Walk Down Abbey Road Wallingford, CT 7/22/01 review

Review by Jeff Bussmann (Switch to

Well into the first set, stagehands carted a solitary drum to the front of the stage. A wave a glee spread over the Todd fans; we knew what was coming. A man near me cried out, "Todd, bang on your ukulele!" The inimitable wizard then stepped up to a mic with drumsticks clenched in one fist and began to speak: "Do you have that one moment of the day that you wake up for, that one moment of every day that you live for? Well this is the opposite of that moment!"

The point of my anecdote is that Todd has indeed been sarcastic about touring this summer, as many of you have noted. However, where else but on the Walk Down Abbey Road Tour are you going to hear him play non-twisted, semi-recognizable renditions of the ‘greatest hits’ that he loathes to perform live?

The night at Wallingford’s Oakdale Theater began with the grotesquely overblown "Magical Mystery Tour". The number was something akin to a Michael Bay movie; big, loud, and badly directed, but a crowd-pleaser nevertheless. A sole redeeming moment in the song was whenever Todd shouted, "It’s an invitation!" However, the concert really began with the second song, a rollicking rendition of "Open My Eyes". Additionally, Todd pulled out "Hello It’s Me," and recovered nicely from a technical snafu mid-song. His portable microphone began to short out; thus, Todd threw the defective mic into the air and nabbed another in one deft motion. "Bang On The Drum All Day" was the third and last of Todd’s solo hits. He seemed to make the best of the situation, banging away with wild abandon.

The performers sharing the stage with Todd were simply amazing in their own right as well. Ann Wilson’s voice was as turbocharged as ever. "Crazy On You" and "Barracuda" were thrilling and "Dreamboat Annie" was enjoyable except for her unnecessary struggle with the flute intro. The silver-maned John Entwistle helmed lead vocals only during "My Wife" and copped the biggest standing ovation during the first set. The rest of the night he opted to keep himself out of the spotlight and let his bass do the talking. The sight of his fingers strumming away effortlessly was fantastic. Alan Parsons dusted off "Eye in the Sky," "Don’t Answer Me," and "Games People Play" for the show. Filed under the evening’s pleasant surprises department was the performance of David Pack. He held his own through lead vocals on the aforementioned selections from the Alan Parsons Project. Pack also sang "Biggest Part of Me, and "How Much I Feel" just as beautifully as when he recorded them with Ambrosia over twenty years ago.

As for the second set, I did not note the exact order in which the songs came; however, will relate them as best I can remember. "Back in the USSR" was a nice group effort, but numbers such as "I’m Down," and "Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" suffered from the same problems as "Tragical History Tour" (just kidding Rutles fans). Todd was positively electrifying on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Rain" paying tribute to the ‘quiet’ Beatle. He also performed "You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away" in all its stripped-down glory. Alan Parsons pulled a nice trick with the solo, acoustic "Blackbird". He proclaimed himself to be a strictly "Ooh, aahs, and sha-la-las" kind of guy, but put his fans in heaven with the brave performance. Lastly, after fumbling through the lyrics of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," Ann Wilson redeemed herself with a gorgeous rendition of "Maybe I’m Amazed," smothering the audience with her rich voice. Her vocals were also well appreciated on "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End," the medley that capped off the evening.

I should mention the miscellaneous Todd behavior that prevailed through the evening. As always he was up to his gonzo, yet loveable antics. Channeling Laurence Olivier from Marathon Man, Todd asked, "Is it safe!?" Additionally Todd proclaimed that we (the audience) had been bad and that we all needed a good flouting (huh?). When he wasn’t acting the Zen Archer/Philosopher, Todd gleefully banged on his tambourine all-night and bounded across the stage sporting an inexhaustible supply of energy. Seeing Todd acting his wonderfully weird self, no matter how sarcastic, made my summer.

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7/22/2001 - Oakdale Theatre - Hartford, CT

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