as he took the stage. “It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere.”
Offerings like “Gentle On My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” are true country gold, songs with stories many in the audience could relate to. They’re just a few of Campbell’s signature songs, and two of them made it into the first three songs of the set.
“Gentle On My Mind” opened the set, and Campbell interacted with the audience throughout the tune.
“Galveston,” with its now even more poignant line, “I am so afraid of dying,” was next, followed by perhaps Campbell’s most famous song — the one that’s considered by some to be his breakthrough song, “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.”
Campbell wryly changed the lyrics to “By The Time I Get To Goshen” at a few points during the song, further pleasing a crowd that was completely in his corner to start with.
For many in the audience, the concert was a bittersweet experience.
It was that way for Lona and Mike Long of Elkhart. Mike Long recently had double knee surgery, but that wasn’t going to keep him from the show.
His wife helped him get around the fairgrounds in a wheelchair. “I’m out here because it’s our last chance to see him,” Lona Long said. “That’s the only way you’re going to get me out here in this heat,” she added with a smile.
“I saw him once about 20 years ago at the Elkhart Theater,” Mike Long said as he waited for the reserved seating in the infield to open up. “He was one of the first big crossover country artists.”
Mike Long was especially looking forward to hearing “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.”
He didn’t have to wait long.
Chris and Dick Dorbershaw of Goshen had tickets to the show and invited their friends, the Laws.
Chris Dorbershaw was especially looking forward to hearing “Wichita Lineman.”
Victoria Ghost, a band including Campbell’s son, Shannon and daughter, Ashley, opened the show with a four-song set.