Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mesmerising Man in Black; ALAN NICHOL Reviews Richard Thompson at the Gala Theatre in Durham

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mesmerising Man in Black; ALAN NICHOL Reviews Richard Thompson at the Gala Theatre in Durham

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

THE name is fairly commonplace and his unassuming air adds to the natural humility of the man who has around 60 albums (in all guises) under his belt.

But any perceived diffidence quickly evaporates as the London-born singer/songwriter/ guitarist takes to the stage.

ALAN reviews He is mesmerising and witty, with an instant rapport with the Gala's full house. Richard Thompson is equally at home playing a solo acoustic gig, as he was here, or fronting his powerhouse electric band.

Thompson Gala Dur He brings the same intensity, flair and variety to each format - a significant virtue that very few performers cs an accomplish.

Thompson's extensive back catalogue contains more gems than Hatton Garden - as the list of cover versions of his work affirms - but he appears to be able to recall them at will.

Not only that, he can drop into the work of others with equal alacrity as he did here with Hank Penny's risible drinker's warning, Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes At Me. Thompson played/sang for around a 100 minutes, a single set, and the sound was tack-sharp throughout, with his acoustic guitar providing a big fat sound on which to layer his vocals.

Starting with three of his older songs - She Twists The Knife Again, Walking On A Wire and Turning Of The Tide - he was quickly able to bed himself in.

Arguably his most requested song, the bad-boy biker ballad, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, came early in the set when most performers would have held it back for the encore. Not Thompson. He had more up his sleeve.

He delivered a reverb-heavy Crawl Back (with a little help from the audience) which resounded in the packed theatre. Flicking the emotional switch, he reverted to studied reflection with (his erstwhile friend and bandmate) Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where The Time Goes, before tearing into his tale of an aggressive ex-con, Feel So Good. …

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