Around 500 people showed up to witness one of the world's most famous folk musicians perform an exhilarating 110 minute show.
Well, what can be said about the caliber of musician that Richard Thompson (April 3, 1949) is? Everyone who knows who he is, pretty much agrees that he is among the top singer-songwriter guitar players around. Rolling Stone ranked him as the 19th greatest guitarist in the world. Others list him as the finest guitarist not from the blues tradition. While such lists are very subjective, you'll never hear anyone say that he isn't among the best in the world.
There were many moments when I thought to myself that his acoustic guitar playing alone was well worth the price of admission. Thompson may very well be the finest acoustic guitarist who I've seen live. He's fluid, fast, mistake-free, damn near perfect without ever sounding sterile and machine-like. If you thought folk music was nothing but slow guitar playing, you'd be wrong and Thompson would be one of many examples that would impress even a thrash metal guitarist.
Despite being all by himself on the stage, there was never a dull moment. Like fellow Brit Billy Bragg, Thompson spoke quite a bit to the audience, providing the stories behind the songs and telling funny tales. It was entertaining, especially since he poses a keen intellect and a priceless wit. One of his songs, a decidedly fun number, was about how he prefers girls who wear glasses because they tend to be brainy, as the stereotype goes.
People were constantly laughing throughout that song as he made rhymed references to intellectuals and emotions (Krishnamurti and "dirty," anyone?)
Thompson opened the show with "I Feel So Good," a witty hit song from 1991's Rumor and Sigh. He introduced "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" from the latest album by discussing the various slang references that the US soldiers in Iraq utilize: "Dad" is Baghdad; "Ali Babba" refers to any Arab; "Frankenstein" refers to Humvees with special armor plating meant to thwart road side bombs. Also from his 1991 album was the most requested song on National Public Radio, the guitar finger picking sensation "1952 Vincent Black Lighting."