USA September 2002

Birchmere first night setlist

Here you go:

Word Unspoken Sight Unseen (stunning)
Never Again (this really blew me away)
Crawl Back
Outside of the Inside
My Daddy is a Mummy
Sir Patrick Spens
Madonna's Wedding
Si Bon Mi Ca Bon Tempo (apologies for spelling errors)
Turning of the Tide
Shoot Out the Lights
Cold Kisses
Solitary Life
Cooksferry Queen
Dimming of the Day

First encore - I think this is how the encores were grouped:

Wall of Death

Second encore:
I Misunderstood

I have seen Richard ten times, now, and this show was one of the top three for me. I also enjoyed meeting assorted listmembers for the first time. Let's do this again, ok? 

Sat 8/31/2002  [ OK, almost September ]

Birchmere Banter on Night 2

RT wasn't quite as energetic Wednesday on his second night at the Birchmere, but changing the weather pattern singlehandedly and lifting the drought the previous night was obviously a herculean effort. OH still was in fine form, and "Gethsemane" is a very powerful opener, the most immediately appealing to me of all the new songs.

Here's more song-related notes and banter:

"My dreams are withered and died" was the slight variation on the chorus. "girl from the west" "she's gone with the rest." Kate Rusby singing the same song on the same stage a few months earlier introduced "Withered and Died" as a song about RT's garden. A heretical statement about the Rain Master!

My Daddy Is A Mummy: "You look for authentic ancient Egyptian music and you can do fine until you run out of Bangles songs."

"I used to be in a group----I'm not ashamed of it!" On Fairport: "They're still gainfully employed---doing their folk-rock thing. Good luck to them." On the 35th anniversary Cropredy show (ruefully): "How much longer can we do this stuff?"

Genesis Hall, a tribute to that "wonderful singer with the band, Sandy Denny."

I Agree With Pat Metheny: "Kenny G lives in his own world. He lives in his own key----irritatingly sharp." "Pat Metheny is a very good guitarist, who may have graced this very stage. He's got a lot of hair, hasn't he? He plays really fast, with lots of notes."

Audience member, after RT mentions his new album: "Do you have a label yet?"

RT: But don't you worry. Labels, well, they're just old stuff. I'll get it out, even if I have to hand it out myself. Whatever happens, it'll be out in January."

"My friend Hef---he phones, as he tends to do, and says, 'Your subscription has expired.'"

"The millennium issue of Playboy, with extra breasts."

Top songs of the millennium, "a not unambitious project." 

"I'll outpretentious the pretentious----here's one in the eye for you, Hef!"

After mentioning the arrangements of "Full Fathom Five" by Thomas Morley, Benjamin Britten and Laurie Anderson, then performing his own eerie adaptation of the song: "Good old Shakespeare----bald but sexy."

The delightful, jazzy Nat King Cole trio song "Orange-Colored Sky" ends with the line "I never knew love was so loud----what a truly disturbing noise."

When RT sings the line "I'm not that innocent" in "Oops---I Did It Again," you really believe him. There was a respectable audience singalong on the chorus (as Steve remarked, there must have been a lot of parents in attendance). Great echo effect engineered by Simon on the closing line. RT: "I know, I know, you're thinking, where's the jump suit, where's the navel? I was in a hurry, so I didn't have time to work on the dance steps."

After many requests are yelled: "I can tell a conservative audience----you don't want to hear the new, adventurous stuff. You just want to hear the all the old hits. I'm a seven-hit wonder---it's been plaguing me all my life."

Demurring on a request for a song he said he couldn't remember: "I'd hate to start it---you'd be embarrased for me."

Performances of "Galway to Graceland" and "Persuasion" seemed to be prompted by requests. 

After the show, a relative newbie at our table of greater and lesser obsessors said, "Okay, okay, I see what you all mean now!" 

The next day, she e-mailed: "I must confess that was a pretty darned fabulous show, so you can count me in as a fan (but I'm not getting on the list---I do have my limits!)."

Alas, some of us long-time RT fans don't!

Scott N. Miller

"Bush does not like chitchat when he jogs. Spotting a herd of cattle, he says simply, 'Bovine.' Minutes pass before he says another word."---AP reporter Scott Lindlaw observing George W. Bush in action on his Crawford ranch 

And even more from Scott,

It was not asked of RT on Tuesday night, as far as I know, but you can get a pretty good idea of what his reaction would be from this: Outside the Birchmere, after the show, a few of us leaving, Rob had the temerity to query Simon (albeit diplomatically), "Is there a Linda Thompson show above all others we shouldn't miss?"

