Town Hall NYC

Review by George Crandall (Switch to

Finally, Todd plays a venue worthy of his talent. Town Hall is kind of like a scaled down version of Carnegie Hall. This says something about the artist before he even steps on stage. It says, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me." You don't get that when you play BB Kings BBQ Hut or the lounge at your local casino. Nothing like listening to Todd sing "Compassion" over the din of a thousand teeth gnawing on pork ribs.

The crowd tonight was a little more mixed than usual. Plenty of 30 somethings and newbies, mixed with the hard core Todd freaks. We were all hanging out front smoking (they haven't outlawed outdoor smoking in NYC....yet) waiting for the show to begin. Down the street, someone spots a six foot skunk. Todd and Michelle, obviously late, speed walk through the crowd to the backstage door. Applause applause. Stop for a photo and he's gone. The house lights flash on and off and we all go in and take our seats.

Royston Langdon was pretty good. His vocal stylings were a bit Anthony Newley at times but he could play the piano and write some well crafted tunes. Hopefully Todd and Royston will collaborate in the future. His writing style would benefit from some of Todd's tunefulness. No matter how complex or simple Todd's music is, you can always whistle the melody or main theme. There is something to be said for that.

Todd walked onstage to a packed house. Standing ovation from about half of us. He said he was happy to be back in the cultural capital of the world. The set list was similar to the other shows with a few omissions. He didn't play Cliche, Black and White or The Wheel. He did however, add the most excellent There Goes My Inspiration. It was the highlight of the show for me. What a great song. He was dead on for most of the set. Only a few minor flubs and one major meltdown on Hello It's Me. That's OK, I can forgive any mistakes.

Todd's not really a performer, he's more of an eccentric musical genius. Nothing compares to the insane beauty of his recordings. This is why I really loved the MP3 portion of the show. I would like to see a whole MP3 show, just like the old shows with the tapes. He could still tour alone, which is easiest, and he wouldn't have to worry about flubbing the piano parts. Just play along with guitar and sing. He could throw in a few gems like Long Flowing Robe or Trapped along with the standards. People really responded to I Don't Want To Tie You Down. Sometimes I think Todd underestimates his audiences knowledge of his body of work.

Damn, I am rambling. OK, so Todd loosens up about four songs into the show and starts talking about the war. He called rock stars pussies for holding their tongues for fear of being boycotted a la The Dixie Chicks. Absolutely! What ever happened to my rock and roll? Thirty years ago this audience would have cheered Todd for his remarks about our illegal war (Iraq does not = 9/11) and the frightening policies of George W. Bush, now they just sat there all fat and scared and quiet. It's good to see Todd hasn't gotten soft. He didn't go on a full scale rant instead he said he would let the music do the talking. He sat down at the piano and pulled out the greatest live version of Compassion I have ever heard. The best singing all night, even the high parts. Beloved Infidel and Lunatic Fringe closed out the political portion of the set.

The Beatles songs were well received but jeez Louise, two in a row? To his credit, this did boost the energy level of the crowd. Born To Synthesize with a little Marriage of Heaven and Hell thrown in along with the Jetsons theme was a real crowd pleaser as well. I like the new arrangement. I read a Todd interview and he was shocked that a bunch of electronic acts have covered BTS. I think Todd is completely unaware of his influence on musicians. NEWSFLASH!!!......Todd you are a legend.....I know you don't understand the impact of your body of work.........everyone else does.

One World closed the show and then back out for two quick encores, Hello Its Me and A Dream Goes On Forever. Hello was great but flawed, just like that rabbit toothed, horsefaced, rainbow haired freak that is still alive inside of Todd. That's the beauty of Todd. Todd is god, don't you forget it.

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4/23/2003 - Town Hall - New York, NY

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