Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
applewood | everywhere and nowhere | 12/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having only seen Richard perform solo/acoustic I'm especially glad to get this recent (7/23/03) performance showing him in a sparse tight 4 piece band, in front of an appreciative crowd in Providence RI. The sound quality and filming is very good (unobtrusive camera work with lots of clear close ups of his guitar playing). Nothing flashy, just a clean and simple presentation of an extraordinary talent. Eventhough he was touring his lastest CD, Old Kit Bag, he plays here a broad mix of his classics (only 4 out of 13 tracks come from his latest CD).
The DVD holds up equally well as a CD/audio performance (the guitar solos seem alot hotter with audio on only), but I like seeing Thompson with his underspoken style playing with joy and humor, creative dissonance and complete mastery of his material. It is amazing how he can make a little progression of minor chords say so much. With him, his old buddy the multi-talented Pete Zorn adds a dramatic element (on sax, acoustic guitar and mandolin), while Rory McFarland contributes a solid backing on the upright and electric basses, and Earl Harvin gives a sensitive and passionate performance on the smallest drum kit I've seen used in a rock band since the late 60's!
The bonus selections are a mixed bag, from gentle solo acoustic '81 performances to a darkly lit mid 80's rock show, and from a BBC TV performance (with innane interview), and a fine Austin City Limits 3 piece acoustic show from 2001. I'd give these on their own maybe a three star rating, but as bonus material they make a nice perspective of his artistic development. What really blows me away again and again is how he has been so consistent ever since his teenage debut in the mid 60's with Fairport Convention. He has gotten better in someways, in his song writing especially and his wry stage presence, but he has remained true and distinctive in his sound. This is noticable again in how the 9 older songs in the Providence show don't sound dated or the new ones jaded in the least.
This DVD should be instantly welcomed by his loyal fans but it'll also impress anyone they show it to. I'm not sure tho' if it will win him many new fans since it is so mature and tasteful and masterful in such a subtle way. Many are called but few are chosen....Thanks Richard for being yourself.
Steve Ford | Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Live In Providence was recorded at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, a dance barn with a raised stage and no seating. (Thompson quips that "it's a shame to see you old people standing up".) That's the ambience - more club date than concert. The look is good, with the stage mostly bathed in blue light.
The Band: Pennsylvania-born Pete Zorn (guitar, mandolin, sax) has lived in London since the 70s, and his association with Richard Thompson goes back at least 20 years (and he appears on the Old Grey Whistle Test extra). Bassist Rory McFarlane toured with Thompson in the 80s and has played and recorded extensively with fellow RTB alumnus Christine Collister. (He plays bass on the Across A Crowded Room extras.) Texan Earl Harvin (drums and percussion) -the only new hand - heads his own jazz trio, and has worked with a diverse range of rock acts. He's a gun.
The Songs: The song list is diverse, with four songs from The Old Kit Bag (2003) and a good range of material from throughout 80s and 90s. Three songs are from the greatest Richard (and Linda) Thompson LP, Shoot Out the Lights.
The set begins with the vintage 'Tear Stained Letter' (from The Hand of Kindness, 1983), which comes off like English folk strained through Leiber and Stoller, the audience happily singing the chorus at Thompson's request. From the get-go you understand that the Richard Thompson Band is a much different experience to Thompson solo. His first brief Stratocaster solo demonstrates that Thompson is as much the master of electric guitar as he is on acoustic six and tweleve string. The blistering second solo confirms it.
Next are two songs from The Old Kit Bag, which have already taken on the patina of old favourites - 'Gethsemane' and 'Outside of the Inside' - Zorn's mandolin and Harvin's percussion lending just the right Eastern textures to the latter. Thompson's solo is an understated miracle of imagination.
'Razor Dance' (You? Me? Us?, 1996) picks up the tempo, with McFarlane switching to fretless bass.
Al Bowlly's 'In Heaven' (Daring Adventures, 1986) brings it back down to a cocktail jazz feel, with Thomson (acoustic guitar), Zorn (sopranino sax) and Harvin (using brushes), all getting welcome solo space.
'One Door Opens' is another of the best songs from The Old Kit Bag. It's an "unplugged" number, with Thompson staying with acoustic, Zorn on mandolin, McFarlane on upright bass and Harvin playing tabla.
