State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ 4/29/05

Review by Roger Steel (Switch to

Like most of the other reviewers of this show, I'm a long time fan. This was show #85 (or so) for me so I have alot of points of comparison. While I've never once seen a bad Todd show, there are a few that were less enjoyable than others. I hate to say it, but this was one of those times.

I won't belabor the point. We all know the deal by now. Tired, uncreative set list. Sloppy overall performance, especially on piano. Lack of enthusiasm and, most importantly, confidence. There's been very few times that I felt sorry for Todd or sad about a show. This was one of the saddest for me, highlighted by the two botched (and ultimately aborted) attempts at Song of the Viking. Was this just a big let down after an awesome Liars tour of last year? Maybe it's just that Todd's getting old and touring is becoming more and more difficult. Who knows. The bottom line is that the Todd I saw on Friday night is not the same Todd I've seen 84 other times.

Kudos to Joe and Ethel though. The Ethel set was interesting. I enjoyed it, but was glad that it ended after about 30 minutes. They were entertaining, but I see them more as a novelty act. We'll see how much I like them a second time Tuesday night in Cleveland. Joe also did a nice job. Most of his songs were upbeat and enjoyable. Joe's a competent pianist but won't blow you away with his technique. Nary a mistake though so I give him alot of credit for that. I also loved his backing vocals on Black Maria. I haven't followed Joe's music all that closely, but have always enjoyed what I've heard. He did nothing to change my mind after this show.

The highlight of the evening for me was Pretending To Care. Beautiful and moving. No real chance for screw up s on that one since Todd only sang. The two big disappointments (there were a slew of small ones) were Black Maria and Afterlife. Todd's guitar was so buried in the mix during BM that you really couldn't hear it. I was also looking forward to Afterlife because it was a different version of a newer song. I found the new rendition to be boring at best.

I'm not trying to slam Todd. On the other hand, I completely understand where people are coming from in their disappointment. I'll continue to support him as I have for years. This show will still rank as one of my least enjoyable Todd experiences though.

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04/29/2005 - NB State Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ

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