Scott and I met up with Larry before the show outside the venue (after missing him at the dinner/brewski spot before the show), as well some other great fans. Having all reserved seating, there wasn't the line of people waiting until the doors opened at 7pm.
Scott, Larry and I compared notes on our seats - we didn't have tickets together, as we all got our tickets at different times. We waited in the lobby for a while, and I watched and listened to the fans talking. Like every show, there were fans who had seen Todd so many times, and it was great to hear the stories of tours of old, and a lot of locals were able to place a tour by where he played in the area.
As we went into the auditorium, Scott and I watched the place slowly fill up - too slow, as we'd have had it. Scott had a second row seat, and I sat with him through opening act Joe Myers' set. Myers was as skilful as he sounds on his albums, and while he did play well for the crowd, it was too short, and as Scott commented to me, he played to the audience, with graceful covers of All Along The Watchtower and Here Comes The Sun taking the place of original material that would have better showcased his talents on guitar and vocals. Too short - but much appreciated by this fan.
Todd's setlist in Tempe was very similar to Boulder's show, with the addition of three songs and a false start on a fourth. Todd wasn't in the best of moods - somewhat perturbed at the venue, perhaps, and the addition of some idiotic comments from the audience only fueled Todd's "fire." But being the showman he is, Todd diffused his unease with his usually cynical brand of humor. His banter was biting at times, funny at others, and he was mostly happy to be interacting with his core fans once again - the people that understand him best (never mind that one so-called fan that wanted him to continue playing, threatening a trip to the desert for some Burning Man re-enactment).
In addition to the songs he played in Boulder (and he did play all of those tunes), Todd also played Cliche, then Born To Synthesize - first that jazzy version he played on the With A Twist tour, but at times switching closer to the vocalizations of the original version. Todd played an additional song on the second encore, finishing the evening with a cover of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Earlier in the evening, he began to play a request, Hurting For You on piano, but was unable to remember the song on piano and quickly abandoned it for Bang The Drum on ukulele.
After the show, we went around to where Larry had seen Todd exit the venue earlier, and the car that Todd had hopped into earlier was parked there. Thinking that there was no way Todd could 'escape' our watchful eyes, I watched both the back and front and waited as we saw a lot of fans still taking it all in after the show. I chatted with several fans, including Mike (who came down from Boulder, and I met him in front of the Boulder Theater where he told me he'd be in Tempe); Janna, who was lively and so full of excitement; Jeff, who knew me from the forums and eBay - I finally remembered that I had sold him a CD on eBay some time ago; and Leslie, who came out with several other fans that had a meet-and-greet inside with Todd, and she told us that Todd had indeed left. After twenty minutes in denial, and seeing that everyone else had left, Larry, Scott and I finally left. And the car that Larry had seen Todd leave in earlier was still parked. By now, it was 12:30am, so we figured that if Todd did come out, the last thing he'd want to see is a few more hangers-on looking for a photo op.
I had a blast in the Phoenix area, getting to know one of my longtime Todd friends in a more personal connection, and enjoying the chance to share the music that makes my life so rich. It seems that there are so few opportunities that I get to talk music, especially Todd's catalog, with people that understand my passion. Scott's been as gracious a host as there is, and I'm very thankful and humbled by his willingness for me to enjoy a few days with him and his family. Thanks, Scott.
I got back to Colorado tonight (my wife's birthday), and she got to hear all about my trip. I've been on Todd overload, so I'm going to rest up a bit and enjoy my family again.
Now that the 2003 tour is in its last swing, it's one last opportunity to see Todd in areas that he hasn't yet brought this tour. And while he may be playing songs that we've seen before over the last few years, it may be the last time he performs these songs. Ever. Get out and hear these timeless classics!