Electric – Richard Thompson

I saw Richard Thompson at the Sage, Gateshead (probably the best music venue in the world, but also the most earnest) a couple of weeks ago. For me, the gig was important for a number of reasons, this was the first time I had seen RT with a band and equally important, it was the first time I heard someone in the UK yell Freebird during a gap in the songs. Yelling Freebird at gigs is an American phenomenon going back quite a while (I have heard Bill Hicks live recordings where he gets very angry at someone shouting for Freebird). I had never heard anyone in the UK shout this until the RT gig. He dealt with it quite well considering he has probably heard it before as he plays in the USA more than the UK, but it didn’t get a big laugh in Gateshead, there were a few knowing titers and that was it. Maybe the next time I see Stewart Lee I will shout out for a Norman Collier joke, or even a Nor…an Col…ier joke.
This is a great album, and worked really well live, the guitar wigout on Sally B was particularly good. There are some great guitar wigouts on the album, along with Sally B, Stuck on the Treadmill has an amazing wigout towards the end. Harmonic dissonance, man.
Standout; The guitar playing of course.
An aside; Richard Thompson always looks good on stage, beret et al. More can’t be said for his old mates Fairport Convention, as much as I love them, they can never be said to be cutting edge in terms of stage garb. There is far too much bad knitwear in folk music.

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