There are very few artists I will travel out of town to see, but Richard Thompson is definitely one of them. When I saw he was playing the very small Papa Charlie’s Tavern and Stage in Lutsen, I ordered my ticket and booked a room for Saturday night.
I’ve been to the Papa Charlie’s restaurant before, but had never seen a show there. The ticket said doors at 8pm and I arrived a little after 7:30. Walked right in without showing my ticket and couldn’t figure out how they were going to set up the place. I ended up talking to what I think was the venue manager and he had me turn in my ticket for a wristband and said the small area in front of the stage would be standing room only, with some bar stool chairs along the back wall.
Once I knew the lay of the land, I camped out on the edge of the stage (stage right, about four feet from the mic). The sunken area in front of the stage is barely big enough for a ping pong table (which was actually what was there when I first arrived). A crowd of between 350-400 (per the manager) filled in behind me and we were ready to go at 9pm, when the stage manager turned down the lights.
Unfortunately, they came back up a few minutes later and they announced the show would start at 9:30 instead. Once he took the stage, this is what we got to hear:
- Bathsheba Smiles
- Walking on a Wire
- Crawl Back (Under My Stone)
- Down Where the Drunkards Roll
- Dad’s Gonna Kill Me
- The Hots for the Smarts
- I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
- Sunset Song
- 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
- How Will I Ever Be Simple Again
- Cooksferry Queen
- I Feel So Good
- Genesis Hall
- Johnny’s Far Away
- Wall of Death
- I Misunderstood
I enjoyed the show a lot and just kept staring at his hands for most of the show. Just amazing finger work, with the highlight probably being the solo towards the end of Valerie that closed out the 90-minute main set. I was happy with the song selection–Bad Monkey from the new album being the only song he didn’t play that I would have liked to hear (maybe the next electric show?).
His between song banter was in the usual Richard Thompson style, with my favorite line being “I’ve never been this far away from civilization before.” I brought a paper notebook with to record the set list (“for those of you taking notes”) and got one good shot with my iPhone (see above). The crowd was very receptive the whole night–I’d guess it was about half “true” fans and half skiers looking for some apres-ski entertainment.
Fun, fun time. Thank you Mr. Thompson!Originally published by DK on March 16, 2008 at 10:46 pm