Todd in Atlanta

Review by Neil Williamson (Switch to

Who is the guy who has such yuppie envy? The place "creeped him out?" I've been going to shows at Chastain Park since it re-opened 20 years ago, and "creeping me out" is the last way I'd describe it.

Full amphitheatre with great sound. People buy seats or tables. Those with tables bring their own food (my God, what a concept!) and drink. You never have to leave your seat (and miss three songs) to stand in line to pay too much for a draft beer that gets warm within five minutes in the Georgia heat. Instead, bring in a cooler with your choice of beverage and save $25 in the process (ooooh, creepy).

Patrons also put tablecloths over the table first (Die you "tidy" yuppie scum!). Many bring candles, which -- after the sun sets -- gives the beautiful effect of candlelight throughout the 6,000 seats (see: "Before The Flood" Bob Dylan tour, 1974). What did he want them to do, sit in the dark eating overpriced hot dogs from the vendor?

Anyway, the real problem with Chastain is that most everyone talks through the shows and the tinkling of silverware ("If only those horrid yuppies would eat their pasta salad with their fingers!") is a huge distraction for any ballad-like performer. Hence, during the opener "LOTCM" and the follow-up "Cliche" there was far too much superfluous noise. Todd sounded great on both.

Todd has played Chastain before (as part of Ringo's All-Star Band) and must have known precisely what he the venue would be like. I did too and decided to fight through the noise to see Todd. In fact, I won't go to Chastain to see any jazz acts or other "low-key" musical types. It is simply too noisy if you want to enjoy the tunes. Last year Neil Young strapped on the electric and ripped through two hours -- that's the only type of show that allows one to really enjoy the music.

Back to the concert, I love "Hit Me Like A Train", a great bluesy rocker that overwhelmed the chatter. Buffalo Grass is an ok song. I'm just happy when Todd actually enjoys the songs that he's performing (as like many artists, they'd much rather play their new stuff and usually exude more emotion). "Parallel Lines" was good in it's "Vegas" version. For the guy who wrote a few weeks ago that he had not seen the "With A Twist" tour, the "Parallel Lines" of this tour is not Bossa Nova-style as that album and tour were. It's yet a different "twist" to the song. Sorry you missed "With A Twist." Great show.

I've never seen Todd seem to enjoy singing "Hello It's Me" and such was the case Tuesday night. He occasionally throws it in as an obligatory hit, but I'd just as soon hear him sing something that gets him juiced than to be bored as he goes through the motions. "Love Is The Answer" was nice, but the band was lacking throughout.

It was disappointing that Hall & Oates' band was incrementally tighter than the group that Todd had piecemealed together. Never expected that from the production genius himself.

Late encores with H&O included Todd wailing beautifully on "Wait For Me," D. Hall belting out "Can We Still Be Friends" as well as "I Saw The Light" and another H&O song (man, a lot of their 80's songs blend into one happy, shiny pop hit). Todd, Darryl and John Oates traded pieces on "Hot Fun In The Summertime." Great choice for a fun, summer night.

I think I missed on song in there. Cold beer, pretty girls, great Todd, average band, the sun setting with three hours of candlelit relaxation. Creepy!

God Bless America,


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8/13/2002 - Chastain Park - Atlanta, GA

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