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Review: Richard Thompson Band, The Sage Gateshead

RICHARD Thompson features in the upper echelons of most people’s lists of the world’s greatest guitarists and has done so for years.

Musician Richard Thompson
Musician Richard Thompson

RICHARD Thompson features in the upper echelons of most people’s lists of the world’s greatest guitarists and has done so for years.

An almost complete sell-out in Hall One at the Sage is testimony to the following he has built-up since his early days in Fairport Convention in the late Sixties.

He was joined on stage by Michael Jerome on drums and Taras Prodaniuk on electric bass so it was clear from the outset that tonight would be more rock than folk.

They opened with Stuck on The Treadmill from latest album Electric.

Thompson’s song-writing is often dark and gritty and his latest album clearly continues with a regular theme of grim, industrial urban life.

The sound quality of Richard Thompson and his band in the Sage was tremendous, ensuring great clarity for instruments and voice.

It was not only easy, but a joy to hear his words and follow his songs.

An hour into the concert, Thompson joked that he had played for an hour without singing a murder ballad. He then proceeded with a modern-day murder ballad called Sidney Wells.

While many of Thompson’s songs may be about misery, his performance was uplifting, warm and positive.

For the first encore he played solo acoustic, for his second he was joined by his band and played a cracking version of the Cream classic, White Room.

Thompson has a legendary reputation as a guitarist, song writer and performer. Tonight he fully lived up to his status.

Martin Ellis

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