Now, on to THE MAN! First of all, I arrived at 4:00 p.m. to eat at the Gristmill restaurant which is right beside Gruene Hall—best baby back ribs I have maybe ever had and the beer was nice and cold. Before I went there, I peeped into the hall and there sat OH working hard on the piano. Security wouldn’t let me go close but I stood and watched and listened from a distance and OH was working his ass off, so those of you mortified by some of the flubs on the piano might like to know this.
I end up sitting in the third row with my fiancé and best friend (first TR show for both of them) and three others. Two of the nicest people you will ever meet from Austin who were absolutely having a blast and a gentleman from Monterrey, Mexico named Jorge who was probably 50 years old and had never seen OH before that night. His English was broken and I speak no Spanish, but after he knew I was a TR fanatic, he began quizzing me and I loved every question. Jorge had that same passion and love I had at my first TR show on April 18, 1981 at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA. He sang all the lyrics and even shed a tear or two of joy when Todd played “his songs.” Jorge probably traveled father than any of us and I count it as a blessing to have gotten to know him and to share his first TR experience with him.
From the start, it was clear that “anti-war” was on Todd’s mind. He opened with “Lysistrata,” talked about “some of us being old enough to remember 70,000 body bags returning from Vietnam,” commended the Dixie Chicks for having “balls” (sorry Todd, can’t agree with ya’ on this one but still love ya’), played “The Wheel,” and played “What’s Going On” (big surprise and awesome). After two songs, his voice was as good as ever and his guitar playing was once again phenomenal. The piano stuff was fun, flawed, but funny—with the funniest being when he actually fell off the seat during IWHMAD, which he recovered from by saying he told them the seat was too low for his fat ass. His charm, humor, and witt were really on tonight. The piano playing was not as bad as people in other reviews have made it out to be. What really made up for the mishaps was when he would immediately return to where he messed up and started over, but more importantly, was his voice. His voice was clear, powerful, and vintage Todd. I don’t care what anybody says, the piano stuff was great. Of particular merit was “Compassion,” and “Can We Still Be Friends.” One of the highlights for me was “Hello, It’s Me” which is one of my finace’s all-time favorite songs.
The crowd was rowdy and interactive and helped out on numerous songs with background vocals, especially during “Black and White” which was both a surprise for me and a highlight. He kicked it in the ass and we helped out with the background vocals. Every song was phenomenal, as always, but there are a few others that should be mentioned. “The Wheel” was both timely and excellent. It is one of my favorites and my best friend’s absolute favorite. “Tiny Demons” was surprising and maybe the best executed song of the whole night. It is amazing how many of his songs sound so much better live and this is certainly one of them.
Todd continues to inspire me and I can’t get tired of any of his songs. My poor fiancé has put up with me watching “Live in San Francisco,” “Live in Japan,” “Live at the Royal Oak,” and “Retrospective” DVDs over and over. For us aficionados, we just can’t get enough. The song list for this show has been published, so I won’t repeat it, but this was a show full of energy, interaction, passion, and as is the theme throughout OH’s work . . .love. Love really is the answer, and thank you Todd for another night to remember and for just being you. Please come to our area again soon!