This venue is yet another victim of corporate branding. Now known as DTE Energy Music Theatre (how romantic), everyone will forever refer to this place as Pine Knob, or "The Knob" as Todd called it.
No matter what you call it, the weather was perfect for a concert and the place was packed with a mix of Todd and H & O fans. I've lost count of how many Todd shows I've been to but it was going to be nice to see him play in front of a large crowd again
TR, resplendent in his Skunk Stripe hair treatment, takes the stage and promptly does the perfunctory acoustic LOTCM and Cliché. Can someone explain to Todd that he's not doing himself any favors by dragging out these tired old tunes, especially when his voice is ragged out. Drop the tuning, change the key or start off with something that doesn't tax his vocal range that early in the evening. Ouch.
After the troubadour routine, the H & O band comes out and Todd's set kicks up a few notches as people still find their way to their seats. Buffalo Grass was a stand out for some reason. It seemed that the band clicked on this song more than the others. At some point Todd starts trying to get someone's attention from off stage as he fiddles with his pedal board controller. It occurs to me now that Todd has the most equipment trouble than any performer I've ever seen. Two things come to mind. First, Todd doesn't handle this type of situation well. He usually gets pissed and allows it to throw off his performance. Second, I wonder if he uses phantom equipment failures to cover up a so-so performance?
Thankfully, Todd put down the demon guitar and found his voice as he sang the next couple songs backed by the band. As he breaks into a nice version of Hello, It's Me the woman's voice behind me said "Oh, that's who this is, I like him"
Say what you will about Hall & Oates, they played a solid set of one hit song after another with a couple of detours for some new material and a token song from Oates' solo CD. Hall still has one of the best voices in the biz and the Todd influences in his singing and songwriting were very apparent last night. As for John Oates, well he still has dark curly hair.
I was pleased and puzzled by the extended encore with TR. Pleased because Todd was singing well and having fun (maybe having Daryl on stage inspired him to sing at his best) but puzzled by the unusually magnanimous gesture of sharing so much of the show with the "opening act". Whatever the motivation, alternating H&O and TR songs and letting Daryl and Todd trade vocals was an inspired idea that worked to everyone's advantage.
All in all it was a very good show and, with the airwaves filled with programmed, Pro-Tooled, prefabricated teenybopper pabulum and angry "woe is me" screaming (c)rap I can't help but wonder where the next generation of solid songwriting and musicianship will come from.
Go see this show.