This was the first "Todd Experience" for my girlfriend Jonquil. She's been teasing me for a year about my affection and admiration for the "man." Well she was instantly won over.
So play by play action (yuck superbowl crap) We got to Ruth Eckerd early, wandered to the back stage loading dock and proceeded to have security ask for a quick meeting with TR. We waited and waited, finally the head security came out and said that Todd wasn't even there yet, but they would come find us in our seats once he was there. We went and saw Royston open the show. It was funny because we ran into him at the backstage dock but didn't know who he was at the time...darn it! So Royston did a great job, my only minor criticism was that he voice was too punchy and energetic for the material he was playing. I think he's use to playing on a bad sound system and Ruth Eckerd has one of the country's finest halls for sound. Every seat in the place you can hear a pin drop on the stage. Royston did a mixture of Piano and guitar tunes with very intelligent and emotional lyrics.
Intermission came and Jonquil and I decided one should stay in the seat if security showed and one would go wondering about to see about getting backstage. I wandered around and bumped into the marketing rep and she said that they were going to allow only three photographers to do Todd's first three songs, and that we were not allowed to be intrusive or a distraction to Todd while playing. So that was pretty cool and I was pleased to be among the three. The head security found Jonquil and brought her down to the area I was waiting at to shoot from. Todd came out just about on time and jumped right into it with remarks about how he appreciated we were there to see him instead of watching Bush's so called "State of the Union" addy. . He looked very healthy and extremely energetic. Lots of cheers went up on that note. Todd said that bush's state of the Union was about "more depression, more jobs lost and more War for another year!" "And then there's those senate members wanting to bring back the Draft, wasn't that a fun one guys, I remember that crap all too well!" And then he jumped right into "Lysistrata" on acoustic guitar. The sound system was just so perfect there, every tune really turned out well. He played (reluctantly) "Hello its me" and got so lost in the middle that he basically stopped and said "Crap" and then try to find his way back into. Everyone cheered, I guess like me, everyone loves to see it when Todd flubs, especially one of the old songs he hates to keep doing. He got up from the piano and was very pissed at himself, you could see it in his mannerisms. Back at the mic he explained" you know, the piano has all the keys on it, all equally easy to hit as you just heard...thats why I like the guitar better, there only six chances to screw up on it!" Of laughter exploded all around. Camera note, if you have a Canon G1, 2 or 3, don't use the crappy telephoto lens for stage lighting, I'm so upset with the pix I got, the LCD showed there were fine, but most got a motion blue to them, long exposure time with telephoto is bad combo darn it!
As the other reviewers have said, he did a mixture of guitar and piano, and then brought out the Mp3 player and explained to the audience that, "Some people feel I'm playing with pre-recorded music with this ting or some nonsesnse. I have the whole band standing by and ready to broadcast through this tiny little device..mumble mumble mumble!" Laughter again, he was in rare form this night. He did make one crack about the Superbowl and the intelligence level there of...too funny! All the tunes on the Mp3 were from the Lounge Lizard tour, but still sound nice and fresh and you could see TR enjoyed doing those tunes. Mp3 song guys should be able to get laid. Song sets were identical to others listed. People really reacted to the Beatles/Lennon. There were only two ore three of us that knew where and how to clap to "One World." I did see a lot of old Todd fans that I've seen in other shows around this area, wide diversity in age but not many very young kids,, of course we talking about Florida where the median age is something 103! HA!
During his Hawaiian I don't wanna Work one of the girls in the audience yelled out "where's you Lai?" He replied "I haven't gotten laid today so no lai, but the night is still young!" He then immediately spoke up and said,"Oh I shouldn't have said that, my son is in the Audience tonight. He went on like a very proud daddy and talked about how Rex is now with the Florida Marlins and doing great, moving up through the ranks of the farm teams and loving every minute of it.
Todd mentioned royston and what an awesome performance he gave, and then mentioned that "He is family of course"(No sighting of Liv Tyler at this one) I would expect to see royston turn up at more TR occasions.
He played two encores, and on "Hawking" you could hear a mouse squeak on the quiet passages, the whole audience was just so wrapped up in the moment, and TR put a lot of powerful emotion into it.
So we wandered down to the stage door afterwards hoping to get in for a few minutes. There was a very very short list o names with passes. 6 names including Rex. I haven't seen any photos of Rex grown up, so when he came to the stage door I didn't even know it was him, either did the security guard. Upon the guard telling him there was no one being allowed in right now, Rex had to explain "Ummm I'm his son", and of course the guard jumped right out of the way...HA! So I'm guessing since it was a rare family moment Todd didn't want anyone else back stage for this show, and they split from the hall very quickly.
So all in all, if you can get tix to this tour, don't miss the opportunity, Todd is in a really cool place in his life, seems like just about everything (excluding some of the newer features on Patronet..lol) are working for him.
Peace, no War!
Thom aka DigArtz