For me, Richard Thompson's Japan disaster benefit concert at McCabe's on May 7, 2011, was the Concert Of The Year and the year is not nearly over. But no one can do better than RT, except maybe RT himself, who will be back at McCabe's on May 27 for yet another benefit show, for the very same cause.
Dressed all black and wearing his usual beret, Richard opened his set with "She Twists The Knife Again" and one could immediately tell that he was in great form. Sitting in the front row, directly in front of him, I watched his guitar work in amazement. As expected from an RT fanatic like myself, I knew very well most of the songs and overall I declare myself quite happy with the songs Richard picked for the evening.
She Twists The Knife Again
Good Things (this may not be the true title)
The Woods Of Darney
Turning Of The Tide
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Down Where The Drunkards Roll
Dimming Of The Day
I Feel So Good
Two Left Feet
Waltzing's For Dreamers
Richard is 62 years old, yet he showed no signs of slowing down. His vocals were as strong as ever, his fingers could still do the job and there was nothing wrong with his energy level. He remains a massive favorite of mine, and - to paraphrase the great Chick Hearn - I can't say that Richard is the best, but there's no one better.
Show-opener Alistair Anderson joined Richard for the last three songs of the set, then again for the three songs of the encore. Their interaction was something to see - they made frequent eye contact and mutual smiles were often present as they were challenging each other, especially during the playing of "Two Left Feet". Alistair's humorous body language and facial expressions were fun to watch. Overall, he was a great addition to Richard's set.
I was a little less impressed with Alistair's show-opening set, which I thought was about fifteen minutes too long. A virtuoso of his instruments - English Concertina and Northumbrian Pipes - Alistair is probably the best in his field, so the problem may lie in my inability to fully appreciate his musical territory.
|Richard Thompson and Alistair Anderson at McCabe's (May 2011)|
|The set list|
|Alistair Anderson (left) chatting with my friend Steve after the show|
|Concert Director Lincoln Myerson, after the show|
|Ralph and Laura at their first-ever RT concert|
|Signs in the window at McCabe's|