Saturday, June 30, 2007

Incredibly underwhelming

I've seen Richard Thompson perform on more than twenty occasions. I walk away from most wishing that the show had gone on longer. Last night at the Calvin Theater, Thompson displayed all the reasons why he is considered the best guitarist in the world whom no one has heard of. Unpredictably inventive guitar leads, strong songwriting, rich evocative vocal. But there were two things wrong with the evening.

One wasn't his fault - the typically muddy mix at the Calvin Theater. This is an ongoing issue in which vocals are lost to the racket of the band.

The other, well, I'm afraid Richard is responsible. Thompson could fill four hours of playing with incredible songs. Somehow, on this evening, he decided to chose several songs from his new album, and lots of second-tier numbers. Some of the songs for the new album were outstanding. His live performance of "Dad's Gonna Kill Me," drew a standing ovation early in the set. While "Mr. Stupid" could remain one of those songs you leave off of your iPod selection when you rip the album. And unfortunately, when Thompson is touring with his band, he is tempted to take one two many of those incredible extended leads.

I hold Thompson to high standards, and unfortunately, I wish I walked away from the show not wishing he had played more of the incomparable songs he's written.

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