Simon gave us an emphatic "No!" and immediately went back in the Birchmere.

The question I would never dare ask Simon is how he feels when he can see from the Birchmere poster for the month of August that his ex- commands a $45 ticket price now, when RT charges only $29.50 (BW commented on this earlier). I like Shawn Colvin, too, but that's a bit much.

Simon's pictures of the Birchmere murals on the Catch of the Day entry are wonderful. Nice to see the renditions of the two previous smaller incarnations of the club (RT made his Birchmere debut in the second one). The Birchmere is now in a very large building, presumably an ex-warehouse warehouse, where the supper club takes up less than half the space, the rest being occupied by related store, bandstand, bar, beer garden and pool room. I think of it as "Birchmere World."

We wondered how Simon could have passed up taking a picture of RT's Restaurant, just across the street from the Birchmere (seriously).

Scott N. Miller

"Even when I travel, there's always a treadmill in my room. I have a treadmill on Air Force One. On long trips---for example, when I went to Europe recently----I ran for 90 minutes on the flight over there. When I came back from China, I ran on the flight."---George W. Bush, quoted in Maureen Dowd's column entitled "Treadmills Of His Mind" ("What makes W run? And run and run?") (Sunday New York Times) 

"The greatest president of the last century could not even walk, but he recognized that he had to talk---that if the people did not understand the reasons for his actions, they could not become his partners in history."---Maureen Dowd, in the same column 

Scott Miller
Fri 8/30/2002

Portland 9/1/02

RT solo acoustic
Aladdin Theater
Portland OR USA
Sept. 1, 2002

I'll get the setlist out of the way right up front, since a good percentage of you would just fast-forward to it anyway. Philistines! (or is that Philippians?)

Word unspoken, sight unseen
Withered & died
Crawl back
Outside of the Inside
Genesis Hall
Madonna's Wedding
Millennium mini-set
So ben mi c'ha bon tempo

Ghost of you walks
Turning of the tide
Cold kisses
Razor dance
Shoot out the lights
Beeswing (request)
Cooksferry queen

Encore 1
Happy days & auld lang syne

Encore 2
God loves a drunk
I misunderstood

News for Scott Miller: Someone's reading the List, because he introduced "Shenandoah" as a former sea chanty that mentions a river in Iowa. No rain, though, although we could use some.

Preshow music: Sixties AM-radio Americana, including Wichita Lineman and Ode to Billy Joe.

Withered and Died: My first time live, it was beautifully moving.  Crawl Back, Razor Dance and Cooksferry Queen were hot, fast and packed with emotion. Good sing-along on Crawl Back right from the first chorus, unsolicited but appreciated by RT. Of the picking and general delivery of Crawl Back, I put WOW!! in my notes. Which were on the outside of the bag we got from the deli where we put together our waiting-in-line picnic.

He introduced "Outside of the Inside" as from the point of view of a Taliban member. Very well received. 

The Getty Show mini-set was mind-blowing. "Bon Tempo" is very obviously a Renaissance song, but with a darkness to the chords (or just to the guitar sound) that's very modern sounding. "Shenandoah" was utterly gorgeous. The crowd nearly wet its collective pants during "Oops." I probably wouldn't recognize its source, myself, since my kids are both in their 20s now and listened to more rap than pop in school. 

Ghost U was as moving as ever. Turning of the Tide seemed to have new life breathed into it. Razor Dance got another "wow." Fast and hot and venomous.

The guitar work in SOTL was all over the place, perhaps too far at times. Ventured into all kinds of styles, from Django to Merle Travis and I don't know what-all, John McLaughlin? Jimi? Just snippets, too fast to catch sometimes.

Beeswing seemed to be an actual response to a request; he had played a chord of another song, a woman yelled "Beeswing!" very loudly, he stopped, goggled his eyes, and started that one.

Vincent still works live, and he never seems to play it the same way 

God Loves a Drunk was the high point of the show for me. Absolutely incredible. (I noticed that he's adopted Norma Waterson's "clarkin' and wage-slavin'" interp in the second verse.)

RT and his Portland fans were glad to be back in the Aladdin for the first time since 1999's MT band tour. 

