Tower City Ampatheatre, Cleveland, OH 8/22/02

Review by Roger Steel (Switch to

Subject: Cleveland Review I can't say that I was that thrilled going into this show. This is about my 70th Todd show and the first one where he hasn't been the headliner. I'm not a big H&O fan (other than "War Babies") so had pretty low expectations going in.

The venue itself was pretty generic. A concrete slab with a huge, tent-like cover. Row numbers were written in chalk on the floor and seats we're fold-up chairs secured with zip ties. It's right on the river though so we had a nice view of the Cleveland skyline. The weather was warm and muggy and the eclectic mix of 40-something fans were pretty charged up. There were alot more people there than I expected. I'd heard that about 5000 people were there and am not surprised by that number.

Todd hit the stage promptly at 8pm. The fans greated him with one of the warmest welcomes I've seen. Todd warmly addressed the crowd and referred to the great Cleveland fan base as "my peoples". Sloppy acoustic versions of "Love of the Common Man" and "Hammer in my Heart" started the show. Just before Hammer, Todd told the crowd that he normally doesn't take requests, but this is Cleveland. The masses didn't seem to mind the slopiness and cheered Todd on throughout the set.

The H&O band joined Todd and they efficiently worked through "Hit Me Like A Train", "Buffalo Grass" and "Parallel Lines" to name a few. The tipsy crowd was really enjoying themselves. Todd went into a small rant about his tour itinerary and that he always looks to see where the Cleveland shows fall. He made a point not to knock any other city, but referred to his Cleveland gigs as "the mountaintop of his itinerary". Being a longtime Clevelander and Todd fan, it's always great to hear those words. The sound was what you'd expect from a large, outdoor venue. Muddy at best.

The band ended the 45 minute set with "Love is the Answer" and "Rock Love" as the crowd waved their arms and danced in the aisles. An overall good set for Todd, but not alot of highlights for me. "I'm Looking At You, But I'm Talking To Myslelf" was the pinnacle of the show for me. I would like to have seen a few more rockers and more Todd guitar playing. It was pretty obvious that Todd created the set list with H&O fans in mind.

The H&O set was good, but not great. They started right at 9pm and only played for 1:15 before encores. They played all of the hits and a few new ones including a song from Oates first solo disc, released just two days prior. The fans appeared to really be into it although Todd seemed to get a more robust ovation than H&O did.

Todd joined the group for encores. Kind of a strange way to end the night. Todd and Daryl played dualing vocalists for most of the encores songs. Todd picked up the guitar for a minute, but it was mostly just vocals. It was fun watching Todd share vocal duties on "Rich Girl" and "Wait for Me". "Can We Still Be Friends" and "I Saw The Light" were odd to me though. Seeing someone else other than Todd in the spotlight on Todd's songs just didn't sit that well with me. I'm a purist though so who am I to say?

Would I recommend the show? Probably. Would I see it again. Doubtful.

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8/22/2002 - Tower City Amphitheatre - Cleveland, OH

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