Richard Thompson @ the 20th Century Theatre (10/4/11)

A Messy Introduction
So I was walking around Oakley one day and saw Richard Thompson’s name up on the marquee at the 20th Century Theatre.  I took a picture of the marquee and later mailed it to Scott because I think he once told me that he likes Richard Thompson.  I like him too, you know.  Richard, not Scott.  Well, I like Scott, but I was really talking about Richard.  It gets confusing when you don’t clarify.  And by “you”, I really mean “I”.  Or “me”.  And when I wrote that I mailed “it”, I meant the picture of the marquee, not the marquee itself.  Just so we’re clear.

An 80% Skippable Paragraph About the Venue
Despite the fact that I’m a Richard Thompson fan, I’ve got mixed feelings about the 20th Century Theatre.  On the positive side, the venue is within walking distance of my house, has a really cool marquee, and features terrific sound for acoustic shows.  On the negative side, the people running the place can’t seem to make up their mind if it’s a “theater” or a “theatre”, and I’ve never heard an electric show there that didn’t sound terrible.  I don’t know if it’s the shape of the space or what, but electric guitars always sound muddy and muffled.  That’s been my experience across the 8-10 shows I’ve seen there.  I’ve even seen a Son Volt show there that sounded like crap during the electric portion, but perfect during the mini acoustic set.  Or maybe it was the Jayhawks.  Either way, it’s a strange place.

What I Decided and Why I Decided It
In normal circumstances, I would’ve just gotten on the computer and looked up what kind of show Richard Thompson was performing during this tour.  Was it acoustic or electric?  Then I’d be able to make an educated decision about whether I should go to the show.  Unfortunately, this whole thing took place during that week of my self-imposed exile from the internet.  That was the week I had to look up Mauritius on a real live paper atlas!  I couldn’t get the information I needed.  Then I decided to not worry about it and just go to the dang concert.  Richard Thompson with terrible sound is better than most.  Just do it, M—–l!  Go to the show!  What else would you do that night, watch The New Girl on TV?!

In Which Disaster Strikes!
So I planned out when I’d have to leave my house so that I’d get to the 20th Century at exactly 7:00.  That’s when the doors were scheduled to open.  I wanted to beat the crowds, get in early, and find the best possible seat up in the balcony.  I left my house at the ideal moment and began my walk.  I was halfway there when I started to feel weird.  You know, off.  I didn’t know what was going on for a few minutes.  I continued to walk and began feeling weirder.  You know, off-er.  And that’s when I realized…
(finish writing about the disaster)

The Best Part
(write what the best part is)

The Section About the Monkey Who Never Seems to Learn That the Banana Is Electrified
(write this part, dammit!)

The Other Best Part
(write about the other best part)

The Setlist…Even the Two Songs in “Quotes” That I’d Never Heard Before and Can’t Seem to Find Anywhere

Main set: She Twists the Knife Again/Walking on a Wire/Valerie/The Choice Wife/Don’t Let a Thief Steal Into Your Heart/Strange Affair/Johnny’s Far Away/Uninhabited Man/1952 Vincent Black Lightning/Sunset Song/”Northern Winds”/”Good Things Happen to Bad People”/Crawl Back (Under My Stone)/Persuasion/Wall of Death/Stumble On/I Misunderstood/I Feel So Good

First encore: Genesis Hall (Fairport Convention song)

Second encore: Waltzing’s For Dreamers/Beeswing (both with Rosie Carson on violin)

A Question I Asked Myself During the Concert
Have I ever seen a better guitarist than Richard Thompson?

The Answer to the Question I Asked Myself During the Concert
No.

The Answer to a Completely Different Question
Mauritius is in the Indian Ocean about 560 miles east of Madagascar.

What the Future Holds
I was driving through Oakley a couple days ago and saw Matthew Sweet’s name up on the 20th Century Theatre’s marquee.  I went in and bought a ticket to the concert.  I didn’t even think about the whole acoustic sound vs. electric sound-thing; I just went in and bought the ticket.  I later learned that Matthew Sweet is playing his Girlfriend album in its entirety on this tour.  I’m very excited about this–I accidentally cried tears of joy this morning while listening to “I’ve Been Waiting”–but that show is bound to feature a lot of electric guitars.  I sure hope the sound isn’t a disaster.  We shall see.  Or hear, I suppose.

Oh, Look!  It’s Ephemera!

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15 Responses to Richard Thompson @ the 20th Century Theatre (10/4/11)

  1. crankypants says:

    Ahhhhh how can you leave us hanging like that???

    I saw where Matthew Sweet is doing the 20th anniversary Girlfriend tour. I actually saw him on that tour 20 years ago. Hard to believe it has been that long. I must be pretty old.

  2. crankypants says:

    *autumn* harvest display, to clarify.

  3. crankypants says:

    Now this comment thread looks drunk. I messed it up I think. sorry.

  4. Melissa says:

    When is the Matthew Sweet concert?

  5. homebody says:

    When are you going to fill in the rest of the disaster, the best part, the monkey, and the other best part?

  6. phantomxii says:

    Isn’t he terrific? I would’ve gone if I hadn’t been starting a new job the next morning. Nothing finer than “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” Did he have Danny Thompson (the upright bassist) with him?

    I saw The Bravery at the 20th Century. The sound was OK, and the band was good, but it was one of those shows where the management has for some reason decided that everyone wants to stand around for three hours. Bleah. Gimme a goddamn chair.

    • M-----l says:

      No, he didn’t have Danny Thompson. The first Best Part mentioned above was that this show turned out to be a solo, acoustic performance. Have you heard RT’s Small Town Romance album? His 20th Century Theatre show sort of reminded me of that. There were even a couple setlist overlaps despite the 30 years that have gone by. He sounded better in real life, though. My copy of Small Town Romance is an old scratchy, vinyl edition that doesn’t make for the best listening experience.

      I don’t think I mentioned it above, but this show featured chairs. They actually sold three different types of chairs. I bought a ticket up in the balcony because it was the cheapest chair available. I’d never sat up there before. It was kind of neat.

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