Dayna Kurtz delivered an emotional and well-received opening set. Quite a set of pipes that lady's got, and some good songwriting chops. Does anyone know how to pitch a song to someone like John Hiatt? Her closer, a beautiful soul song titled "Love gets in the way" would be a natural for him, with a horn chart, piano and B-3.

Watch for a windier review at Green Man Review this weekend.

Watch for pix of the aladdin at Catch of the Day -- Simon was out with his camera. 

Gary Whitehouse
Mon 9/2/2002

RT at Bumbershoot, Seattle

I just got back from seeing Richard Thompson at Bumbershoot, and he was *wonderful.* I've seen him many times, but this show was definitely one of my favorites. He was totally *on*, and he came across up key and personable -- of course, Seattle loves him and that probably helps to keep his energy level high. He played the way I like to hear him best: it was "just" him and his acoustic guitar stirring up a great big wall of sound.

I came early, waited in line, and got my wish -- I got my front row seat and was very happy. High points for me were the older songs ("Withered and Died," "Genesis Hall," "Dimming of the Day," and "Shoot out the Lights"), though I also got a charge out of hearing "Oops!" And "Shenandoah" was just lovely. He played a few new songs, too; the new album (to be released in January, he said) sounds promising.

Is "Sam Hall" being played in concert regularly, or did we get that treat because RT needed an acapella song while he replaced a guitar string? Either way, it was a crack up. (I've never taken part in a "boo and hiss along.")

I expected to see other Beesweb t-shirts there but didn't. On the way out, I did get a compliment on the shirt, though.

Mon 9/2/2002 6:08 PM

Bumbershoot and RT on the phone....

Pam (see below) and Beeswing beat me to the punch about RT at Bumbershoot, but I'll take the liberty of posting a complete (I think) setlist, RT quotes, and my own comments:

Withered & died
Crawl back (with an extended solo and ending; the audience didn't get into the response too well) "it's a little early in the day for me...I'm happy to see a partnership between opera and ice hockey" referring to the remodeling of the arena from ice hockey to temporary opera use)

Outside of the Inside
Daddy is a Mummy ("too good for kids, not quite good enough for adults, which is why I chose you")(during which he broke a string, saying "I can play it with five")

During the string change, he led the audience in "Sam Hall" Genesis Hall, mentioning Fairport's 35th and Sandy Denny 

Destiny ("from the new band album due out in January")
Madonna's Wedding

Millennium mini-set, intro mentioning Hef ("comparing doses of Viagra"), skipping the Black Death
Si Bon Mi Ca Bon Tempo
Oops! (the audience again did poorly when prompted to sing along; not enough parents there?)

Ghost of you walks
Turning of the tide
Shoot out the lights
Feels so good
Cooksferry queen

Dimming of the day (I think this might be due to a shouted request from earlier)

RT seemed in a good mood, quite conversational during the first part of the show, but kept quiet between the last five songs before the encore, probably noticing time running short (B'shoot stage managers enforce starting and ending times rigorously). No autograph session was in evidence, even though other B'shoot artists went to the adjacent Wherehouse CD sales booth to sign. The broken string languished on the stage where RT had discarded it, until a fellow fan asked a roadie to toss it to him. It dropped into the orchestra pit when he tossed it, and presumably is still there (the roadie offered to go down and get it for $10, but the fan declined).

Beeswing wrote: [["I expected to see other Beesweb t-shirts there but didn't."]]

To which I reply, I had mine on, and saw you at the head of the waiting area line.

Pam wrote: [["Is there a word for someone calling you from a concert and holding up a cellphone so you can hear it? This is happening to me right now. I answered the phone--caller ID from Seattle area--to hear "Genesis Hall.""]]

Chris and Willy then commented. I was sitting behind the caller, I think, because I saw the phone in his hand and wondered what was going on, whether it was an MP3 recorder or what. His use was very subtle, mostly hidden by his hand and no loud comments. That said, I did notice the guy during the walk to the hall from the waiting area, since he was passing people in line to improve his seat location (we sat near each other in the waiting area, but he was two rows closer in the hall). This prompts me to mention other electronics-related behavior, though. The DJ who introduced Richard did the usual request to turn off cellphones, and asked that no pictures be taken, "having seen several flashes go off earlier." There were a couple of official-looking photographers snapping occasionally from the aisles, but during VBL there was a flurry of shots from the audience, as evidenced by the flashes going off. This despite the earlier request, and my fave peeve, despite the ineffectiveness of the flashes in illuminating the desired subject, OH. For God's sake, people, if you must take snapshots, learn how to turn off your flashes and use the stage lights; it will avoid irritating your fellow concertgoers (OK, probably just me).

