So starting with the dedication on Compassion, to me it came across not so much as a dedication, but as sort of a slam. As he mentioned "Internet friends" he wasn't saying that happily, it felt like more with a disdain for those who challenged him and declared the first show and all solo shows a failure. I didn't see this as a reward for his faithful fans, but more of a "How could you??!!" The balance of the set was delivered with an intensity of "I will get through this song" and "I can't believe I'm going to reward these whiners with different songs." Unfortunately the volume and mix at Clearwater didn't do much to help present a softer, more intimate feel to the songs. As he sang Hello It's Me, though appreciative of his playing it, I don't think the audience felt invited to sing along. And this is one of the first times I've seen it performed where they didn't. I just felt myself clenching inside hoping he could get through it.
Todd does get lot's of points for mixing up the set. The addition of Afterlife was a real surprise. A couple of chords might need to be re-evaluated to bring it closer to the original, but it was definitely well received. He nailed Viking Song. And Bang on the Drum was probably the best Uke version I've heard. Just One Victory, when it started, sent chills down my spine - .what a wonderful treat. I felt that we were very special to be witnessing an acoustic version. He needs to work it out a bit more - I never realized that it was so hard to be playing those chord changes while singing it. What was missing again was the audience participation - it didn't seem appropriate as he struggled through it. But again, I give him points for going out on the limb and introducing all these songs into the set for his Florida fans.
Now for the fans. This was probably the most supportive bunch I've ever seen at a concert. Maybe it from the sense of competition with Joe Jackson fans, but these wonderful and dedicated Todd fans rewarded him with standing ovations, one after another. It's hard to sense how many possibly read the reviews or knew what transpired online, but we were all there to make sure Todd felt our dedication and support. I think all the artists benefited from this, and they commented to that effect.
I've always enjoyed Joe Jackson but have never seen him live. Assuming that he is new to performing solo like this for an extended tour, he was fantastic; excellent delivery and beautiful piano playing. His shyness/quirkiness was well received by all in attendance and I think he won many new fans.
Ethel was fun. Their opening number had lots of different textures and my kids (8 and 12) loved watching them attack their instruments with such intensity. My older son who has been a trumpet player in school is now having second thoughts about what instrument to continue with. I think that's I why I love the idea of this tour so much - for all that Todd and Joe are able to introduce the audience to.
If I could make any other suggestions for the show it would be to change the final tune from Black Maria to While My Guitar Gently Weeps. This song received the best ovation and allowed all the players to shine. Black Maria, though fun for Todd fans, should be played earlier. Todd and Joe also need to show that they are in this as a team. There was no line-up for bows at the end and while Todd thanked Joe multiple times at the end, Joe didn't return the favor. I also wonder if the show can be rearranged so as to be like a Ringo show where they are on together and alternate throughout the entire show. That would of course require more structure and less flexibility, so it depends on what they want to accomplish during the show. But for the audience, that would probably be a more balanced experience.
The show is a nice evening and everyone will enjoy it. Its kind of funny seeing how the Internet can now have a direct impact on what an artist does. The flurry of postings, while in retrospect might have been harsh, did have a direct and positive impact. If anything, while I'm sure the majority of you will be praising Todd on this performance, I personally think all of the credit, kudos and thanks go to the fans. While I felt diss'd during Compassion (like how daring we show no f'ing compassion), the fans showed their true allegiance and support to their hero. So all of you, my friends, deserve a round of applause for basically providing the momentum for this tour to continue and improve. Todd fans everywhere will benefit from this!
Again, I apologize that this has not been as glowing as other reviews that you will read. I am convinced that within a week or two this tour will be in a great groove. I hope that all the artists build a little more chemistry - .heck maybe they should hit the bowling alleys across the country for some bonding.