Campbell show / Heritage Theater 9/24/04

Review by Sharon Barbour (Switch to

As usual, eye popping, inspiring, funny -- a little bit odd, considering the venue, but GREAT! I hear there were problems with the sound at the beginning -- well, I mean I heard Kas mention that there were problems at the beginning. It did sound as if the background instruments were sort of "turned down," but Ted's voice and guitar were definitely loud and clear. One of the audience members tried to find out who was handling the board sound so he could try to fix the mix, but he found a union guy on the light board who didn't know how to think outside his own function. He didn't seem to understand the question "where can I find the person responsible for the sound mix?" The big problems must have been solved in the beginning, but I'm no sound engineer so I can't even tell you specifically what was going on. I do know the background instruments continued to sound washed out to me, but then we were on the left side of the house -- maybe the sound was better up the middle. In the end, the sound isn't what I'm there for anyway -- live performance is, by definition, "iffy" on sound perfection. If I want perfect sound I'll listen to the CD on our home surround sound system.

At any rate, the venue -- this show was at a local theater (renovated from a high school theater), as a "special addition" to their season series (which includes Debbie Reynolds, Christopher Cross and Crystal Gayle), so I'm pretty sure that not everyone in the theater knew what they were getting into. The funny thing is, I think the beginning of his set was almost engineered to "flush out" those people -- within the first five songs, he does Fascist Christ, Mammon and Liar (I didn't keep a precise set list), which of course are a bit offputting to Debbie Reynolds fans. The ladies in front of us shyly said "Boo" when Ted made an anti-Bush statement, and they were gone by the time Liar was finished. If they'd just stayed through a few more, I think the rest of the night was something they might have liked more, but then again, if they can't understand the message, maybe it's better they go home. The place was run by "a bunch of Nazi old ladies," I heard someone say, and that was pretty accurate in our experience. The community volunteer old ladies who were supposed to be serving refreshments were beyond clueless (I saw one guy hand "the money lady" exact change, fanned out so she could see it was correct, then ask for two simple drinks -- two bottled waters, no one even had to pour anything -- and she was STILL confused). If they expected to make money off the drinks, I think they were probably disappointed, but not because no one wanted them.

The people with me agreed that the most fun with the live shows is the little mistakes and how Ted handles them. He never lets it get to him, just laughs and continues, and it's so much fun to watch! During his solo, I think just before he did Lunatic Fringe, he was goofing with the guitar and as he was talking & playing, a string broke -- he was in mid-sentence and he just blurted out "shit!" and turned around, trying to find someone backstage who was paying attention. It took a while, so he just wandered back & forth expecting that soon someone would notice there was no sound coming from the stage, but I didn't hear him yell or get angry because he was standing there, he just rolled with it. Once he messed up a chord and just looked over at Prairie and rolled his eyes and laughed. I know, what else can you do, right? Well, I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that other artists I've seen have let it ruin their attitude and they go off in a huff. It's nice to know Ted can just slide past it and say "oh well, that's the way it is!"

It is apparent that Ted loves performing live. He puts so much attention into every detail, and then he goes out there and plays with it a little more, makes it a little better every time. It is pure joy to watch someone with so much heart, so much soul, so much talent!

I believe I'm inTedicated!

Other reviews for Ted Runger and the Liars 2004
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