review of Keswick

Review by Jim Cara (Switch to

I have been a big Todd fan for some time. Since mid 70's I would say. Followed him through Utopia and other projects such as Hall and Oats, Cheap Trick etc. It's the multi layered spectoresque sound that I love about Todd. First time live was in 78' in New Jersey. It was probably the most memorable concert of my life. Great sound.. and the band was simply magic.

Followed his recordings since then, but never went back to see him live.

On Friday night, we caught him at the Keswick.

All in all, I thought that the Trio was going to be a let down, but once they got into some classics, I found it to be wonderful. The vocals simply filled the room. KS and Todd are like one unit operating in sync, it's like they know what the other is thinking. They are nothing less than magic.

I would have liked to hear more Classic Todd and Utopia, such as Last Ride, Just One Victory, Saw The Light, etc.. but what he did play worked well with the trio. Todd's voice is as strong as ever. I did not really like Todd's electric guitar solos. It seems that the recorded solos are always so strong and substantial, but when he plays live, he tends to be very artistic, and lacks playing in key, or possibly does this to be expressive. On many live recordings, the solos are very different. Maybe it's just Todd's way of expressing the feel of the moment.. but at times it sacrifices substance and melody.

I don't think Todd's tunes need guitar solos, the songs are simply fuzzy, heartwarming, and powerful.. without the need for excess electrical mayhem. Todd's material speaks for itself, he is a magical lyricist and songwriter.

He then brought out another guitarist who proceeded to make more mayhem out of the material. Jesse (?) played on several tunes and overplayed wherever there was a hole. Todd even threw some zingers his way with comments like.. "riff not solo.. okay"....

As far as technical playing ability.. Jesse had it all over Todd.. but his playing did not really add much to the material. In fact, I thought the band sounded better when they were 3 people. In my opinion again.. Todd's songs don't need the overwhelming solo guitar that seemed to be part of this tour package. I would have rather heard Todd being expressive in Todd's way.. than heard this guy blaze over all of the songs.

Still... Todd is Magical. He has inspired so many people, and created a sound that has been often imitated, but never quite really matched. If I had to take a small amount of excess baggage in order to hear his material.. it is well worth it. Todd is probably one of the greatest artists and writers in our lifetime.

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7/7/2000 - Keswick Theatre - Glenside, PA

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