Last Night: Richard Thompson at the Showbox and a Compelling Argument For Sacking the Opener (At Least on Monday)

Richard Thompson played Showbox at the Market on Monday, Feb. 15.
To celebrate the birthday of the man whos introduced me to the likes of Brian Wilson, John Fogerty, and John Prine, we took him out for some of the thickest steaks in town before heading over to pay a visit to the most recent artist Pops turned me on to: Richard Thompson.

Did I mention the steaks were thick? I haven't eaten at The Met in years, but last night's baked potato was something to behold. And it set us back a few minutes. Doors opened at 7 p.m. last night, and to my horror we'd missed at least 30 minutes of Thompson's set when we waled through the doors of Showbox at the Market at 8:40. This is amazing (early!) and tragic (damn, we missed some!) at the same time. First, the latter.

Richard Thompson reminds me a British Alejandro Escovedo. Like Escovedo, Thompson tells compelling stories in his songs and dances, employs a versatile, magnificent band that impresses with its musicianship and improvisation. Right in the Austin City Limits sweet spot. We were fortunate enough to get into the room in time to hear him sing "A Brother Slips Away," a slow harmonic highlight of the evening. An early evening.

There was no opening act. And why should there have been? The room was practically full of people who were oblivious to the fact that it was a school night. Instead of standing through an opener, they were treated to two sets of exactly what they came for. I guarantee you nobody went home (at a reasonable hour on a Monday) saying, "you know, that was good, but I really wouldn't it have been better if a random band from LA had played for an hour first."

To the man or woman who asked the opening act to stay home on this tour: great idea.

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