GIG REVIEWS: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell with Richard Thompson
11/13/2013 (updated 11/13/2013)


01 November 2013 | Santa Cruz, CA | Santa Cruz Civic Center
02 November 2013 | Santa Rosa, CA | Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
04 November 2013 | Portland, OR | Schnitzer Hall
05 November 2013 | Seattle, WA | Benaroya Hall
06 November 2013 | Vancouver, BC | The Orpheum
08 November 2013 | Nanaimo, BC | Port Theatre
09 November 2013 | Victoria, BC | Alix Goolden Performance Hall
11 November 2013 | Edmonton, AB | Northern Alberta Jubliee
12 November 2013 | Calgary, AB | EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts
14 November 2013 | Winnipeg, MB | Burton Cummings Theatre

Emmylou Harris' performance at Calgary's Jack Singer Concert Hall was pure magic - Gerry Krochak, Calgary Sun

Richard Thompson on any other stage would be the headline act. But the legendary-in-his-own-right British singer-songwriter and guitarist was in-the-moment throughout his 45-minute opening burst. The fans knew the former Fairport Convention leader well, as evidenced by a warm welcome and assorted hoots and hollers through his deep and breathy delivery of set opener 'I Misunderstood'. His pure vocal prowess was only surpassed by some brilliant fretwork during 'Walking On A Wire' and 'Valerie'. Three songs into the opening act and already you just knew... this was going to be magical. 'Saving The Good Stuff For You' earned long, warm applause, while his unique take of a Ceilidh sea shanty - 'Johnny’s Far Away' - earned as many laughs as cheers.

"Do you want to hear what a loser sounds like?" Thompson joked with the appreciative gathering in front of 'Good Things Happen To Bad People', which quickly segued into the FC gem, 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes?' Cheers began during the first few chords of '1952 Vincent Black Lightning' (killer), his best vocal of the night on 'Dimming Of The Day' and set closer 'I Feel So Good'. It all seemed over in a flash. If you love music in its purest form, 45 minutes with Richard Thompson can never be enough.

Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell perform superbly on a night of sweet intimacy, Alix Goolden Performance Hall - Mike Devlin, Times Colonist

The night began with a superb opening set from astute British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson. The former Fairport Convention member was exceptional, even though it was just him and a guitar. He was chatty, and had members of the crowd (many of which cheered him loudly) on his side early. They were there until the end, pushing for him to return for an encore following his very strong 45-minute set. His was a selection of songs that touched on the entirety of his career, from ones written solo (1952 Vincent Black Lightning) to those penned alongside his then-wife, Linda Thompson. He even delivered a stirring version of Fairport Convention’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes?, complete with kudos to the song’s author, his former bandmate, Sandy Denny.

Thompson was top-shelf in every regard. There was an issue with the stage lights during his set, and once corrected by a stage hand, the crowd burst into applause. "That was more applause than any of my numbers had," Thompson said. “I must get this light thing built into my act." That was Thompson on this night: Perfectly poised, even when he joined Crowell and Harris for a few acoustic tunes later in the set.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell a powerful pair in Vancouver. Songwriting duo gets a little help from Richard Thompson at Orpheum gig - Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun

In the opening slot, British singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson gave a set that could have easily been a headlining performance. Thompson, sporting his now-traditional beret and beard, delivered a series of heartfelt, expertly played acoustic numbers including 'Walking On A Wire', peppering his set with anecdotes and stories from his seasoned career. Singing his old band Fairport Convention’s 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes?', he had all the flair of the folk champion he is setting the stage for what was to come. Answering a request for a mournful 'Wall Of Death' from someone in the crowd before getting "the big hook" ("That’s showbiz for you," he dead-panned) was a touch of class worth the price of admission.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell raucous and romantic - Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

Cult favorite British balladeer and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson opened the show with a long set of his own, later joining Harris for a devastatingly nostalgic "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again" and joining in on rich, three-part harmony on Crowell’s "Glasgow Girl." The crowd, almost exclusively graying baby boomers, applauded as songs began, offering standing ovations for both acts. It’s a good thing they knew the words, since most lyrics dissolved into mush. Benaroya Hall was not designed for amplified music. Despite its excellent curation, the Live at Benaroya Hall series of popular concerts such as this one is a real problem for listeners.