Bridgewater Hall, Manchester 18/07/04

Review by Steve Handley (Switch to

Firstly, this was a very impressive venue with good acoustics and very fitting for Todd`s final UK appearance. On the downside, the choice (or lack of) merchandise was poor, with just one tour shirt available, though I still bought one!

Having read many reviews of this tour and listened to the excellent Liars, I had some idea what to expect, though nothing prepares you for the real thing. Like many others, this was my first Todd gig since the 1982 solo tour, and was looking forward to this long overdue return. I was not disappointed....

Loosely based in two halves, Todd opened the show with "Truth" in fine voice and continued the first half with some of the heavier numbers from the album and more recent years. The title track itself saw Todd`s voice so full of power, venom and energy which defied his years and was simply awesome. Other highlights were "Buffalo Grass" and "ISP" and a sublime cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Great to see Todd in full flow on electric guitar again.

The `solo spot` gave the hall`s acoustics chance to show the quality of Todd`s voice with a beautiful version of "Beloved Infidel" then the band had their turn as they enjoyed themselves to an almost jamming version of "Green Onion" Kasim still drinking from the fountain of eternal youth and looking younger than I last saw him at Knebworth in `79!

Then Todd returns for the `second half`, dressed in lounge suit and treating us to the laid back soul numbers at which he excels. By now the end of tour party atmosphere was in full swing and Todd was having a good banter with the crowd in between numbers. An almost jazz-like version of "Born To Synthesize" symbolising just how much those on stage were enjoying themselves as much as the audience. Before you know it, the encores are here and Todd is closing "Just One Victory" with his classic guitar solo and that`s it. The show is over just as you were enjoying it so much and like all good things, you are left wanting more.

There has been much discussion about the choice of songs for this tour but the simple fact is that Todd has such a huge back catalogue of songs of such wide diversity that it is almost impossible to keep everybody happy. For me, it was great just to see him on stage in the UK again, playing material released this year which is up there with his past music and sounding as good as ever, although looking a little different!

Scary to think that it could have been Todd`s last ever UK appearance, though something tells me that he will return one day, along with acoustic guitar and piano, to do an unplugged `greatest hits` tour. Maybe fans can start compiling their favourite set lists for him to play. Now, there`s a challenge!

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7/18/2004 - Manchester Bridgewater Hall - Manchester, England

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