It's too late to tell you to go see Richard Thompson in concert tonight at Liberty Hall so I'll tell you about the last time I saw him perform, in fact the only time I ever saw him live. He played Parody Hall, the river market location, in October of 1986. They promoted a bunch of shows that year including David Lindley, Jonathan Richman, Adrian Belew, and Richard T. He did a helluva job and it seemed like he had a massive amount of material to draw from then. It's hard to imagine how much he has tonight in Lawrence, 22 years later.
R.E.M. played Memorial Hall across town that same night. They were in transition between the college venues and the big arenas. Thompson was on a set break if I recall, he played two sets and as I chatted with my old college girlfriend, who turned up unexpectedly, I backed into a guy. I turned around to excuse myself and it was Peter Buck. He and Mike Mills were there to see the man. We spoke for a moment and then he mingled his way across the hall. There was no mob scene or anything, I don't think many people recognized him. I asked Mike Mills when they were coming back to Lawrence and he assured me they'd be back, but their fortunes took them to bigger venues. In meantime, old Richard Thompson kept plugging away, writing, recording and performing, like he is tonight. Rock on.