Thursday, October 22, 2009

Richard Thompson-By Request

The first two songs selected from the pewter soup tureen that had its own stool on stage were "Cooksferry Queen" and "Why Must I Plead," and my immediate thought was, "Damn! Why didn't I think of Why Must I Plead?" Silly, I got to hear it anyway, as this very special all request, solo acoustic show began in perfect style.

A Richard Thompson show always leaves me feeling the same way, stunned by the beauty of his guitar playing, so much so that I drift off and tend to lose sight of what he is singing. No one can play an acoustic guitar quite like RT.

The requests kept coming, two or three being removed at a time, for "pacing purposes." "We wouldn't want 15 wrist-slashers in a row," Thompson explained. "Turning Of The Tide," "Persuasion," "She Sang Angels To Rest," and an aborted, but still quite good version of "Both Sides Now," all being performed from the heart, even if Thompson gave the hairy eyeball to just about every song he pulled.

Someone requested "She May Call You Up" by The Left Banke, which Thompson performs live often. He offered up some info that will forever haunt me. "I could play the whole Left Banke first album." WHEN?

Someone else requested "Peace, Love, & Understanding," to which Thompson replied, "You should try that at an Elvis Costello show. You may have better luck."

I didn't get to hear my request, "The Way That It Shows," but I did have to leave a bit earlier than expected. Nothing personal, Richard. Well actually, yes it was.

Here are both "Why Must I Plead" and "The Way That It Shows," both in live settings.

Richard Thompson has two more nights of this at City Winery and if I was a rich man, I'd be at both. Get there if you can!




soundsource said...

or the electric guitar

Anonymous said...

Brillant post, Sal!

Clinton Heylin

FD13NYC said...

I like the way Bob Mould does Turning Of The Tide.

Meanstreets said...

What was more exciting ?....seeing " Burning Wood " in person there or seeing the great " Richard Thompson " perform live ?

Sorry Sal....

I don't buy this " by request " format....Let this " one of a kind " genius build his own set...instead of letting dopey fans dictate the performance, excluding Sal & I..........of course...
Having said that,Richard Thompson is an unknown one at that....

Anonymous said...

Yes he is and a fine bloke too!

Clinton Heylin

Chris Swartout said...

I love love love seeing him. I think that Meanstreets has a point though. The request set, by it's nature, does not have a structure. It seems willy nilly. That said, the songs on Wednesday night were pretty great. so I was generally happy. I saw him last fall in Great Barrington and I felt his rapport with the crowd wad better as the banter was not just about the song selection. The guy is seriously funny and smart and I felt his banter was too song related.

I did love Both Sides Now. The man has a ton of shit in that brain.

Brad Velcoff said...

I requested two songs, one of ehich he played: "Willy O' Winsbury" which was really beautiful.
Oh, and Meanstreets--Richard builds his own set 99% of the time. I actually prefer the request shows because she plays songs I would never get to hear otherwise.
I loved the show.