I have been a Todd fan since 1972 and have seen him nearly every time he has performed anywhere within the Chicago area--maybe 30-40 times. I agree with several of the reviewers that this was the first time I was left feeling anything less than exhilarated after a Todd concert. Since the last time I saw Todd was on November 14, 1997 at the Vic Theater, I was truly psyched up for this show, and I just don't want to wait another year or two to see him in Chicago again for a REAL concert.
There were several points that I'd like to add to the Zoo discourse:
There needs to be some comment on the basic nature of the concert. It was part of a Lincoln Park Zoo Series called "Jammin' at the Zoo," in which the zoo hosts three summer concerts (June, July, and August). The zoo promotes these concerts as a fundraising activity for the zoo's animals and conservation programs. In the zoo's own literature (such as their Wildtimes newsletter), they do not even name the bands who will be playing. People come to Jammin' at the Zoo concerts for the ambiance, and most often not for the artists.
Therefore, a large portion of the people who came to the concert on June 25 had no great love for Todd. They came to Jam at the Zoo. And to drink. A lot. And to talk to each other. A lot. Those of us who wanted to really listen to the music and enjoy the experience had to contend with a constant roar that came from the crowd talking throughout Todd's set (the lions and tigers and bears and even the flamingoes were quite quiet).
It was a very long evening, since the gates opened at 6 and Todd didn't even start his set until three hours later. The wait was warm and boring, and there wasn't a lot for people to do besides drink and guard their precious space. The v-e-r-y l-o-n-g Nadda set only aggravated the drinking and talking problem.
While Todd was on stage, I tried to focus on him and drown out the zillion loud conversations around me. But even that was difficult since the sound system was so bad that the music was not able to carry me away. I found myself longing for something not nearly so tame as With A Twist!
I don't agree that Todd owes anyone an apology. If anything, I feel the need (as a lifelong Chicagoan) to apologize to him and the band for the constant, rude undertow of conversation. Todd sang his little heart out and the band played with passion, but the concert just didn't make it over the top of a very steep hill. I do, however, hope that Todd makes another appearance in Chicago very soon--with the whole concert (both halves). Preferably it would also be in a venue that has real seats and decent electricity.