BTW, yesterday I saw Dave Edmunds, followed by Kultur Shock, then Buddy & Julie Miller, all excellent shows, though KS suffered from a deaf sound engineer (my hearing recovered, luckily). Today's picks, after OH, were the Mekons, then Maceo Parker. I gave up before Michelle Shocked's set tonight, unfortunately.

Dan, all Bumbershot 
Mon 9/2/2002

Bumbershoot and RT on the phone....

I'll append a few comments of my own; I hope you don't mind.

"Dan Kingsbury" <> wrote:

[[Pam (see below) and Beeswing beat me to the punch about RT at Bumbershoot, but I'll take the liberty of posting a complete (I think) setlist, RT quotes, and my own comments: Oops! (the audience again did poorly when prompted to sing along; not -enough parents there?)]]

I'm a parent...but of a 7-year-old. I'd never heard "Oops!" before. When I got home and found out from my husband that it was a Britney Spears song (ack!), I was *proud* of the fact that I hadn't known the words to sing along! I don't think Thompson and Spears share the same audience, quite. Thank goodness.

[[Beeswing wrote: "I expected to see other Beesweb t-shirts there but didn't." To which I reply, I had mine on, and saw you at the head of the waiting  area line.]]

Yup, that was me, always scouting for that coveted front-row seat. You should have waved or something. :)

[[This prompts me to mention other electronics-related behavior, though. The DJ who introduced Richard did >the usual request to turn off cellphones, and asked that no pictures be taken, "having seen several flashes go off earlier." There were a couple of official-looking photographers snapping occasionally from the aisles,]]

There was one guy taking photos, one after the other, right in front of the stage (leaning his camera on the stage, to be precise). He started shooting pics almost the second the guy saying "don't take photos" walked off stage. He'd better have been official, 'cause the "bouncer" types were right there and didn't stop him. I was rather disgruntled; I found his photo-taking to be very distracting.

[[ but during VBL there was a flurry of shots from the audience, as evidenced by the flashes going off.  This despite the earlier request, and my fave peeve, despite the ineffectiveness of the flashes in illuminating the desired subject, OH.  For God's sake, people, if you must take snapshots, learn how to turn off your flashes and use the stage lights; it will avoid irritating your fellow concertgoers (OK, probably just me).]]

Nope, it irritated me, too, and the folks sitting around me were also making cracks. From the start, the bouncers didn't say anything about the picture taking, so the show seemingly became a free for all for the shutterbugs in the audience. As I said, I found the picture taking to be distracting (especially, as you mentioned, those little, useless flashes of light) -- and it was downright rude, as well.

All the same -- and most importantly -- OH seemed in especially fine form and put on a stellar performance. It was great to have him back in Seattle again.

Oh...and it's been sunny all week. By the end of the guessed started raining.

Tue 9/3/2002

RT at Boston Folk Festival...

I just got home from the Boston Folk Festival hosted by WUMB at UMass  Boston. It was fun, the weather nice, but a bit too warm for me. RT went on at the Field Stage aound 3:40 p.m., after Cheryl Wheeler. He played until a bit after 5 p.m. Nanci Griffith was on after him, but I was very tired and hot, so we left. Tom Nelligan, I didn't see you there! Did RT play with Nanci??

I got into the autograph line, but it was pretty big, so I gave up. :( I have his autograph as I met him last year, but it would have been fun tot alk to him again. We watched the people in the line, and he was holding a baby, and kissing, and then posed for a photo with it!!

Anyways, RT looked great, all in black - beret, jeans and a shier that had a criss-cross pattern on it. Looked very cool!

I wrote down the set list, if I have titles wrong, please tell me!

1. Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen
2. Dreams Withered and Died (?)
3.Crawl Back Under My Stone
4. Inside the Outside (?) anti-Taliban song
5. My Daddy is a Mummy
6. Helpless and SLow (FC song?)
7.She said it was Destiny (?)
8. Madonna's Wedding
9. Wall of Death
10. God Loves a Drunk
11. Vincent Black Lightning 1952
12. Happy Days and Old Lang Syne
13. Turning of the Tide
14. Ghost of You Walks
15. i Feel So Good
16. Beeswing
17. Twist the Knife Again with Dave Mattacks
18. Shoot Out the Lights with D.M.
19. My Cooksferry Queen with D.M.

