By Dave Read (Sept. 3, 2022 concert) – It is a great treat to witness the elasticity of the Koussevitsky Music Shed at Tanglewood. A mere six days after it proved the ideal venue for a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, by two hundred +/- members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus, a lone man with guitar and voice fills the same space with music of equivalent brilliance.
Richard Thompson is a guitar virtuoso and songwriter from England who co-founded a great band, Fairport Convention, in 1967, a time when great bands had scant life expectancy (Electric Flag, Cream, Blind Faith, Moby Grape, The Fugs, Ultimate Spinach…). He left the band in 1970, had great success in a duet with his wife Linda for a decade or so, and has been a revered solo practitioner ever since. (The brand Fairport Convention continues, but not as a great band.)
Revealed in Thompson’s abbreviated set, is a man who has seen, felt, and imagined things he needs to sing about, with a rich voice that blends seamlessly with the brilliance of his guitar work.
It is mystifying how an artist, at this stage of a remarkable career, is billed as an opening act, and it would be unkind to suggest that the headliner may need the box office boost Thompson provides.