Richard Thompson Live Review
Shepherds Bush Empire, London - 25/02/13
Although his place at the the guitar legends' top table has long been assured, Richard Thompson continues to record and perform with a passion more suited to a scrappy young up-and-comer.
Backed by his superb trio - bassist Taras Prodaniuk and drummer Michael Jerome - Thompson played a set which drew on recent album Electric and a hearty slice of his back catalogue.
Opening with a trio of cuts from Electric - Stuck On The Treadmill, Sally B and Salford Sunday - the trio managed to produce a sound any other five piece would have trouble recreating, with Thompson's intricate guitar lines locking in tightly with his assured rhythm section.
As if to undercut his own greatness Thompson peppered his between-song banter with modest little quips at the expense of himself and his music, claiming at one point that the trio just hoped to be as good as "Peter, Paul & Mary or The Kingston Trio" - but no one in the audience could have been in any doubt as to his genius.
One of the very few guitarists alive who can play a technically brilliant solo at such a high level without just coming across as showy, Thompson managed to impart an air of grace as he wrought power, emotion and even fun out of his instrument, much to the delight of the crowd.
New track My Enemy was an early highlight, while sea-shanty Little Sally Racket gained a backbeat and audience participation.
Crowd favourite Wall Of Death shone with a sprightly country skip, while Al Bowlly’s In Heaven gave each member of the trio a chance to stretch out without slipping into self-indulgence.
A final encore brought several members of the extended Thompson family to the stage for A Heart Needs A Home and Tear Stained Letter, allowing Thompson his final quip of the night, "nepotism will get you everywhere."
To refer to Thompson as a national treasure would be to damn him with feint praise, particularly while he's in such a vibrant phase of his career, but a treasure he is indeed.
Stuck On The Treadmill
For Shame Of Doing Wrong
Hard On Me
Easy There, Steady Now
Al Bowlly’s In Heaven
Good Things Happen To Bad People
Did She Jump
Never Give It Up
Wall Of Death
If Love Whispers Your Name
Little Sally Racket
A Heart Needs A Home
Tear Stained Letter
Gavin Cullen @mtvuknews