Review of Todd at london RFH

Review by Philthy (Switch to

This is the first time I've got to see Todd live since he did the "solo" tour in the early eighties, so I was REALLY looking forward to it (we're talking tunnel vision here!)

I was 5 rows from the front and about 5 seats right of centre (not like me to be right of centre - I must have "swung to the right" somehow) so the sound & view should have been perfect. Well, the view was - I got some awesome photos (in spite of the venue fascist that tried to get me to stop taking them - after a 20 year drought, do you really think I could be stopped?) But the sound was really patchy - the bass was awesome but I couldn't hear a note of Todd's guitar solos! I left with a deaf right ear but a fully functional left. Having read reviews of several venues, I think that there was a real problem with "dead zones" in most of the halls.

But enough of the technical, what was the Toddster like? Well, I must confess that in the first few numbers, I had doubts about his voice holding out. He seemed to be struggling to reach the high notes - could Todd be showing his age at last? No, of course not! He got stronger with every song and by the time they reached "Mammon" I was surprised he even needed a PA system at all. I love the new album (best thing Todd's done since Nearly Human) and he did every track he played from it justice. The title track was a real show-stopper - my gonads are STILL vibrating! I was getting a little peeved at the lack of between-song chatter but was soothed by a friend that had seen them in Bristol and assured me that that was all about to change!

Todd's solo spot was not the greatest - Beloved Infidel was OK but this would have been the ideal spot to introduce a few of the real oldies (Cliche, perhaps?)

In spite of the idiot reviewers comments in the Grauniad - Green onions was fine - The band really let rip and showed off their individual talents without getting too self-indulgent (not that I would have minded if they did, musicians of this calibre deserve a bit of license!) And Jesse Gress's suit was Maverick on E - sit down at any poker table wearing that and the rest of the players would just leave!

Enter Todd again in an understated little ORANGE-AS-IT-GETS suit with a shirt that is TOO-ORANGE-TO-LOOK-AT and a (matching?) luminous, salmon-pink tie. For me, this half of the show was perfection - I loved Past, Soul Brother (are you sure Todd ain't black?) and Flaw (complete with health-warning - "if you brought the kids, they may want to go to the toilet now!" - who else but Todd would pen the most saccharine sweet, boy-band-friendly little R'n'B masterpiece you could imagine and casually drop in an unbroadcastable obscenity?) I was floored by the version of Born to Synthesize - the LAST Todd track I ever expected to hear live - and played in a slinky lounge-jazz style that completely reinvented the song (We NEED that version on an album soon Todd!!) Jesse snapped a string right at the start of his solo and left the floor clear for Kaz to flex his mighty 5-string fretless bass - the crowd loved the homage to Singring (your humble correspondent included) although Todd took the piss a bit "You probably thought that if you were safe from a bass solo anywhere, it was here!". There was an excellent version of Love Science but the highlight for me was the 2 tracks from Nearly Human - Feel it & Want of a Nail were stunning, really illustrating the precision & tightness of the band.

I must admit that there are a dozen Todd songs that I would have preferred as an encore to "Hello it's Me" (Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel - Can We Still be Friends - The Verb "To love", etc.) but the sing-along opportunity seemed to be appreciated by the crowd - any without the new album must have felt a bit left-out - but than again, that's their fault!

My moment of fame came at the start of the 2nd encore - Just 1 Victory, of course - I called for another bass solo (yes it was me, and I'm proud of it!) and got a clenched fist salute from Kaz!! I also got to shake Todd's hand during the outro of the song - guess he didn't recognise me as the guy that wanted 2 bass solos!

Todd is still God - I just hope I don't need another 20 years+ to prove that to myself again.

By the way, can anyone confirm wether Todd played "Stood Up" at this show? - I thought he did but a guy I spoke to at Manchester was sure he didn't - false memory? Or was I right?

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7/15/2004 - Royal Festival Hall - London, England

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