SARASOTA -- Glen Campbell brought his nearly completed "Goodbye Tour" to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Sunday and said farewell with a moving performance in front of a packed house of adoring fans.
The country great, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year, strolled across the stage in a rhinestone-encrusted shirt, smiling, thanking the audience and singing his best known songs.
He also elated the crowd with hits and a few more obscure numbers written by his friend and most successful collaborator.
Jimmy Webb's "Galveston," "By the Times I Get to Phoenix," "Where's the Playground, Susie?" "Didn't We," "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" and Wichita Lineman" were all included, with Campbell singing the bitter ballad "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" while only joined on stage by his keyboardist.
It was perhaps the most impressive performance during an evening that elicited a half-dozen standing ovations.
On the rest of the songs, Campbell was backed by a commendable sextet featuring three of his children. Ashley Campbell, an exceptional banjoist, "dueled" with Dad.
Father -- still a superb guitarist at age 76 -- and daughter engaged in some fierce, crowd-pleasing picking during a couple instrumental favorites about halfway through the evening.
Ashley, age 25, was also the one who could be seen lovingly giving her dad a thumbs-up after a performance or helping him remember what key the next song would be in, or just grinning at him when he needed support.
Campbell may have dropped a few lines, but overall he was happy and grateful to be on stage with his family, having a good time with a crowd that was at least equally delighted and appreciative.
I had a special, emotional evening filled with joy and, yes, pathos. Campbell, with help from his family, left the stage with dignity, having turned in what could only be called a triumph performance.
Having covered countless concerts during the past decade-plus, it's the rare show I feel truly thankful to have witnessed.
1. Gentle on My Mind
3. By the Times I Get to Phoenix
4. Try a Little Kindness
5. Where's the Playground, Susie?
6. Didn't We
7. I Can't Stop Loving You
8. True Grit
9. Lovesick Blues
10. Dueling Banjos (featuring Ashley Campbell)
11. Foggy Mountain Breakdown (featuring Ashley Campbell)
12. Any Trouble
13. It's Your Amazing Grace
14. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
15. I Will Never Pass This Way Again
16. Wichita Lineman
17. Rhinestone Cowboy
18. Southern Nights
19. A Better Place
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.