Next up was the slight, almost wraith-like figure of Joe Jackson, returning to the area after several years away; some minor monitor problems and a bit of feedback caused by the wind made his opening medley of "Hometown" & "Stepping Out" perhaps a bit more tentative than it might otherwise have been, but the problems soon faded as Joe continued with a brace of songs from Volume Four: the recent Joe Jackson Band reunion album. Then it was back to the older catalog "Different For Girls" and "The Obvious Song" from 1991's neglected Laughter & Lust. The first of the evening's three Beatles numbers, John Lennon's "Girl" segued into one of Jackson's finest ballads, "Be My Number Two". Another track from Volume Four, a new tune Jackson is still working out - "Citizen Sane" and crowd pleaser "Is She Really Going Out With Him" closed out his portion of the set.
A brief intermission, and the Wizard arrived in green jacket & blonde highlights "You do know this isn't my REAL color, right?" and it was off to the races. In quick succession, Todd tossed off bravura performances of "Common Man", "Black & White", "Cliché" and "Tiny Demons" before changing up the pace with "the Viking Song" -- I had to yell my .02 again -- this time after Todd remarked that he liked to think of Florida, surrounded as it is by 'red states', as 'purple' -- I yelled out: "Blue, baby - blue" -- which he then smiled and repeated.
Moving to the piano, we were treated to "Compassion" and "Hello It's Me", which Todd clearly is a bit sick of -- LOL! Back to the guitar for "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and then to the uke for "Bang On the Drum" -- somewhere, I know George Harrison was smiling. Next up -- a surprising, and well-delivered "Afterlife", the only track from his brilliant Liars album. "Beloved Infidel" and "One World" brought Todd's set to a close.
Ethel joined Joe Jackson for a stunning "Real Man" [the Jackson song, not the Todd song -- though it occurred to me that that might make a very cool medley!], then Todd joined the assembly for a tremendous "Pretending To Care", followed by the crowd pleasing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" -- lovely to hear Joe sing the middle eights on this! By this time the crowd had converged on the stage and were a sea of grateful faces.
The encore -- "Black Maria" -- was a bit anti-climactic as they don't seem to have it quite worked out yet, but it was great to hear this old song again after so long. And then, it was over -- much much too soon! Clearly the kinks of the opening night are long behind them now -- this was a tremendous show -- one of the finest set lists for me, as it contained so many of my favorites. To top it off, I was lucky enough to get backstage afterwards and finally meet Todd, after well over 30 years of adoring his music, as well as the very shy Joe Jackson, whose music has similarly inspired and uplifted me for so many years. I apologized to Todd for shouting out at his last two shows down here -- he smiled and said, "Don't worry -- everyone does it!" and seemed genuinely pleased at the crowd's reception of the show.
Those of you with tickets for upcoming shows are in for a treat! Can't wait 'til some recordings surface. Todd told me there will be a Liars tour DVD shortly, which he is producing.
Regards from Fort Lauderdale,
Set List: -----------
01 Hometown -> 02 Steppin' Out 03 Awkward Age 04 Take It Like A Man 05 Different For Girls 06 The Obvious Song 07 Girl [Lennon-McCartney] 08 Be My Number Two 09 Love At First Light 10 Citizen Sane 11 Is She Really Going Out With Him
12 Love Of The Common Man 13 Black & White 14 Cliché 15 Tiny Demons 16 The Viking Song 17 Compassion 18 Hello, It's Me 19 You've Got To Hide Your Love Away [Lennon-McCartney] 20 Bang On The Drum 21 Afterlife 22 Beloved Infidel 23 One World
Joe Jackson with Ethel:
24 Real Man
Todd Rundgren & Joe Jackson with Ethel
25 Pretending to Care 26 While My Guitar Gently Weeps [Harrison] ------------------------------------------------------- E: Black Mariah