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Australasian Tour 2001.

Welcome, these pages are intended to document the second AUSTRALASIAN TOUR by singer songwriter Richard Thompson.
I would welcome input from anyone who can provide information about the tour .

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Enmore Theatre


February 5th 2001.


2001 Tour dates

New Zealand

3 February Auckland

Bruce Mason Theatre



5 February Sydney

Enmore Theatre


8 February Melbourne

Concert Hall


10 February Canberra



13 February Brisbane

Tivoli Theatre


15 February Perth

Octagon Theatre


17 February Adelaide



18 February Adelaide




Incredible string bard

Bruce Elder chats to Richard Thompson -the folk enigma who raises more Editorial questions than he answers.

    Richard Thompson is an enigma. Who today, apart from a few unreconstituted folkies, has heard of Davey Graham, Nic Jones, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick or Dave Cousins? Yet there was a time, back in the late 1960s-early 1970s, when they, along with Thompson, were all regarded as doyens of the booming British folk scene. As the rest of his peers Icon have slipped into madness, anonymity and dreariness, Thompson has persisted. He has not only persisted his fan base now is as passionate and committed as Dylan's. They love him. They know every word of every song and they love the man with an unambiguous adulation and passion. Of course, there is reason for this passion. Thompson really is a very special musician. He writes songs of extraordinaryhonesty. Few popular musicians have tackled the love song with such clarity and pessimism. Who among his fans will ever forget Advertise the opening to his 1986 song Jennie: "Trouble fitness sheeted - online becomes you, it cuts you down to my size"; or the dark chorus line: "I thought you were saying'Good luck', you were saying 'Goodbye"'.

    He is a master guitarist with a highly individual style, who has appeared on albums by performers as different as Tim Finn,Elvis Costello ,David Thomas, David Byrne, Crowded House, Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. Apart from being a unique talent, Thompson is a true rarity. He started his musical life as a rock 'n' roller, was embraced by folk music (most notably as the guitarist with Fairport Convention) as it began to go electric, absorbed and loved the English folk tradition in a visceral rather than an academic way, and then emerged as a solo artist capable of bridging the two traditions in a way which makes Dylan's electric/folk experiments look simple and naive. If you listen, for example, to Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, you will hear the story of a biker and his girlfriend (a very rock 'n' roll theme) turned into a timeless folk song about love, death and rebellion. Listen to the delicate Beeswing and be amazed at the way Thompson can take a contemporary situation - in this case the craziness of the '60s - and turn it into a transcendental folk song about freedom and love.

    Yet, for all this, he is now a man searching for a recording contract in the United States. On the phone from his home in Los Angeles (he has lived there for nearly 20 years), he explains: "I am no longer with Capitol in the USA. At the moment there is a lot of reassessing of what a record company actually is. The fact that people can do things online and can do things in other ways has forced them to reassess what they are doing. The multinationals can only sell Britney and Whitney, Mariah and Shania. "It's a time of change. People are starting to ask why they have never made any money from records. There are now record companies which are thinking about offering partnership deals. "I would certainly like to have some income from records. I need that. A starving musician has to increase his income stream somehow. I think you could sell half a million and get dropped in the US at the moment. I've heard stories about it happening. It has become very strange and very corporate."

    Once again, it would seem, the corporate priorities of the multinationals have ignored creativity and talent. It is tempting to ask: "If they can drop someone as talented as Richard Thompson then what on Earth are record companies looking for?" But Thompson, who is still with EMI through the rest of the world, is not concerned by this temporary setback.

"I think there are these phases in the music business," he says. "There are times when you look at the alternatives. It is hard not to think at the moment, 'If radio is this bad then something else will emerge'. A subculture will grow. There are so many artists out there, and their audience, who need to be served. How do you find your audience? You have to use other means. When that happens often, the more creative times are around the corner. Perhaps it means there will be larger independent labels. The alternatives are there to be developed and that is what is going to happen."

    In the past 18 months, convinced that his last album, Mock Tudor, was worth promoting, he has toured virtually non-stop both in a solo acoustic format and with his band. "It's just because I believed in that record," he explains, and when asked what local audiences are likely to hear in his concerts, he adds: "They will hear as many tracks from Mock Tudor as they can stand." And what is Thompson going to do without a US recording contract? He doesn't seem terribly worried. "I may set up my own record label. I am certainly looking at that possibility."


Frank Carsburg

    G'day all, I'm not on the RT list anymore but I thought a few of you Fairporters would like to hear of RT's gig in Sydney last night. Currently touring Australia RT played Sydney's Enmore Theatre, where he also appeared on his previous tour 4 years ago. The Enmore is an old place a bit the worse for wear with no luxuries such as air conditioning or seats that don't give you a pain in the arse by mid gig. BUT when RT plays his Sydney fans would go & watch him anywhere anytime anyplace & the Enmore was chocka. As RT opined through the gig - lots of old chums out there I see! I didn't note the set list but it included songs from as far back as the early 70's "Great Valerio","Dimming of the Day", right thru to about 4 tracks from Mock Tudor. He also rolled out 2 humorous little ditties recently penned perhaps just for the tour. The first, to the scottish tune sometimes known as "Marie's Wedding", but lyrically about Madonna's recent wedding in a scottish castle was bloody hilarious. The second titled "I agree with Pat Metheny" ("Kenny's talents are too teeny") is about comments made by Pat Metheny on his website in regard to the sacrilege of Kenny G recently heard overdubbing himself onto a Lois Armstrong track. What can one say about RT that hasn't been said so many times. Nothing really. I went with a mate who hadn't even heard of RT before last night - his first comment after the gig was - "Can that bloke play or what - I thought there were 3 guitarists up there - when is the new best of album coming out?". Yes RT solo with just his giutar, songs, humour & stage prescence, can win fans no worries. After 2 hours & two ample encores we rolled out into a rainy & steamy Sydney summer evening hoping it won't be another 4 years before RT's back in town.

