Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Ignorant Freedom of My Talking Mind

Saw Richard Thompson Electric Trio last night at Birchmere in Alexandria w Earthgirl and Planet and Air and Hamster. Some observations:

  • I have been seeing Richard Thompson shows within 200 miles of home since the late 70s.
  • I do not know though I suspect that, since I stopped following The Dead approx 1983, I have probably seen more RT shows than Dead shows meaning I've seen RT more than any one or any band.
  • And I do love Thompson, was seeing him long before meeting Earthgirl, but he is also one of the very very very few musicians Earthgirl and I both love (people can vouch), so it's been a regular date for us for (holyfuck) twenty-nine years (three or so weeks from now being our 27th wedding anniversary).
  • This year's Richard Thompson birthday post with my annual recitation of my favorite Richard Thompson story.
  • It is true that my last decade of dedication lacks the vigor of the first 25 years, though that's as much a factor that over the last decade he has rarely toured with band, playing mostly solo acoustic shows.
  • This is not a hard rule, but the acoustic tend more slower, with more ballads, and I prefer faster and less ballads.
  • Dude can still play guitar.
  • I will still go to electric Thompson shows, I no longer want to see solo acoustic, a point driven home about a third through the show when he did two solo acoustics, including the inevitable Vincent Black Lightning which, despite my not ever wanting to hear it again, almost everyone in the crowd wanted to hear.
  • Tight band, Taras Prodaniuk on bass and backing vocals, Michael Jerome on drums and backing vocals.
  • The dependably good Thai restaurant on Mt Vernon Ave which was the traditional before show dinner is now an Indian/Sri Lanka/Thai restaurant which not only sucks but suck slow, and we were the only people in the restaurant.
  • Because the restaurant sucked slow we got to the show in the middle of the opening act, Just Another Motherfucking Mediocre Singer Songwriter, and the only seats left available were hard to the left of the stage.
  • Because the seats were hard to the left of the stage I noticed that Thompson is wider and rounder than I thought, but aren't we all?
  • Because the seats were hard to the left of the stage I was able to watch Thompson's picking hand from an angle I had never seen, and amazing.
  • Because the seats were hard to the left of the stage I was able to watch the crowd. Understand, please, I am including myself in this next sentence: Know those PBS fund-raising programs of old rock-and-roll groups in concert in front of crowds of old fat white people?
  • Thompson is well aware of the phenomenon if not the metaphor I choose, but he joked about it.
  • Dude can still play guitar. I will still go to electric Thompson shows.
  • Though not tonight at the Birchmere - the second night. Shows are expensive. Will try to find playlist tomorrow to see how much it differs. 
  • Walked up to stage after Just Another Motherfucking Mediocre Singer Songwriter's set and snapped photo of RT's playlist:


Les Murray

Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.

Even this fool of a body
lives it in part, and would
have full dignity within it
but for the ignorant freedom
of my talking mind.


  1. Had to forego Sunday night's RT show here. Thanks for the recap. I like Vincent Black Lightning (which doesn't appear to be on the playlist?).

    1. Yeah, playlist was for band so the solo acoustics weren't listed.

      Once upon a time, approx 120 concerts ago, I didn't mind VBL. Hell, once I loved Beeswing, but after the 80th time....

  2. speaking of the gazette newspapers going out of business, and of rock and roll shows with old fat people on stage and in the audience - it's been nearly six months since i last posted this

    THIS is the future - you got to LIVE it, live WITH it, or get out of the way - Firesign Theatre [slightly edited]


    OLD AGE Rumi

    Why does a date-palm lose its leaves in autumn?
    Why does every beautiful face grow in old age
    Wrinkled like the back of a Libyan lizard?
    Why does a full head of hair get bald?
    Why is it that the lion's strength weakens to nothing?
    The wrestler who could hold anyone down
    Is led out with two people supporting him,
    Their shoulders under his arms?

    God answers,

    “They put on borrowed robes
    And pretended they were theirs.
    I take the beautiful clothes back,
    So that you will learn the robe
    Of appearance is only a loan.”

    Your lamp was lit from another lamp.
    All God wants is your gratitude for that.


    I was trying to think of a non-theistic way of putting Rumi's essential point here, and I guess it is basically acceptance of the Taoist perspective - that we, like all organized entities, have our beginnings, flourishings, and endings - that we are temporary subsystems within larger systems that were here before, and persist after us - although they themselves are temporary subsystems within larger contexts. As the Kansas song "Dust in the Wind" puts it, "Don't hang on - nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky" - but the earth and sky don't last forever either - they too have their beginnings and endings.

    Gustav Fechner, 19th century experimental psychophysiologist and metaphysical philosopher, said, "Of all miracles, the greatest is that anything exists at all."

  3. You do understand that (the) better Sanders shows in the run-up the more valuable his inevitable endorsement of Inevitability is, yes?

    I've heard the argument. I see the alternative as just ignoring politics, as George Carlin suggested. I'm voting for Sanders in the primary.

  4. if Her Inevitability is truly inevitable, then one must lie back and enjoy it

    the more support bernie gets, the more lip service his policy positions will receive, and maybe that's worth something

    sometimes surprising things happen, and who knows if our man martin o'malley might, through some combination of circumstances not currently foreseen, emerge as the victor?

    may the creative forces of the universe smile in our general direction