Arriving at 8:15 for the 9pm show, my 'maitre dí' ticket got me a 12th row seat in the center, just above the performer's eye level, perfect for view and sound, but not so good for my little digital camera. Ethel took the stage about 15 minutes late, which may have contributed to Todd's shortened set later.
People were still filing into their seats, but most settled in before the first songs were done. This eclectic string quartet's music may not be for some people -- the discordant Indian themes in a couple of tunes can be grating on a Western ear, and I noticed a few people heading to the bar during the short set. With just enough pause to clear Ethel's raised platform from the stage, Joe Jackson appeared in the same long brown jacket he has been wearing all tour.
There was no surprise in Joe's set list:
Home Town Steppin' Out Awkward Age Take It Like A Man Different For Girls Obvious Song Love At First Light Life On Mars By My Number Two Citizen Sane Is She Really Going Out With HimTwice, in Steppin' Out and Awkward Age, Joe got "lost" on the piano part, but laughed it off and continued each time. A particular surprise in the song list for me was Bowie's Life On Mars. During "Is She Really " Joe was blown over by the audienceís loud "where?" in each verse so much that he missed the following lines each time, grinning away. Just like Todd, Joe Jackson puts a lot of emotion and feeling into his songs, which makes his a great opening act for Todd.
The house lights came up for the short intermission before Todd came on stage. Many people were still in line at the bar when he started ñ the woman next to me missed his first two songs, then made cell phone calles during I Don't Want To Tie You Down, to the annoyed looks and comments from the guys in the row in front of us!
No surprises in Todd's set list:
Love Of The Common Man (black Takemine) Cliché I Saw The Light I Don't Want To Tie You Down Song of the Viking (piano) It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference Hello It's Me Bang the Uke (ukulele) You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (black Takimine) After Life LysistrataTodd was on form this night, with never a wrong note on instrument or voice the whole night. Nor were there any instrument issues or broken strings. Between-song comments with regards to not knowing which casino he was in and on tribal relations brought laughter, as did his comment that this theater was the ìhouse that Manilow built! Later on he sang a few Barry Manilow lines, and even ended Hello It's Me with an 'Oh, Mandy!'
Before starting Lysistrata, the sound man/techie on the stage side told Todd to finsihs it up, which surprised Todd a little, I think, otherwise we might have got Hawking or Tiny Demons, but the show was scheduled to end by midnight, and time was needed for the standard encores:
Real Men (Joe and Ethel) Pretending To Care (Todd and Ethel) While My Guitar Gently Weeps (all) Black Maria (all)Todd strapped on Foamy for the final two songs, but the guitar volume was way too low during WMGGW, and also at the start of Black Maria, although it got better during the song. Also, the female violinistís volume was too low during the same parts of these two songs, but this was the only sound glitch for the evening. The volume, overall, was quite loud, but probably necessary to reach the high-up back rows of the almost sold-out theater.
Due to the venue and Todd's flawless performance, this show was a step-up from the Mohegan Sun solo show of 2003, but because of Todd's shortened set, I enjoyed the 2003 Somerville Theater show, mistakes and all, better. I'm not sure how many more times we will get to see a Todd solo performance, so I'm always happy after seeing one, no matter the length!