RICHARD THOMPSON **** GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL
WHEN approached in 1999 to select his music of the millennium, Richard Thompson cast his net wider than most. The result was the album 1000 Years Of Popular Music, now distilled into a highly entertaining and at times fascinating two-hour live show, with Thompson as a witty and informative master of ceremonies, with characterful support from singer/pianist Judith Owen and lithe percussionist Debra Dobkin.
Moving chronologically through the centuries, the first half covered a dizzying expanse of territory, from madrigals to music hall, from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas to Gilbert & Sullivan's Yeomen Of The Guard, by way of work songs, protest songs, carols, a 16th century Italian cuckolding song and the deliciously mordant folk song The Three Ravens.
The second half was devoted to the music of the 20th century, but what was gained in familiarity was somewhat lost in interpretation.
Owen's renditions of Cole Porter's Night And Day and Julie London's Cry Me A River were mellifluous but also mannered, while the acoustic set-up could not really do justice to the rock'n'roll era. And was Abba's Money Money Money really the best song to represent the 1970s?
But despite this, and the inevitability of winding up with a Beatles medley, this was an illuminating romp of a show.