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Navigator. Last update 31st D ec 2000.
Australasian Tour 2001.
Welcome, these pages are intended to document the second AUSTRALASIAN TOUR by singer songwriter Richard Thompson.
Once the tour is over
I will post reviews and setlists of the tour dates in Australia , New
Zealand and Japan of which I have managed to find any information, such
as newspaper reviews , radio interviews, broadcasts, adverts and
Thursday 15th February 2001
The Octagon Theatre, Perth
Thursday night at the Octagon was a milestone in My Life As An RT-Farty. After almost ten years, my first opportunity to see the man himself. I almost didn't make it -- I was expecting to be called in for work on the night, and only knew for sure that I would be free late the night before. I felt almost nervous, like someone meeting a pen-pal for the first time, after a lengthy correspondence. Although I haven't seen RT before, I know his catalogue so well, both live and recorded, and have read and heard so much of performances past and present, that the evening had few purely musical surprises for me. As a result, this report will concentrate on what I was most sensitive to -- the feel of the show, the look of the man, trivial maybe, but the real essence of live performance, surely, the stuff that you can't get down on tape.
The venue was the Octagon Theatre, a performance space/lecture hall in the leafy grounds of the University of Western Australia, a Spanish-style limestone campus on the banks of the Swan River. I have worked and played at the University for much of my life, and met Nicki there, so it was a memory-laden venue for such a significant event. As we approached the Theatre, beneath gum-trees in the humid twilight, a couple of young Chinese students were practising a dragon-dance on the lawn. The Octagon seats about 800 people, with steeply raked seats in a half-octagon shape around a wooden apron stage. RT was placed at the back of the apron, so even though we were in the front row we weren't exactly close. The place was probably a bit more than three-quarters full -- the usual folky crowd, with a moderate infusion of young blood. (Those who know tell me that Hank Marvin, now resident in the Perth Hills, was in the audience.)
The jokes? We were informed that the original Perth, in Scotland, is an unbelievably boring place, to be avoided at all costs, accompanied by the old joke about Eskimo words for 'snow'. When taking out his large and shiny box of strings he commented that it reminded him of 'a box of elephant prophylactics' ( a fair comment) -- 'but then lots of things remind me of prophylactics'. (Hmm ... ) While replacing the string he told, at great length, the old one about the cast away and Ursula Andress -- only to find, at the end, that he had fitted the wrong string. This led into the audience singalong of 'Twist and Shout'. The best impromptu of the night (I assume it was an impromptu) came towards the start, when someone at the back of the hall loudly yelled '68!' RT made a comic pretence of bewilderment, treating it as a song request, and started to suggest songs with numbers in them, finishing up with '76 Trombones' and 'Neun und Neunzig Luft-Ballons'. Towards the end he was invited back to the house of a lady audience-member -- 'I know where you live -- 14 Acacia Avenue, isn't it? -- I'll come if I can bring along the lads too -- and some of my old army chums -- Ginger and Curly and Spud ... ' You had to be there, I guess ..
The audience filed up the stairs to the 'Avengers' theme. (RT really should have been wearing his 'Mock Tudor' bowler and suit, a la John Steed, the professional Englishman so beloved of foreigners.) We couldn't hang around, for family reasons. Today the local paper ran a very respectful review, all the usual stuff, with a serious looking photo. Reference was made to two songs: 'Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?' (I think I can figure that one out) and 'Wild Women With Hearts of Dust' (say WHAT?).
No known recording exists of this show