I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
June 27, 2015 - 1:18 p.m.
My plans for last night were set more than a month ago; Ruth Gerson. was playing at Rockwood. Ruth has a special place in my heart. She started her musical career just as I started my music junkie lifestyle. It's when I started going to hear music every week and would go by myself if I couldn't find someone and would just go to Café Sine or Sidewalk Café to check out who was playing if no one I knew had a gig. That's how I discovered Ruth. We're talking 20 years ago. She was my first independent musical discovery and I was her first independent fan, not someone she already knew. It takes a lot to make me miss a Ruth Gerson show. A lot happened. I got a message from Janeen at WFUV that she had a pair of tickets to see Richard Thompson. He is my absolute favorite. I has asked if they had anything but was too late. But a pair appeared and Janeen offered them to me. He's the only one I ever ask to get tickets for. Others are good, others are great, but he's the best.
I said yes instantly then needed to get someone to go with me. If you are a regular reader you know this is usually difficult for me and always causes anxiety. I only had a few hours so I went right to the biggest Richard Thompson fans I know, Pete and Maura Kennedy. I only had one extra so I asked them both and hoped that they didn't duke it out over them. My money would be on Maura. But Maura had plans so it didn't come down to fisticuffs. Whew. This was the fastest I ever found someone to go with me to a show.
The show was at Town Hall. A nice easy place to get to. I got there at 7:30 for an 8:00 show just in case there was so sort of difficulty with the tickets. There wasn't. I went to the comp pick up. Nowhere did it say that but there was a woman set up at a table separate from the box office which had will call, and figured that's what she's there for. I told her my name and she said, "Oh yes." And started to get the ticket. She remembered my name. I was wondering if the FBI told her to look out for me and this was all an elaborate ruse to send me to Gitmo. She said it wasn't, that she wrote out the envelopes and remembers the names. That's not as exciting but I guess it's a good thing I'm not being sent to Gitmo.
Pete showed up right on time and we went to our seats house left. Before we went in someone asked a guy at the door if there were an opener. He was told yes and that Richard would go on around 8:30. He asked another door guy who said there was no opener. I guess he didn't want to sit through an opener. I have no objection. Last time I saw Richard Thompson there the opener was Sarah Jarosz. This show I suspected who the opener would be for the Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Richard Thompson solo. That's what happened when Lauren saw him. So yes RT opened for RT.
Last time I was there the show started exactly at 8:00. This time they weren't quite as prompt, it started at 8:04. Richard did the first set solo acoustic. It was filled with hits and ended with 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and Dimming of the Day. It was what he would more often use as encores. Oh and it was awesome. I always cry during 1952 VBL but I think I set a record this time. The tears started before Red Molly got on the bike. I have heard the song a zillion times. I listen to it different ways. This time I concentrated on the lyrics, I visualized the story. Well except for one diversion of visualizing the first time I heard it live with Carey.. I can't hear the song without thinking o her. Was that really my first time seeing Richard Thompson? Oddly I'll have to ask Carey. He was already my favorite musician then.
There isn't any aspect of music making that Richard doesn't excel at. He's best known as a guitarist but can sing with a voice I can't pin down. Is it a deep voice with a lot of high end? An median baritone with a lot of bottom? I just know it sounds great and unlike anyone else. His stage banter is always funny. I think people heckle him just to hear his responses. And then there's his songwriting. He's known as a musician but he writes pure poetry.
This old house is falling down around my earsOddly none of the online lyrics attribute them to RT. The one I copied says Bonnie Raitt. Richard Thompson is always just below being a star. That is perhaps good for his fans. He never became a dinosaur of rock even if he jokes that he is. He's 66 years old and performing since he was a teen but he doesn't rest on his laurels. He's still creating vital music. He doesn't do tribute songs to himself like so many of his peers. His fans, for the most part, don't demand the old favorites. They are open to the new music.
Funny thing, a lot more seats were filled when the Trio came one. So people were so sure they didn't want to hear the opener missed Richard Thompson doing is biggest hit. It wasn't even an early start time. I did enjoy the thought of them finding out what they missed.
With the Trio Thompson plays mainly electric with a few acoustic songs mixed in. It's very high energy and he has a great drummer, I was going to say a great drummer and bass player but I don't think I'm competent to judge that. I didn't notice anything special but that doesn't mean he isn't. I loved Guitar Heroes where he plays in the style of other guitarists, Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, Chuck Berry, someone I'm forgetting, and the Shadows who I never heard of. Pete said they are an English group that was never big here. The song is on the Electric Trio's brand new album, Still he mainly did songs from it.
No one I see does encores as traditionally as Richard Thompson. He leaves the stage, the audience makes noise, he comes back on and does multiple songs. Last night he did two encores. I've heard him do three. I've been at shows where the encore was longer than the rest of the show. He loves being out there.
I walked with Pete to Times Square where I hopped on the .
There's a lot wrong with my life but there are times it's good to be me.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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