Finally managed the time to uncover and edit the remaining photographs from these shows, including a couple with Dave Mattacks in them. There are a handful of other striking images to add here, as well. Enjoy! [February 20, 2013]
These photos come from an evening that I had eagerly awaited for months after the announcement of this tour was made. Just through luck, I had gotten wind of this date, and hastily bought tickets to both shows. Two sets in one evening was “icing on the cake”, as it would be my first opportunity to see Richard Thompson, along with his wife, and singing partner, Linda Thompson [at least, at that point in time]. The Fairport Convention tours had happened long before I was old enough to get into the bars or clubs that they appeared in, many years earlier, and I had already amassed quite a collection of all related recordings of The Fairports; Sandy Denny; Ian Matthews; Steeleye Span, and of course, all that was available, up to that point in time, by Richard and Linda.
The next nearest date, was several hundred miles further away, in Chicago, so this appearance at a relatively closer venue was a welcome relief, in addition to the fact that there would be two shows to see, in one night. As it turned out, the club was already quite full when we arrived, and getting seats at a table were out of the question, so I edged my way up to the right of the stage floor area, and camped out there for the duration of the first show/set.
Now, at this point in time, there had been no reports in the press of the stress between the Thompsons, so it was a bit of a surprise that almost from the beginning of the show, there appeared to be “something not quite right” with the proceedings: not musically – but just a bit rushed between songs, and not much banter between the performers. None of this really made a mark until the first set had finished, and Ms. Thompson made a very quick departure from the stage area, and quickly disappeared, while the remainder of the band lingered a bit, before making their way to the back of the club.
The performances themselves, as I remember them, lived up to every expectation, and then some. The band was tight, the song selection quite varied, and the sound mix was quite nice, from where I was sitting, up front. The second set featured a handful of changes [see this link for the song titles: http://home.myfairpoint.net/srabbot/rt/rtbase.htm#1982], and during the break between shows, I managed to move over to the left side of the stage, where I always preferred to shoot from. The lighting for the second show was much dimmer, and so the results made for a few darker, and grainier images, unfortunately. This was especially true for the few shots I could manage of Simon Nicol.
I have always kicked myself for not being able to snap some shots of the drummer, Dave Mattacks, but as he was really set up too far in the back, in the shadows, so there weren’t many opportunities to do so. After going back and checking on my negatives, I discovered that I had missed scanning nearly another roll of film, and lo-and-behold, I had taken a few frames with Dave Mattacks in them!!! These, and quite a few more images will be added to this post in the coming weeks…..
Some of these images I am particularly proud of, given the circumstances: especially considering the fact that I chose not to use a flash. It was my thought that the musicians would probably be annoyed with a flash going off less than ten feet away, and this would prove to be the correct idea a few months later, [October 13, 1982], when Richard Thompson returned to the same venue, performing solo: I came back prepared to shoot the show in the same manner as I had done at the previous date, and was surprised to see a “professional” set-up, near the edge of the performing area.
A photographer had put up a couple of tripods along with some small light umbrellas, and as Mr. Thompson proceeded to perform during the first set, he became visibly annoyed with the lights going off. Even more, the sound of the auto-wind of the 35mm camera, along with the clicking of the lights as they went off, caused Richard Thompson to stop after just a couple of songs, and request that the cameraman please stop. I was just observing, up to this point, and didn’t wish to be incriminated, by association, and subsequently decided that I wouldn’t take any photos for that show. Sure, I would have loved to have taken some, but since I already had a few from the show in May, I thought it better to just relax and enjoy the performances.
As an aside, between shows for the acoustic date, I was able to get Mr. Thompson to autograph my copy of his first [import] pressing of “Strict Tempo”. He commented in a surprised manner when seeing the lp, asking where I had managed to get a copy so quickly, since it had only recently been released, to which I informed him that I had ordered it for the record shop I was working in, at that time, for a circle of fans and myself [of course].
While reports of the Richard and Linda tour, at later points in time, focused a great deal on the less musical aspects of the performances [and, thankfully, before the age of Twitter, so they were spared even more intrusion into their personal lives], I still prefer to remember these dates [with the full band, and solo acoustic] as magical. The harmonies, the songs, the masterful guitar playing, and all in a small club, makes for cherished memories that will last me a lifetime. Not to mention the treasure trove of recordings they have left for us to delve into, on a continual basis.
Enjoy the photos, and as always, comments are welcome.
The official website for Richard Thompson news:
Linda Thompson Wikipedia entry:
Very good little article on the above tour:
NOTE: A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WATERMARKS ON MY WORK
While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.
No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs. On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night.
Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then. Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers: a venue for discussion.
Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here. This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.