April 8 show at Potawatomi Casino, Northern Lights Theater

Review by Ed Melchior (Switch to

I've been a longtime ardent fan of Todd, have seen Utopia a number of times, starting with the Oops Wrong Planet tour, and Todd a number of times for solo stuff, and have almost all of his albums. The show in MKE on 4/8 was perhaps the worst concert I have ever seen (by any artist, let alone someone of the caliber of Todd). Todd started the show with a disclaimer that "due to economics, we only had 5 days to rehearse", and that only 1/2 of the songs had even been rehearsed, with the other 1/2 being practiced in the concert for the first time. Even with that, I was still optimistic, with the caliber of the musicians and their previous associations with Todd.

First, the mix was muddled, with the vocals only intermittently audible. The low end was far more prominent than appropriate, and most of the higher frequencies where overwhelmed. The keyboards varied in volume throughout the night from barely present to overpowering and ear-piercing. Feedback was fairly common. While I can understand on the first show of a tour that there will be mix kinks, it should generally get better during the night, not worse.

The band was amazingly disorganized. There were long gaps between songs, where the musicians appeared to be discussing what song was next and what key to be playing in. There were a number of miscues, with at least three songs needing restarts, at least one of which had to be restarted 3 times. Wow. 

When Todd played Lunatic Fringe while the band was changing into the pimp suits, I was struck by the fact that one of the best guitarists in the world was playing (and singing) worse than many local bar bands. While I can accept (but not like) the fact that Todd changed the style of some of my favorite songs from the original to "Holiday Inn lounge style", I at least expect professional quality in the musicianship. That expectation was not met. I was also kinda dissapointed by the funk break the band used to soak up time while Todd changed. Those guys coulda done a lot better.

On the plus side, I was impressed by both the costuming and the lighting. The panels behind the band members were spectacular, and alleviated the tedium of a show I probably should have skipped.

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4/08/2004 - Potawatomi Casino - Milwaukee, WI

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