workmanly show in Ames, Iowa last night. The Maintenance Shop is a wonderful venue. You could smell whether his guitar strings were new or not from anywhere in the room.
The set list was similar to ones reported from Chicago. Good humor prevailed, and it was indeed obvious that the boys were enjoying each other's company. The only observation I can think of to add to Chicago reports:
When Richard played his new song, HOPE YOU LIKE THE NEW ME, one could see the difference in the intensity of his performance. The whole show was great, mind you. I look forward to the next tour, which is sure to be about a whole pack of new songs.
It is probably early to begin discussion of THE NEW ME, but has anyone got an idea of what it is about? It could be about a stalker, or an obsessive fan. It could be somewhat in the mode of MINGUS EYES or I RIDE IN YOUR SLIPSTREAM- about assumed persona, or the familiar stranger. After last night, I think it is about the public mask of the performing artist. The artist chooses elements of himself to show the world. The narrator of the song carefully chooses traits to adopt from his "victim", who is, in fact, himself. He steals a walk and speech, and "even your wife." "I stole your jokes, but only the good ones," he says, "and now I hope you like the new me." The separation between public and private personas must be a constant source of anxiety for Richard Thompson, if my interpretations are at all like his intentions. I'll look forward to other comments about this very ominous song.
Hastings, NE 68901
tel: (402) 461-7325
fax: (402) 461-7480, "attn: T. McGehee"
What a fantastic venue! The Maintenance Shop is a very small and intimate venue that might hold 200 with the chairs set up in concert style (no tables). I and several RT listmembers and friends got to sit pretty darn close to the stage (many of us in the fron row or two) to enjoy this set.
With no smoking allowed on the premises and a more than adequate sound system, this has got to be the best venue that I have ever seen RT perform in.The setlist was the same as the early show in Chicago except for Beeswing was the solo encore (damn, he always plays that when it is requested):
>- - The Sights and Sounds of London Town (RT and DT)
>- - I Misunderstood
>- - I Feel So Good
>- - Takin' My Business Elsewhere
>- - Hamlet
>- - The Ghost of You Walks
>- - Turning of the Tide
>- - Genesis Hall (RT solo)
>- - 52 VBL
>- - How Do You Like the New Me
>- - Bathsheba Smiles
>- - Jimmy Shands (RT and DT)
>- - Al Bowlly
>- - Wall of Death
>- - Razor Dance
>- - Beeswing (RT solo encore)
>- - Two Left Feet (RT and DT encore)
The highlights of the evening for me were the new songs and watching Danny play again. Danny looks great and he's lost a few pounds, and he seems to be completely healthy!
Before the early show RT's sound man and tour manager Simon Tassano taped a piece of paper to one of RT's monitors and kindly asked all of us up front to leave it there for both shows. We asked if it was the setlist, but he said it was the lyrics to one of RT's new songs. We later got a look at it and it was all of the lyrics to "I Hope You Like The New Me."
I want to also report that the RT list pre-show gathering included what I thought was 13 listmembers and friends, but it turns out that two others were in the restaurant the same time that our large group was, so it really totaled 15! Also, two to four other listmembers and friends of listmembers joined us in the club.
It was a great night for all. Now if we can bring RT to Nebraska for a similar night some time...
Host of "Late in the Evening"
Nebraska Public Radio
The last time he was here a fellow who worked in the shop walked up to some who appeared to be a roadie ... asked him how long he had been with Richard ... Richard replyed "All my life"
So at the risk of being a braggy little git I got in mighty early ... bout 5 oclock actually ...
When I got there Richard was sitting off to one side warming up. Danny was having a nap.
Simon was running around ... he is pretty much the perfect combination of obsequiousness and assholeness that it takes to be a great road manager ... He was very steadfast that things had to be done in a certain way. And the sound that he got out of the M-Shop sound system certainly proved that he knows what he is doing ... I have seen a lot of road folks ... been one at various times in my life ... Simon is exceptional ... the funniest moment was when Danny was asking where the bathroom was (I was giving him directions) Simon practically shoved me out of the way to find out what Danny needed ...
One of the other screaming fanboys walked over to get something signed. Figured someone else had broken the ice so this screaming fanboy went on over too. For the person who a few days ago said that Richard dosn't look you in the eye ... he certainly did sunday. Probably the second most gracious and friendly famous person I have ever met (second to Tom Ferrier from the Call ... maybe not really famous anymore but he was when I met him). After the show he was standing around chatting and signing things and I asked him if Danny was going to be back down (I wanted him to sign Industry and the Live CD I had just bought) and Richard said that he would go get him. He ended up making a very funny bit out of it as he would start up the stairs, someone would start walking up with something to sign, Richard would sign it, start up the stairs again ... etc. All in this very John Cleese/Basil Fawlty sort of manner.
But I digress ...
So after about an hour the sound check started. Simon chased everyone out of the room except essential staff. Course we were all in the storage room/exit hall where we could hear anyway ... Like I said in an earlier post Richard tossed off a beautiful version of Walk Away Renee (my second fave Left Banke song ... whatever happened to Michael Browne?) then Danny came on and they started a very odd atonal sort of jam ... tons of fun and ferocious playing.
So anyway ... the highlights of the show as I see them in no special order
A delicate and beautiful version of Al Bowley
When someone in the audience commented on Richard's accent, Danny said "He has language, YOU have the accent"
The bit with the capo during the encore on the first show ... people were shouting out song titles .. everytime someone did he capoed to a different fret with a wonderfully clownish pained expression Danny's bowed bass bit on Ghosts In The Wind ... it still sends a chill up my spine 24 hours later
Meeting Danny afterwards. I have never heard too much of his music, although after hearing Industry I am certainly going to seek some out ... any suggestions where to start? What a blindingly intense person. I wish that I had had the time to really sit and talk with him. He seems so unassuming on stage .. just stands, closes his eyes and plays like a demon. Offstage ... wow ... focused and intimidating.
Talking Science Fiction and the web with Simon during the break. Turns out that all three are big Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett fans. Once things were set and he had time to breathe he was very friendly ... I was carrying a fantasy novel to read during down time and that started things. He is another old time web guy. Has had email of some sort even longer than I have (88 for me)
How can I ever be simple again for the first encore for the second show. He was picking something and had obviously not made up his mind what he was going to play ... someone yelled the title and without a pause he started playing it ...
I just asked my wife what her fave part was. She said the whole thing. First time either of us had seen Richard play ...
Anyway that is what I remember now ... I'll come up with more in a bit I'm sure ...
During the sound check last night he tossed off a breathtaking version of Walk Away Renee ... as well as a bit of Can't Explain ...