Well, one of them, anyway. How can it not be a fantastic weekend when you go to see Richard Thompson?
Most of you know that I am absolutely crazy about Richard Thompson. I have to admit, though, I am late to the game. I mean, I always was aware of him - heck, I had a Rolling Stone subscription for most of the 80s - but beyond hearing him on the radio here & there, I didn't pay much attention. And then, one evening, I was driving up to Hendersonville and I heard this piece on Fresh Air: Richard Thompson - Looking Back. By the time the show was over, I was completely gobsmacked. Why did I not know about this before??? What rock had I been living under?
I got out of the car to meet Mister and our friends to set up for an event, and I was babbling like an idiot. "OhmyGAWDyouguys, I was just listening to this Richard Thompson interview, and it's like, HOLY CRAP, he sounds like 4 people playing the guitar! And the songs. SWEET FANCY MOSES, THE SONGS."
Mister said, "Yeah, my old roommate and I used to listen to RT a lot back in the day."
I may or may not have accused him of holding out on me. "We've been married 20 years and YOU NEVER TOLD ME???" He just shrugged. The next week I commenced to buying up RT downloads on iTunes. He came to town just a few weeks after my Great Revelation, but we were too broke and too busy to go that time. We finally did get to see him at the Belcourt in an acoustic solo show, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post. Saying that it was magical doesn't even do it justice. The fact that I'm still talking about it two years later should be a clue.
This time, RT had a band with him: drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, both incredible musicians themselves. He joked about them being a power trio, but that's definitely what they were. Now, I'm not a guitar player, and I don't have any desire to be one, but I'm always amazed by people who make it look effortless. It's like magic. Logically I know it takes work and practice, but still . . . magic, as far as I'm concerned.
I imagine that when you have as large a body of work as RT does, it's hard to choose what songs to put into a 2 hour show. Of course he did several songs from his new album, Electric (just go buy a copy; you'll thank me later), but there were a few surprises, too. I didn't really expect to hear "Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?" or "Wall of Death," but there they were. And if that wasn't enough of a surprise, the power trio launched into "Hey Joe." Yes, that "Hey Joe." It was nothing short of magnificent. A couple of my favorites were missing, but I was pretty content nonetheless. He ended with "Tear Stained Letter" and had the whole house singing along.
The ultimate in geekery for me, though, was "Sidney Wells," a murder ballad (of course!) in 9/8. I love murder ballads, and I love 9/8, so to get both in the same package is pretty darn exciting. And how often do you hear a slip jig played on a red Fender?
So. Richard Thompson on Saturday night, followed up on Sunday afternoon with an Irish singing class at McNamara's with the lovely and charming Michelle Burke. Yeah. Best. Weekend. Ever.
Till next time --- may your weekends be glorious.