My first memory of hearing Richard Thompson is from a Saturday afternoon radio show in 1991, promoting a soundtrack album. The soundtrack stuff was okay, but the songs from ‘Rumour and Sigh’ were incredible.
I remember Glastonbury Festival 1992, where he was on the Pyramid Stage one afternoon. I don’t recall the music, although I think ‘Vincent Black Lightning’ got an airing, but I recall being hugely impressed and that Christine Collister(?) sang a couple of songs.
I recall buying the ‘Watching The Dark’ 3-CD box set a year later, in Lewes (the little record shop halfway down the hill, near the brewery) and it becoming a regular listen for many years (unlike the Ozzy Osbourne Live CD I bought the same day, which went to a 2nd-hand shop not long after).
In 1997 I dragged Janet to the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, where Thompsons Richard & Danny (no relation) were playing songs from ‘Industry’ and Loudon Wainwright III was the support.
Three years later it was the Union Chapel for the ‘Old Kit Bag’ tour. We sat in the front row and Janet was fascinated by the tendons in his arm moving as he played.
After that it got silly and in all I’ve seen Richard Thompson twenty-seven times. For all of those 27 gigs I can recall something, even if it’s just an image in my head of Thompson on stage.
From this 2006 concert at the Reading Hexagon, I remember…
Not a bloody thing.
This gig is notable because we saw Jeb Loy Nichols there, and Janet became a fan. The Thompson fans stayed in the bar, as Thompson fans are wont to do, and missed some fine music from this American living in Wales.
As for the rest of the evening? Nuffink!
I know I didn’t particularly like the album Thompson was touring - ‘Front Parlour Ballads’ was a massive drop in quality from the preceding ‘The Old Kit Bag’, which I still consider Thompson’s last great album.
In September this year, I went with Paul V. to the Royal Albert Hall for RT’s 70th birthday shindig, where we were blown away by a duet with Martin Carthy that was a masterclass in finger-picking. We were wowed by the contrast between RT and Dave Gilmour - both playing Fender Stratocasters but otherwise with no similarity whatsoever in their solos. We gloried in Bob Mould’s howling rendition of ‘Turning of The Tide’ and RT’s pogoing to ‘Peaches’ with Hugh Cornwell, and on and on and on.
No t-shirt for THAT night though…