Merriweather Post Pavillion 8/11/2002

Review by Marc Israel (Switch to

What a shocker!

I was one of the confused fans all summer who was in one "market" where Todd was to play w/ The Dung Beatle and Hall & Oates. Their promoters ran Todd off Abbey Road in Virginia, but kept him all shiny & new for his appearance last night in Maryland. Hours before the show I was poolside, resigning myself to go and scalp a pair of tix, when my lifegaurd-buddy, let me know his other front row seat was available! The Sun, Earth and Moon must have been in alignment!!!

I've now read that other shows had traffic problems, but not here! We buzzed there in a cool 30 minutes. I hadn't been to Merriweather Post Pavillion since Utopia opened up for The Tubes in 1985 (?) and remembered the 90 minute rush hour crawl that was thankfully mising! As we approached the back of the venue, it was only 7:55pm but Todd was well into "Love Of The Common Man".

We long-strided down the wide aisles and assuredly walked around the orchestra pit to find our seats absolute front row, and 6 or 7 seats of center to the right. LOTCM finishes up, I give a loud WHOOAA!! and tug on the bottom of my NWO T-shirt to show Todd and got his recognition with him pointing at me. My buddy was mezmorized and had no idea what Todd is/was capable of. Cliché was as usual and when Todd went electric with the H & O band, even I was impressed at the level of ethusiasm that Todd seemed to be displaying. I got a face full of Foamy during leads in "Hit Me Like A Train" and "Buffallo Grass" which with the addition of live keybards really rocked. I was taken back by the sweet rendition of "Parrallel Lines" ala unplugged w/ percussion added in certain spots adding dramatic effect. Great Arrangement!! It was noticeably new for me to see live as the rest of the set was mostly familiar arrangement territory. Kinda cool seeing "I'm Talking To Myself" and "Rock Love" ala 4-piece Utopia-style .Todd was very audience friendly, encouraging them to help him out during "HIM", and they were on their feet and singing like a bunch of bleeding hearts! "Rock Love" provided both the only noticable glitch when he grabbed the guitar that HE had accidentally unplugged when moving it earlier and lost the beginning to his lead and then a funny moment when Todd was setting up the final rock-drama of silence after strutting, dancing, and generally owning the front walkway in front of the moniters: he jutted his elbow back (for band direction) but the drummer wasn't on top of it. Todd looked back and THEN the drummer gave him the loud thump, about 3 seconds too late which got Todd cracking up!

I know this is going on a bit, but I was critical of Todd on the "IRS-IOU Tour" last fall and want to impress upon you all NOT to miss this show if possible!  At least I'm not telling you what I had for dinner!

Already drenched from some serious chair dancing, we mosied out for coolant and back in time for Round II. The first thing that you'll notice were the wide smiles on Daryll and Johns' faces. Their set was tight and thankfully danceable as when I had returned to my seat, it was half taken up by a lady who (I'll be kind!) took up more than her seat. I was a bit relieved when the crowd was immediately promted to stand up, as I could tell an awkward moment for both of us had been avoided. I'd have to fess up here that their doting fans gave one of the warmest welcomes I've seen in a long time. You really could feel the great vibes from our advantage point and the show was launched into the love-in that never let up. Don't kid yourself, Todd clearly benefitted from that, certainly in his re-appearance later in what some called the encore, but seemed more like Round III.

The pop concert was cleary taken up a notch when the band broke into the H & O's tune "Wait For Me" and Todd took the lead vocal for the first verse. This pattern of trading H & O & Todd mega-hits AND letting Daryll sing Todd's opening verse and vice versa is clearly the hook of the show. It was truly fun to watch the song originator react to the others' performance. There was an audible female generated swoon when Todd took the second verse for "I Saw The Light" and I could imagime these H & O fans picking up the new "TR Essentials" CD. "Hot Fun In The Summertime" to close the show gave OH one last chance to remind us of the clown we've grown up with as he mockingly fanned himself in time w/ the Sly classic. It was a bit weird seeing Todd sing to"Rich Girl" and such, but was really fun for everyone there. I'm not a big H & O fan, but they deliver the goods, opening up their songs for musical add ons and were very relaxed. I did feel guilty standing up as I would block the view of Little John, but when you've got the stage for a drink holder and foot rest, it's a great night for entertainment!

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8/11/2002 - Merriweather Post - Columbia, MD

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