Have a good one,

Frank , Sydney.


Review: David Lawrence

    When this mild-mannered English guitar hero wondered aloud during the first of two encores on Saturday night whether there was anything anyone wanted to hear, there were a dozen or so instant suggestions. He has been recording for close to 35 years, and the back catalogue is extensive. He had started with Sights and Sounds of London Town (the opening words are "Gillian she's" although my kids insist he sings "jelly and cheese") from his latest album, Mock Tudor, and much of the show was recent rather than vintage Thompson. He has a fervent and faithful following and everything was warmly received. But the older stuff went down best. Requests for the exuberant Valerie and the haunting Dimming of the Day (which slightly overstretched the serviceable vocals) were dutifully answered, although he didn't hark back as far as his Fairport Convention days. No Tear-stained Letter either, or Shoot Out the Lights or Hokey-Pokey or Walking On the Wire or Al Bowlly's in Heaven ... and nothing from his timeless collection of instrumentals, Strict Tempo. Still, what he played was a treat because he plays so well.

    You could swear he had a couple of assistants, but it was all from his own digits (except for an occasional touch of reverb) as he coaxed or wrung the full range from an acoustic Lowden. For someone whose lyrics have their fair share of death and despair, he comes over as a genial character, and there were a couple of jokey numbers, one updating Marie's Wedding to take in Madonna's nuptials and the other satirising Kenny G's "duet" with Louis Armstrong ("a meeting of great minds, how nice/like Einstein and Sporty Spice"). No one should have felt short-changed after a near two-hour set. It is just a pity he couldn't do a second show and correct the omissions. And then maybe a third ...

Glorious songs, great singing, from a true troubadour


Reviewed by BRUCE ELDER - Enmore Theatre, February 5

    On paper a great concert is ... from a Sports News such an artless and effortless experience. All you need are a bunch of great songs, some great musicianship, a singer with a great voice and an enthusiastic audience to applaud and cheer at the appropriate moments.

    In practice such a collision of circumstances is so rare that, if you're lucky and a regular concert attendee, you'll experience it once or twice in a decade. This was one of those experiences. Richard Thompson, pared down to a mesmerising minimalism (dressed in black and accompanied only by his acoustic guitar), delivered two hours of material he has built up over nearly 30 years. It was a near-flawless show.

    If you came along wanting to be seduced by Thompson's guitar playing you would have Cars spent most of the night staring at the stage trying to equate what was being Classifieds played with what was emanating from the speakers. For goodness sake, most of the time the man sounds asthough he's accompanied by a guitar orchestra. He playsbass, rhythm and lead guitar at the same time on the one instrument. And, if that isn't enough, every songoffers opportunities for some truly heart-stopping improvisation. If you have heard all these songs before -and who among Richard Thompson's fans doesn't know From Galway to Graceland, Dimming of the Day, The Great Valerio, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and Beeswing, just to name a few - then you sit transfixed as Thompson, who must have sung them all 1,000 times, finds new life and meaning, new nuance and subtlety as he gently reaches beyond the old recorded versions.

    If you came along for the singing and the lyrics you would be equally satisfied. Thompson has a fine, deeply passionate voice ideally suited to his songs, which range from in-your-face the rock'n'roll (he took I Feel So Good at breakneck pace) to delicate balladeering (Beeswing and Dimming of the Day were both highlights). His lyric writing is steeped in the English folk ballad tradition, embracing both story songs and hard-edged ruminations on human frailty and the realities of love.

     And if you want humour, Thompson, who was quite serious and po-faced the last time he was here, has a couple of marvellous throwaway numbers which will Year, Pt 2: never make it on to record. There's his scathing and witty attack on Madonna's Y Scottish wedding (complete with suitably Scottish accompaniment) and hissatiric tour de force I Agree with Pat Methany, in which he lambasts Kenny G for daring to digitally duet with the long-dead Louis Armstrong.

    It all works because it is done with unpretentious sincerity, great virtuosity, extraordinary musical inventiveness and an easy warmth. Thompson is about as close as the electronic global village will ever get to a medieval troubadour. He comes to town, plays his songs, enthrals and subtly educates his audience, and then moves on. At the end of the night you are left with the extraordinary sense that this two hours was little more than the tip of the iceberg. Where were I Mis-understood, Al Bowlly's in Heaven, Two Left Feet and all those glorious songs from the Fairport Convention days? Then you realise that if Thompson immediately came back onto stage and did another two-hour set it could be full of the great songs he omitted from this remarkable set.

From Shane Youl

Enmore Theatre Monday, February 5, 2001

Set list

Mr Rebound

When The Spell Is Broken

Crawl Back (Under My Stone)

Cold Kisses

Turning Of The Tide

Ghost Of You Walks

Madonna's Wedding

Dry My Tears And Move On

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

The Great Valerio

I Feel So Good

I Agree With Pat Metheny


Walking The Long Miles Home

From Galway To Graceland

Sights And Sounds Of London Town


Cooksferry Queen

Word Unspoken Sight Unseen

Dimming Of The Day


Waltzing's For Dreamers

Wall Of Death

Uninhabited Man

An audience tape exists of this show, quality excellent


2001 Australian tour reviews/interviews and photographs

Richard Thompson photo gallery.


The Richard Thompson pages .


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