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[ATTENDED: October 9, 2016] Richard Thompson

2016-10-09-15-21-28I saw Richard Thompson play back in February at McCarter.  I saw him open for Wilco (well, I saw some of his set since I was late) back in June.  And now I’ve seen him in October.

That’s a lot of Richard.  But I couldn’t pass up this show because the Sellersville Theater is one of the most intimate venues around.  I scored Row G seats like in McCarter although Sellersville’s row G is a bit further back because they have tables in the front.  But it was still like having him play in my living room.

I’ve seen him play in many different styles over the years.  This summer he also toured with Bonnie Raitt with his trio.  I would have gone to that one, since I haven’t seen his trio, but prices were way too much and I don’t like Bonnie Raitt–well, her music anyway, I’ve no opinion about her.  Like the last two times, this was just him and his acoustic guitar.  And while I would love to have gotten a different setup, there is nothing wrong with just him and his guitar.

This was a matinee show (2PM!) thrown together kind of at the last minute (it was announced less than a month ago).  He joked about how matinees are usually played fro 5-year-olds or 95-year-olds–either playing 1930s covers or Puff the Magic Dragon.  He was glad that we were between those ages.

And like last time, there was the man just six rows away.  And I got to watch every amazing solos and chord changes and capo placements and tuning and everything else he could do with that one guitar.  For the McCarter how he played for 2 hours.  We only got 90 minutes (he said “I have three more minutes before I turn into a pumpkin”) which is a little skimpy (although probably about the normal length for a show).

And while no RT show is disappointing, I was a little bummed that his setlist was almost exactly the same as the one he played at McCarter.  The first two songs were different, but almost all of the rest were the same.  And there were no requests or improvs, apparently.

I mentioned last time that he doesn’t play a lot of songs from his new album.  Which is a shame both because his newer albums have been outstanding, but also because he works pretty hard at them (I assume), and he should get to play more from them.   Of course, I totally get that he is practically contractually obligated to play “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” “Beeswing” “Persuasion” and something from Fairport Convention.  But holy cow, he has so many songs.   He could play a different setlist every night for a month!

But enough griping, because the show was great.  he sounded fantastic and the acoustics in Sellersville are really top-notch. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 9, 2016] Richard Thompson at the McCarter Theatre

2016-02-09 19.19.51This was my fourth time seeing Richard Thompson at McCarter Theatre (he says it was his 492nd time playing there).  And this time, I got my tickets early and scored ROW G!  Right in the center!

2016-02-09 19.24.13So there was the man just six rows away.  And I got to watch every amazing solos and chord changes and capo placements and tuning (that’s why I can’t play his songs) and everything else he could do with that one guitar.

For indeed, that’s what it was, just him and his acoustic guitar.  Standing in front of us for 2 hours and blowing us away.  When I bought the tickets, he was touring with a trio (last summer), so I assumed that this show would be the trio show.  But nope, it was just him.

And, more amazingly, he played with no opening act!  The night before he was at the Sellersville Theater (which sold out before I found out and although they called me about the waiting list, it was about 2 hours before show time, so there’s no way I could have gone) and had an opening act.  And the next show after this one he had a different opening act.  But we got just Richard (and we were home by 10, which is pretty awesome for us old people). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 4, 2013] Richard Thompson at the McCarter Theatre

rtacousBack again for the (semi) annual Richard Thompson show at the McCarter Theatre.  RT himself said this was his 15th year playing there more or less every year.  And it seems like quite a lot of the concertgoers were multi-year attendees.

This time, Richard Thompson’s son Teddy opened.  About fifteen years ago I saw Teddy open for Richard in Boston.  That set was really enjoyable and I bought Teddy’s debut album.  But I haven’t thought all that much about him since (he has released a number of albums since 2000).

I spent some time at this show thinking about how strange it must be to tour with your father if he is a guitar wizard.  Teddy is not a guitar wizard and doesn’t try to be one.  [There’s an article that I’m going to be posting about in a few days by Jonathan Franzen which  deals with coping with successful fathers, so it was on my mind].  Indeed, in an article from a few years ago, Teddy said that at first he never listened to his parents music because it was folkie and he like rock.  But after a while: “I started to be more aware of how much people loved [my parents],” he said. “When I started doing (music) for a living, I felt, ‘I’m not as good a guitar player as my dad. My voice isn’t as good as my mother’s.'”  His mother is Linda Thompson who does have an amazing voice.  So it must be intimidating to be on with a guy that is so good and so beloved.

But Teddy has a great voice as well (more powerful than Richard’s), he sounds a bit like Neil Finn from Crowded House.  Teddy played about a dozen songs.  I actually didn’t recognize any of them, but I enjoyed them all.   As I said his voice is strong–and is really the selling point, because while the melodies are very good, they are also rather simple.  I don’t know that anything was as catchy as the songs by his dad, but of course plays a very different style of music–a kind of country folk with an occasional hard edge (both Thompsons only played acoustic guitar for this show).

I don’t know what their relationship is like (I always assume that famous (relatively) people’s children hate them.  But it was clear that Richard was proud of his son when he came out.  (more…)

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