Widely regarded as one of this country’s greatest songwriters and most distinctive guitar virtuosos, Richard Thompson delivers a captivating career-spanning performance at the Sage Gateshead. 

Last month Richard Thompson released his impressive new album 13 Rivers. The British folk-rock troubadour is currently out on the road in support of his new record.

Taking to the stage bedecked in a cut off grey denim jacket, a black beret as has become customary and armed with his trusty red Fender Stratocaster Thompson immediately launches into a pair of choice cuts from his latest offering. This takes the shape of “Bones of Gilead” and “Her Love Was Meant For Me”, which in turn sets the tone for the night ahead.

Despite the onus early in the set on Thompson’s latest material, he jokes with the audience that he will get to the stuff they know later, much to their amusement.

One of the many highlights early in the evening is “Guitar Heroes” from Thompson’s 2015 release Still. This being a track which pays homage to the greats who inspired the man himself in his youth. With clever guitar phrasing in the style of legends such as Django Reinhardt, Chuck Berry, Hank Marvin, James Burton and Les Paul, the song and Thompson’s blistering fretwork certainly hits the spot.

Other highlights include an epic rendition of “The Storm Won’t Come” and a crowd-pleasing airing of “Dry My Tears and Move On”. However, it is Thompson’s timeless folk masterpiece “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” that leaves the Sage Gateshead completely spellbound.

For the vast majority of tonight’s performance, Thompson is joined onstage by drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk who collectively form an incredibly tight power trio. The three-piece comes together seamlessly during tracks such as the hard rocking “Can’t Win”.

It’s been 50 years since Richard Thompson’s tenure with Fairport Convention. He recollects performing in front of a modest audience at the Newcastle City Hall with the band back in the day. Fortunately, as you would expect, a lot more people have turned up for tonight’s concert at the Sage Gateshead. Subsequently, Thompson takes the crowd back to 1968 with a passionate rendition of the anthemic “Meet On The Ledge”.

As Richard Thompson heads towards the end of his set he ups the tempo somewhat with “Wall of Death”; this being a track he composed alongside Linda Thompson before closing with the emotive “Put It Their Pal” and good old rock and roll number “Tear Stained Letter”. The latter of which has the crowd hanging on every word.

With a career spanning over 50 years, Richard Thompson is still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

Richard Thompson
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Event Date: 24-Oct-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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