Kenneth Hite (princeofcairo) wrote,
Kenneth Hite

Lights Not Shot Out, Sources Say

So tonight, on a perfect June evening in the greatest city on God's green Earth, his_regard, gnosticpi, and myself hit the Park West for an evening with Richard Thompson.

It seems churlish to object to any aspect of an amazing two-and-a-quarter-hour concert spent standing about 15 or 20 feet from one of the greatest guitarists of the last half century, but as my title hints, he didn't play "Shoot Out the Lights." Or "I Feel So Good," but there you go -- as his_regard (to whom many thanks for the ticket, btw) pointed out, he's got a catalog stretching almost literally back to my birth, so they can't all go in.

But he closed (before the two encores) with a version of "Read About Love" that took the radio track back behind the barn and callously shot it in the head, played a heart-stopping "'Dad's Gonna Kill Me" (which struck me, as he described it after the number, as "a pro-anti-war song"), and about a third of the way through he hit us with one of the single greatest musical experiences of my life.

You know how, on the Great Plains, you can walk out in the late afternoon, and suddenly the light in the sky is yanked through a kind of grey-amber filter, and the inside of your skin pulls taut with the pressure drop, and all the sweat on your body shocks into ice-water as the air temperature plummets, and you look to the west and from horizon to horizon there's a low, sullen panzer-armee of thunderheads the color of under-exposed daguerrotypes rolling toward you at sixty miles an hour? And then your neck muscles twitch ferally back as three million years of savanna evolution start listening for startled predators, but hear the first temblors of subsonic thunder?

Well, it turns out what that actually is, is Richard Thompson playing "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" from twenty feet away.
Tags: chicago, music
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