Review: Manchester (NH) HIPPOPRESS
by Bruce Bressack
First published Thursday, May 26, 2005
Used with permission.
Do you know where your parents were last Saturday night?
Did you wait up for them and think, “It’s past 9 p.m. — how come they’re not home downing their Metamucil and watching Trading Spaces on the 60-inch plasma TV?”
Well, the Hippo found them at the Tupelo Music Hall, eyes glued to the stage, watching folk legend Tom Rush weaving his musical tapestry song by legendary song, story by hilarious story.
For the uninitiated, Rush helped shape the folk revival of the 1960s and its renaissance in the ’80s and ’90s. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor.
According to Rolling Stone, Rush’s album The Circle Game, released in 1968, ushered in the singer/songwriter era.
The first time I saw Rush perform was 15 years ago at an outdoor concert in Conway, NH. It did not compare to seeing Rush perform in the intimate, listening-room environment of the Tupelo.
His soft-spoken introductions to the songs were easily heard in the hall, and his humorous anecdotes led to bursts of laughter, wild applause and healthy hoots and hollers. (If you think your parents don’t know how to party, I can send you the photographic evidence.)
Rush ruled the stage, masterfully performing everything from “The Panama Limited” by Mississippi blues man Bukka White, to Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” to Murray McLaughlin’s “A Child’s Song,” to his original and classic songs “No Regrets” and “Rockport Sunday.”
As the audience filed out, Rush stood patiently near the exit signing CDs and old album covers that fans had brought to the show. He chatted with folks like they were old and close friends, and he graciously posed for photo after photo.
If you were at the Tupelo that evening, you witnessed greatness (and humbleness) first-hand. Rush sold out the show and he gave the audience a truly generous performance. And, along the way, he reminded all of us why music was so important in the ’60s — it was real, it was powerful, and it was an “agent of change.”
Bruce Bressack is a singer-songwriter, producer and freelance writer currently living in New Hampshire. He’s a 53 year old baby-boomer, ex-Yuppie, ex-New Yorker, guitar-slingin’, piano-slappin’, finally ‘retired’, television tube lover…