Live at Irish Centre on Monday, 3rd March 2003
Described in this month's Uncut as "...one of Britain's greatest living songwriters" - and surely even this glowing accolade does not do justice to the musical genius that is Richard Thompson. Richard Thompson is touring his new album "The Old Kit Bag" - his first studio release for over 4 years... second gig of the tour was The Irish Centre Leeds (after a warm up gig at Sheffield last night). The Irish Centre was absolutely rammed - as it always is for his gigs - and a buzz of anticipation went through the waiting crowd as the lights dimmed and the maestro himself strode casually on stage - bedecked in his trademark black beret. Launching straight into the classic rock song "Tear Stained Letter" set the scene for the whole night. From then on, it was 2 hours of stunning music - with 2 encores and a standing ovation. Playing most of the new songs, Richard did please the fans with a good selection of his vast back catalogue of songs... such crowd favourites as "Al Bowlly's in Heaven", "Two Left Feet", "Wall of Death" and "Razor Dance". And the good natured banter with the audience was still there - such as "Anyone here from Barnsley...?" But most of all he let his guitar do the talking for him. He is without doubt the greatest guitarist I have seen (and I have seen the likes of Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Clapton, Marr and Knopfler amongst others play live in my day). His playing defies description - no fret escapes - he even includes the strings on the machine heads in his instrumentals - and de-tunes as part of an instrumental! The man has magic fingers... his innovation and imagination on the fret board is boundless. The only hiccup was when all the power failed - but such a consummate performer like Richard is not fazed by that - he made a joke of it by saying it was planned! And a mention for his excellent backing musicians - the great Danny Thompson on bass, and multi-instrumentalist Peter Zorn, and percussionist Michael Jerome. If you weren't there - try to catch him on his other dates... it's not that often you'll get a chance to see a musician that has been top of his trade for 3 decades - and has 3 tribute albums of his songs already!