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Fringe music

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Rob Adams

This was the way to end a Fringe: a full house treated to a masterclass by an artist who covers most of the categories listed in the Fringe brochure.

There's theatre in Richard Thompson's shows, especially when he sets the scene for young lads in the 1950s looking for information on sex in Read About Love. Dance?

You certainly could, if so inclined, have danced a jig to Johnny's Far Away. Other steps are also available. Comedy, it almost goes without saying, was regularly on offer, both between and during songs.

And it wouldn't be stretching matters too far to describe watching Thompson's guitar style as visual art.

Music was where Thompson was filed, though, and the sort of performance that reaffirms the notion of live music containing vitamins was what he delivered.

His set-list roamed through a formidable back catalogue. He could hardly exclude 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, the ultimate rock 'n' roll folk ballad and perennial audience favourite, and it travelled like the finely tuned motorbike it celebrates. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight was another hit and another dance, with Thompson's guitar, as it so often does, doing the job of a whole band, and the more surprising inclusion of Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where the Time Goes put the self-deprecating intro about Thompson's career nose diving while his old band, Fairport Convention, still soar into proper perspective.

Weaknesses there were none and if proof of Thompson's sharpness being intact is needed, then the as yet unreleased Fergus Lang, about a land developer with "a fine head of hair when the wind's in the right direction", surely provides it.

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