I picked up "Liars" on the Wednesday before the show. I listened to it practically non-stop leading up to Saturday night's show. The anticipation was building. The more I listened to the new album, the more excited I got. "This album is great. This is vintage Todd!"
As I walked into the Ohio Theatre, I thought to myself how nice it was. Many of the Todd shows that I've seen over the years have been in dark, dingy, beer soaked clubs. I was more excited.
My wife and I made our way to our seats. We waited too long to buy our tickets until after it was "sold out." But my mother-in-law, who volunteers in the Theatre District, checked a couple weeks before the show and we got 11th row, center. Perfect seats! The crowd was typical for a Todd show. Many Todd-heads getting re-acquainted throughout the theatre.
As the lights dimmed, the band walked out and the opening strains of "Truth" began, I was "in the zone."
The other reviews are right on. The show was awesome. Todd's voice was great. The playing was great. Except for some problems with getting Foamy to stay in tune, the solos were amazing. "Feel It" was a little rough. Foamy was really acting up. As I left the theatre that night, feeling re-inspired by my musical hero, I couldn't help but be frustrated by the "fair weather" Todd fans that were interspersed throughout the Cleveland crowd.
We all know that it's typical at Todd shows for people to just yell stuff out. The Saturday night Cleveland crowd was in rare form. There were the normal shoutings of "Hello, It's Me", "Just One Victory" and even the more rare "Something/Anything?" At one point, a woman screamed, "Stick to ROCK, Todd!" At that point, he went in to "Past." How appropriate! Did Todd plan it that way? "I'm living in the past and the past is gone." Was she listening? Did she hear the words? Does she realize that SHE'S living in the past?
As I walked out of the theatre, a woman in front of me turned to her husband and said, "I only recognized the last two songs! 99% of that show was s**t that I didn't know!" Being a Todd fan requires "active" participation in Todd's career. Songs that Todd recorded over 30 years ago are great, but he's put out equally great work in the 30 years since!
The new record is a must-have. It is classic Todd. It is vintage Todd. The Philly soul that we've come to know and love from Our Hero is all over the new record. I get goose bumps listening to "past", "godsaid" and my personal favorite, "stood up."
It is true 99% of Todd's new tour comes from records that were released over the past decade or so. You need to actively engage yourself in Todd's more recent work. Over the past 21 years, I've seen Todd somewhere around 25 or 30 times. I'm sure that I've seen him do "Hello, It's Me" at least a dozen times or so. I don't know. I can't remember. I don't mind seeing him do that song, but I want to see new songs. I don't want Todd to be one of those artists who just keeps singing their one or two hits over and over and over again. Todd's new music is great. Embrace it.
I have to agree with Bobby Panuska's review when he said, "This record needs to get out to the masses."
It's up to us to spread the word. Todd is back with a vengeance. The new record is incredible. Make sure that your "fair weather" Todd friends know about it.
Go see this show. It's worth the money at twice the price.