No encore

he was having trouble with the sound at first and said to the audience, "How can I give you beauty when all I have is crap?"

Another line - it was starting to get a little cloudy and he quips, "It must be a British band playing." (Or something to that effect.)

Susan Klasky
Sun 9/22/2002

RT at Boston Folk Festival

Well: it was a beautiful weekend for outdoor music. The sun was shining, maybe a little too strongly for comfort as sunburn loomed as a major threat. ( the traditional stage announcements: Drink water!! Use sunscreen!!) There were at least five of us there who had last seen RT six weeks ago in the rain and mud at Cropredy (aren't these intercontinental connections that you make through music wonderful?) and the brilliant sunshine during RT's set this afternoon at the Boston Folk Festival sort of compensated for that August downpour in the cow pasture.

Boston's WUMB-FM radio, which sponsors the five-year-old BFF, has played RT's music since the station's beginnings, and so it was appropriate that WUMB announcer Dave Palmater introduced him as someone they've been trying to book since the first year. And it was obvious that there were a lot of Thompson fans in the crowd... he got as enthusiastic a response as anyone on the weekend bill. The setlist as I transcribe it is below. Nothing shocking, but a nice mix of old and new stuff, nicely paced and of course wonderfully performed. Except for a brief problem with the monitors early on, RT appeared to be comfortable and seemed aware that there were a lot of appreciative people in front of him.

For the last three songs, local resident and longtime bandmate Dave Mattacks joined RT on "drums" (actually a single cymbal and a single snare, as with a couple previous guest appearances in Boston and Northampton). DM can get more sound and feeling out of a minimal kit than most drummers can get out of stagefull, especially on "Shoot Out The Lights".

A few other notes from the BFF...

-- DM also plays these days with the alt-bluegrass quartet Rust Farm, featuring the hot guitar flatpicking of John McGann and the mandolin of Chris Moore. They did a very impressive set of bluegrass/newgrass/Celtoid picking with a touch of doom and gloom earlier in the afternoon, and I'm looking forward to their next album.

-- Cheryl Wheeler, who was on the main stage just prior to RT, did her song "Driving Home", which evocatively describes driving through Pennsylvania on a beautiful day with Richard Thompson on the car tape deck. It's too bad she wasn't invited up to provide harmonies on "Wall Of Death".

-- One of the food vendors was selling something called "vegetarian curried goat". Now I understand that goats aren't the most intelligent or attractive creatures, but I have always been led to believe that they merited classification in the "animals" category.

-- RT and DM were both dressed in solid black on a day when the sun was blazing and causing some discomfort even to those of us who were more lightly dressed. I guess it must be the English genetic programming... when the sun is shining, soak up as much of it as possible.

-- After the set RT greeted people, posed for photos and signed stuff for more than half an hour, making a lot of folks happy. I won't mention the listmember who had him autograph her arm. :-)

-- Other notable acts from the weekend for me: The Waifs (great folk-pop from Australia), CJ Chenier and his band (rocking zydeco that led to a widespread outbreak of dancing), Cephas & Wiggins (North Carolina country blues), and the unique, wise, politically astute, and very funny Utah Phillips.

-- My apologies, if you're reading this, to the woman from Fields Corner to whom I attempted to give the address of the RT list, which I messed up by giving the *old* address which has now been replaced by the fairly obvious and easy-to-remember (unless you're an old guy who's been standing in the sun all day) address. Sigh.

The setlist:

Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen
Withered & Died (a nice dose of gloom to get us in the mood)
Crawl Back (Under My Stone)
Outside Of The Inside (which he introduced as being a Taliban's-eye view of the world)
My Daddy Is A Mummy
Genesis Hall ("I used to be in a band...")
Madonna's Wedding
God Loves A Drunk (stark and utterly brilliant)
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Happy Days and Auld Lang Syne
Turning Of The Tide
The Ghost Of You Walks
Feel So Good
here joined by Dave Mattacks and his mini-drum kit
She Twists The Knife Again
Shoot Out The Lights
Cooksferry Queen

No encore since the set was running late. But I certainly got my money's worth.

--Tom Nelligan 
Sun 9/22/2002