ODEON -- CLEVELAND, OH -- 6/27/99

Review by Bill Bricker (Switch to

I always love your reviews, Ron, and now, having been at a show you covered, I see the beauty even more. You capture things that accurately reflect the experience--not just a set list and distant musings like "professional critics".


I just want to add a couple things and embellish here and there based on my experience.


I arrive about 6 to see nearly 100 people in line. Cool. Within an hour it continues down the long block out of sight which is great to see.

A man is there with his small son. Not his first Todd show. A pro! Several people breeze by calling out for tickets.

Fate arranges that I am standing behind some long lost friends. One is picked out to join the stage during the Tiki set. "Can I touch you? Your special!" Terry is tickled pink. The rain prevents adventures to see who else I might know. Bummer. Sam's umbrella protects our "star" and makes us really "close" friends.


Band tunes emanate from the dark outside walls. It continues for many minutes as the news of last night's hot and sonically flawed show and the short Chicago event circulates. We get a preview of the ST modem noise. It is clear both sets will take place. Whew!


Smallish Agora-like bar/club with virtually no seats and no ambiance. The Flats setting is quaint and feels safe. Lots of nearby eating and drinking. We hang with a clutch of fans at a BW3 after hounding Todd for autographs (more on that later).

A long bar with a few stools takes up the back side and the small stage is left. There's a very small balcony area half of which is blocked by spot lights. We elect to go center stage. The people are three rows deep already. No "up the nose view" or guitar strumming possibilities. That's just fine.


The floor fills fairly quickly. We are locked in for the night, but no terrible squished sardine effect. I scan the crowd. Not particularly young. I don't feel out of place. A couple senior citizens--one with a full, white, long beard--looks like an old prospector in a baseball cap. He grooved the whole night.

Ron (who could be Todd's twin if he died his hair and put on shades) is there. He denies ever having claimed to be TR in order to get lucky. His skillful, "I never had to" reply leaves wiggle room if challenged.

No, the shirt I carry is not for sale.

There are a couple excessively bouncy fans, but most just foot-tap and head-bob. Mid-show, refer smoke wafts by. Now it feels like a concert.


It's crowded. The Tiki drape can only be 10 to 12 feet back and the drums are on a small platform which leaves very little room for Todd to jump about (although he manages several decent attempts during LOVE IN ACTION and at least one other). There are 10 guitars in sight. Tuning goes on 4ever.


Loud but not deafening. Todd's mike is muted somehow noticeable when the roadie checks it. It does not get adjusted. ???!!??? The bass blasts. The Vox are up in the mix. Todd's lead could have been punched more. Overall, not a major distraction. The technology seems to work.


The Surf doesn't just talk-it roars and "the crowd are loving it!" Todd: "I LOVE YOU!!!!" The vocals get punched mid song. You feel it push you back. Alive. The highest notes are a stretch. The status of this song rises.

B&W: 4 guitars is enough. Todd plays all leads. Jesse handles the freaky noises with style. I am complete.

Ferenzik blows the Drive intro. Todd screams "Watch me mother fucker!" with humor. His midsong cue is forced and amuses. I yell "Play something loud!" Someone else shouts out "throw away your computer!"

The whole place is singing the Utopia tunes. Are we in church? Kasim seems to notice. I resist the urge to throw my Utopia T-shirt on stage mid-performance. Could have been a moment.

Todd blows no lyrics in the first set. During one song he lets the fans strum during a solo. Several times he positions himself right at center stage about to fall into the crowd as he wails. The band is distracted by his solo antics in EPIPHANY and Kasim barely saves the BG vox. He's laughing.

Ferenzik plays well, but looks somewhat out of place. Kasim is cool as a cucumber, black pinstriped shirt--how do you sing and chew gum at the same time? Prairie is unrecognizable in a yellow cap and shades. It don't stop him from banging on them drums. Never saw TR in jeans before. Weirdness. We never see his eyes. Jesse was born to rock.

SET TWO... later.


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6/27/1999 - Odeon - Cleveland, OH

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