review for 10/21/01

Review by Jeff Bussmann (Switch to

Northern Lights was a very intimate atmosphere for the show, albeit a noisy one. There was an opening act; however, I cannot remember his name, so I guess that tells you how good he was. Most of his songs were about two minutes long making the performance move quickly. Some of the numbers were interesting or bizarre, such as a song about a record where Side B should have been Side A, and another ditty about a girl who looks just like Robin Zander from Cheap Trick. Paying tribute to Todd, this guy did a very creepy cover of Lulu’s "To Sir With Love". He also played a cover of the O’Jays "Love Train" which warmed up the crowd a bit. Before leaving the stage, he told us that he had seen Todd’s sound check and that he thought Todd definitely had some tricks up his sleeve for that night’s performance; just what those tricks were or should have been, I have no idea.

Todd finally came out around 9:45 and opened up with "Love of the Common Man". The crowd immediately began heckling and calling out names of songs. Someone kept shouting for "The Wheel" to which Todd ominously remarked, "if we ever get that far…"—which by the way, he didn’t. Todd’s quips in-between songs were very amusing and sometimes better than the actual performances. He kept accusing the audience of being to mellowed out, which was a true statement.

Some of the evening’s performances were very nice, such as the acoustic "I Don’t Want To Tie You Down". I’ve always liked his cover of Marvin Gaye’s "I Want You"; however, I was hoping that he would have sung "What’s Goin’ On" in light of all the recent world events. "SLUT" was electrifying and really got the crowd excited. His performance of "Love Is The Answer" was also a treat.

Todd did a very haphazard rendition of "Lady Madonna" with Jessie Gress. He dedicated the song to all of those who were unable to make it to the AWDAR tour. But during the song Todd got lots of the days wrong, either of his own accord or from being distracted by the audience getting the words wrong. Todd also seemed to giggle every time he had to say "Lady Madonna, baby at your breast". Jessie held up wonderfully despite Todd’s occasional fumbles. At the end of the song Todd joked that he had better get it right before the take the tour over to Japan. Hopefully by that time Ann Wilson will have learned the lyrics to "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".

Todd’s piano playing left a lot to be desired, except on his second encore. At one point he remarked, "I think I’ve done enough damage there" as he left the piano and returned to his guitar. "Song of the Viking" was a little painful.

After the performance the stalwart fans were hanging around, hoping for the post-show appearance by Todd which never happened. Todd was holed up backstage and if you wanted anything signed it had to be passed to an employee of Northern Lights who would bring it back to him. Additionally, his tour manager, or whoever this woman was, had to go out and find "real mayonnaise" because Todd thought that the Mayo backstage tasted "fake". Let’s hope that there was a 24-hour Price Chopper in the area.

Just a note to all of you out there, if you’re not into his With A Twist style songs, this is not the scene for you. He relied on the prerecorded beats quite a lot and often struggled with finding the right track number. The show was not a bust, but it was not a powerhouse performance either. Overall, it was a very nice night that would have benefited from a little more planning and variety.

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10/21/2001 - Northern Lights - Clifton Park, NY

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