Thompson goes back to electric guitar for the classics 'Walking on a Wire' and 'Shoot Out The Lights', both delivered with conviction. Thomson's solos are again flawless, but 'Shoot Out the Lights' is diminished a little by Zorn's mandolin, which is too high in the mix - loud and energetic, but not adding much to the song.
'Can't Win' (Amnesia, 1986) is the highlight of the show, starting out low key and building to a magnificent climax. Thompson's extended Strat solo is once again seemingly effortless, but brilliant. Someone once said that Richard Thompson is incapable of playing a boring guitar solo. I agree.
After that, a solo acoustic number is appropriate, and 'Vincent Black Lightning 1952' (Rumour and Sigh, 1991) is one of the best. (Would an audience let RT leave without him playing it?)
'Crawl Back' (Mock Tudor, 1999) is played with style and humour, with interpolating lyrics from a couple of Jamaican classics. Harvin adds something on drums, building on Dave Mattacks' playing on the LP version.
'Man in Need' is the third song from Shoot Out the Lights and by now the band is in a seriously tight groove. Barely pausing for breath, they launch into the closer, 'Jealous Words' (The Old Kit Bag) - perhaps not on a par with the very best RT songs, but it rocks, and it's excuse for yet another sensational guitar solo.
The Extras: Three songs from Across a Crowded Room (a 1986 concert video), a song and an interview from The Old Grey Whistle Test (1984), two songs from Austin City Limits (2001), and another two from Videowest's Guitar Player sessions (1981). The extras are all worthwhile, although the video of Across A Crowded Room is surprising fuzzy, with a good deal of bleed between the colours. But the sound is good, and it's great to see RT singing with Clive Gregson and Christine Collister.
Sound and vision: Both excellent, although those with 16:9 screens may be disappointed by the 4:3 format.
S. R. | 11/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rt's band is incredible in this eclectic performance in RI. Pete Zorn is a hoot to watch and listen to. The Old Kit Bag is well represented along with a handful of classics including a stunning version of "Walking on a Wire", and "Shoot out the Lights". One of the wildest points of the show is Pete Zorn's intense mandoline solos during 'shoot ou the lights', which after several bars into it, Pete just goes completely nuts, eyes rolling back in his head, and just absolutely beats the heck out of his instrument, torturing the mandoline while wrenching sound from it. It's amusing and compelling to watch. RT's guitars really sound tough and bare, while Zorn's acoustics stands out well in the mix. Picture quality is a bit grainy I've noticed, not too much, though......a couple shots from the back of the theatre were a bit soft. Sound quality is right on, here. A 5.1 mix thats not too "surroundy". RT's playing is really off the wall showing a gutsy side of the guitarist who fiercely taking chances with each stream-of-concience solo. He's plays a mean set of non-standard riffs that can really take you by surprise in the directions his solos take. Overall one of my best picks of the year."
Stunning concert covers variety of material not just "The Ol
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Thompson prior to his performance of "Outside on the Inside" here humorously mentions one critic who stated("you know how they are")that this song made "Sting sound humble and unprentious...I like that...I can work with that". He then performs a stunning version of the song supported by Pete Zorn on double bass, Michael Jerome on drums and Tom Dube. His stage demeanor and performances are all that--funny as heck and then he pulls off an amazing, powerful performance.
This show shot in 2003 at Lupo's and unpretentiously directed by Eric Masunaga captures Thompson and his band in a top notch performance. The only flaw with the DVD is it's too short--many of Thompson's shows can go well over the two hour mark and I suspect that many songs are missing from this terrific show. I wasn't at this show so can't say what the complete set list was but the following songs get a great work out on this set:
Gethsemane, Tear Stained Letter ("Hand of Kindness"), "Outside of the Inside", "Razor Dance"(from "You? Me? Us?"), "Al Bowlley's in Heaven" (from "Dangerous Adventures"), "Walking on a Wire" ("Shoot Out the Lights"), "Can't Win"("Amnesia"), "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" ("Rumor and Sigh"), "Crawl Back", "Man in Need" ("Shoot Out the Lights"), "Jealous Words".