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Navigator. Last update 6th March 2001..
Australasian Tour 2001.
Sunday 18 February 2001.
Stage 3- Botanic Park . Womadelaide .
2001 Tour dates
The Sunday show was even more fun and far more intimate, as stage three is comparatively small and generally draws smaller crowds than stage 2. Sunday was HOT . Temps peaked at 39c in the shade in the late afternoon and it was humid to boot. By the time RT hit the stage at 7 pm , things had cooled a little bit and the stage and its frontage were in the shade, but it was still a tad warm for this sort of thing . This did not prevent RT from delivering a warm, amusing and spirited set with just as much as attack as he had on Saturday. Opening with a jocular" I'll play some non energetic music so you don't have to jump around and get even hotter than you are " he then made us think twice about his intentions by adding a typical Thompson after thought "or shall I ? "followed by that shy little smile that the man can flash so spontaneously .This sort of minor point might seem unimportant to anyone other than the rabid fan, but I find these little asides one of RT's most appealing aspects. I almost like his stage banter as much as his music.
To give the lie to the opening statement he then immediately jumped into a pretty spirited rendition of " Mr Rebound" , the first of two new songs not previously featured at WomAdelaide .The crowd of perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred souls , composed of a good mix of seasoned fans - many of whom had been present on Saturday- and a fair sprinkling of new chums as well -thought this was a pretty impressive opening gambit and despite the heat gave a very good round of applause.
"I Misunderstood" followed . There was a minor mis-key during this one , which could have been due to the heat ,or it might have been a deliberate statement . It did not detract from my enjoyment of the number and it didn't seem to throw RT , I imagine that he realises that he is only human, everyone makes mistakes. This number was was followed swiftly by a top notch " I Feel So Good "which was appended by another stage announcement from his nibs
" Thank you very much, under the shade of the old Aricarraia Norfolkiii whatever they are ..."( a reference to the Hoop Pines that fringe stage three and were providing much needed shade by this time of day)" I played all the good ones yesterday, now wore down to the crap. (much audience laughter ) These are all old ones I played last time .( a short pause as an audience member requests Al Bowlley )" Ah you bunch of old conservatives ."
Then Richard revealed his political colours, which makes me warm to him considerably , as I loath and despise John Howard .
" You'll not be voting for old watsisname will you ? Old Howard , ( noises of disapproval from crowd at the mention of the name ) you're not THAT conservative" .
After these pleasantries, " Waltzing For Dreamers" , was as usual , delightful - ( and it was nice to see that the extremely respectful crowd did not chatter during the quiet numbers , which fortunately was a feature of both days shows. This was unlike the stage one set in 1997 where a goodly portion of the crowd made a lot of noise where I was sitting . In fact this refined behaviour was a feature of the whole festival, the audiences were more respectful and were there to enjoy the music, not just party.) After "Waltzing" Richard moved straight into " Turning of the Tide" , which featured the usual dextrous fingering and was greeted with some whoops from the crowd.
A crying baby during the break after TOT Tide prompted the response of - " whos that ! " from on-stage followed by " This is off my last album about missing the bus and walking home. This is in London in the 60s. (A audience member then regaled Richard with a story of their adventures after missing a bus to which he rejoined acidly " did you ?, oh out in Adelaide , how interesting . I went on one of your very fine trams today, built in 1931 you know- I checked " , which fascinating fact then caused him to perform a miss cue on the guitar , to which RT wildly over reacted comically and exclaimed " oh shit"
Richard treated us to a tender and polished version of Beeswing - the end of which was greeted by lots of cheers - a popular number for this audience. Then it was party time :
" One of the grand old men of Scottish music died in the last couple of months ago. Mr Jimmy Shands , a wonderful accordion player . I have a wee song about Jimmy here that I'd love you to join in , if you can just raise the energy ,if you fan your hats in time that would be great " . A lot of crowd laughter at this and the audience enthusiastically joined in after the first verse and continued to do so, but there was a rather truncated "lets polka" instrumental break. .Richard actually stopped singing and let the audience carry the chorus the last time around and he awarded us with " - ah you guys , fabulous. ah Jimmy, Jimmy. You guys are so sensitive, its those accents though , tricky."
Obviously our efforts had put him in an expansive mood, as he then asked
" Anything you want to hear ? , Bright Lights ?woooh !. Does it matter if I don't remember the words or the tune ? I mean I'm playing to like millions of people here, it could be so embarrassing if I don't remember the words ,there's at least 500, 000, like three Woodstock's , its so wow man , I mean - no !.
I'll do this one "
After all that he did begin to play"Bright Lights" ,but unfortunately , when he reached " if you've got the cash then you're doing all right "one of his strings broke,with a resounding DOIIINGGG -prompting a loud "oh, shhhhhhhugar ".Nevertheless, he continued to sing without guitar accompaniment and many in the audience joined in as he fished a packet of strings from his shirt pocket. However, the packet proved to have only five strings and a replacement string could not be found immediately, so despite the crowd continuing to sing and clap along -which proved to be most touching -when we reached" there's a silver band" he gave up and announced " I tell you what , if I go off now I can come back for the encore " With this he dashed off stage and was seen to change the string in the wings -when one was finally produced by a flunky . As he came back on-stage he shouted over his shoulder " You're fired" But he wasn't serious , it was all in good jest. - I hope !
As Richard continued to tune up he mused ." I mean you'd think a big star like me would have more then one guitar, an entourage, " and in reference to a continuation of Bright Lights " did we finish that one ? Yes we did really." which provoked groans of disappointment from the audience , who had thoroughly enjoyed the sing along and were hoping for a re-run . The tuning up process gave the audience an opportunity to have a chat and there were a few questions as to why he did not bring the band to Australia, which brought this response " well if you paid four times the price " which strangely provoked some cheers ! Richard then gave us a strategy to follow " petition Womad and say we have to have the band whatever it costs". However he was on dangerous ground when he replied to a suggestion he use Australian musicians "What, Australian musicians ? , I'm struggling to think of a real Australian musician "which provoked a few mock (and genuine ) howls from the crowd" I mean Neil Finn is from New Zealand isn't he -ho, ho ho." He appeared to jocularly consider the options " There's those geezers from Midnight wotsit ,Men at wotsit . AC/DC , ahhh, I mean I can relate to those lads ,they got a bit of class , a bit of taste , a very good line in shorts . I think they're wearing my old school uniform." After which lengthy peroration his guitar was finally in tune and he began \an energetic version of " Valerie' , which ended with "thanks very much, have a great festival" and a quick trip offstage before a return to sustained strong applause .There were quite a few shouted requests from the crowd -including a highly unlikely", Meet on the Ledge "and a more likely " Al Bowlley" But Richard opted to render a perfectly timed ' Dimming of the Day ' -which was as perfect a way to round off what had been two great, if rather short sets -as I can possibly imagine .
It had been a thoroughly satisfying weekend of Richard Thompson music and after an absence of four years , it was great to see the man yet again in an Australian setting- especially as one as nice as Womad. The only complaint could be that the sets were so short ( and both under ran by a few minutes ) as it did not really allow Richard to stretch out like he does in a two hour show. The broken string did at least allow him to have a chat with the audience , which gave us more of the feel of a longer show, although we lost a full version of Bright Lights as a consequence. Overall though , one has to admit that any Richard Thompson , in any setting and for however short a time , is better then none and its to be hoped that he returns soon to these shores , as those of us who are in the know will welcome him with open arms when he sees fit to visit the land of Oz once again .
An audience tape exists of this show, quality excellent.
2001 Australian tour reviews/interviews and photographs
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