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I would welcome input from anyone who can fill in the gaps about this tour, especially for the Perth show. Contact email


National Theatre. St Kilda.


Set list 26th Feb

Easy There Steady Now

Al Bowlly's In Heaven

Jimmy Shands

When The Spell Is Broken

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Dog Eat Dog

Bright Lights Tonight

Lottery Land

With Loudon Wainwright

Smokey Joe's Cafe.



Wall Of Death.

( Incomplete )


Thompson's Spell is Never Broken .

Review from The Age by Mike Daly.

      RICHARD THOMPSON is the principal reason why my guitar gently sleeps in the cupboard. All right, its a lame excuse Ņ but a couple of hours exposure to the fretboard artistry of the lanky London Scot is enough to convince any three-chord fumbler to give up. On Wednesday night, with compatriot Danny Thompson (no relation, they emphasise) on double bass ,Thompson gave one of the most remarkable performances I have witnessed. The man would be a musical phenomenon if he never sang a note. Yet in concert, his legendary instrumental skills are complemented by bittersweet ballads and Celtic rock songs, voiced in a resonant, haunting baritone. And he's a joker of the driest kind.

   The intimate National Theatre auditorium was ideal for this kind of all-acoustic night. Loudon Wainwright's laconic opening set. In which black humor and interpersonal angst wrestled for dominance, was at times like eavesdropping on a session between patient and shrink. The American troubadour's slightly manic edge is designed to keep you off balance, but he also road-tested some new songs in which he lampooned the Prince of Wales and explored a London busker's life. For spontaneity, he solicited requests, which were rewarded with favorites such as the Swimming Song and Westchester County .

   Then came the Thompson duo, with a full-on Instrumental flourish that had even seasoned pickers mesmerized. An ice-breaking bar or two of Waltzing Matilda cavorted briefly through a rapid-fire intro to Easy There, Steady Now while tasty jazz blues solos were exchanged on Al Bowlly's in Heaven there were polka demonstrations in the comic Don't Sit on my Jimmy Shands and an abundance of tragic ballads, of which When the Spell is Broken and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (both requests) stood out Ņall the while accompanied by rapid melodic fills and rhythmic motifs.

   The evening seemed to fly by. Which made the duo's potted version of Hamlet highly appropriate. A luminous version of the classic Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and a new, politically conscious song called Lottery Land were among the highlights of the second hour before Wainwright retumed for a good-natured ensemble encore of R&B (Smokey Joe's CafŽ and a dose of Marty Robbins balladry. Richard Thompson re emerged for the fragile Beeswing and signed off with a thrilling Wall of Death .

Now, all over Melboume, can be heard the sound of guitar cases closing with sad resignation.

This article by Terry Reilly also appeared the week before the concert

      He has been called "the guitarist's guitarist" and "the songwriter's songwriter", but London~born Richard Thompson insists he is an outsider in the music business. Courtesy of his time with the ground-breaking British folk-rock band Fairport Convention (1967-1971), the recording of six strong albums with his former wife Linda Thompson (including Shoot Out the Llghts) and a critically acciaimed solo career, Thompson has carved himself a very happy niche "I'm in a fortunate position on the edge of the music industry," he enthuses down the telephone iine from his house in los Angeles. where the almost famous nimble fingers have taken time out from some interior house painting. "l'm not a part of the musical mainstream. Hooray! I've got a very supportive record company (Capitol) who give me freedom." (famous last words - Capitol have since dropped RT from their books )

      Backed by former Pentangle double bassist Danny Thompson, Richard Thompson is touring Australia for the second time with American singer-songwriter and occasional tennis partner Loudon Wainwright 111. "People think of Loudon as a comedian, but he's one of the best serious songwriters around." Serious songwriting is Thompson's beguiling craft, a subject recently lauded on a various artists tribute album Beat the Retreat: Songs by Richard Thompson. His dark tales of lovelorn poignancy, suspicion and off beat desires are constructed around richly textured canvases of vibrant electric~and acoustic rhythms. His current album, the double You? Me? Us? (Capitol/Festival! produced by Mitchell Froom and Chad Blake) truly reflects his trademark urgently bleak narratives. The gentle chill of The Ghost of You Walks, the lacerated vitriol of Razor Dance and the seething betrayal of Put It There, Pal are boiling cauldrons of deep passion.

      Thompson has worked closely with Froom , the likely pair's earnest collaborntions peaking with the grammy-nominated Rumor and Sigh (1991). And he admires the live, ex-perimenial rock'n roll approach thc producer etched on Los Lobos's recent Colossal Head. "Mitchell's production on the last Los Lobos album was fantastic. We've always tried to avoid the cliches of rock music and to record as fast and as live as possible." What about the descriptton of Thompson as a bleak troubador whose poetry pokes fun at human-kind? "That's a convenient description." he scoffs. "I grew up listening to British Isles folk music where every-body gets murdered and there's witchcraft, too. I thought that was normal, but people in pop music see that as bleak. But by probing the audience with subjects that are shghtly taboo. it becomes interesting."

      From the time he formed Fairport Convention in London with Ashley Hutchings and Slmon Nichol in the mid-'60s, Thompson wanted ostensibly to play quality British and Celtic folk music. However, his first solo venture, Henry the Human Fly (1972), he claims, was a little over-the-top. "That was very experimental. Not a great performance but interesting ideas." 'As British as he makes his music, Thompson has reason to be doubly satisfied and tickled at the chart-top-ping success of Jo-EI Sonnier's rendi-tion of Tear-Stained Letter in 1990 and country diva Patty Loveless's lively shot last year. "She did it so well," he chuckles. "For a song with so much Cockney rhyming and slang the coun-try and western gang have managed to make sense of it." But day~to~day life, for Richard Thompson, it seems, is never as bleak as a tear stalned missive. "I was just painting the hallway. I'll go and stick the other coat on now."

2001 Australian tour reviews/interviews and photographs

Richard Thompson photo gallery.


The Richard Thompson pages .


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