Cleveland 5/3/05

Review by jsabal (Switch to

Todd played AFTERLIFE! Yes, oh yes, i love this song. When TR sang the "Kiss it all goodbye...." line, his voice was pure as a beam of light. Live, it still totally sparkled without the vocoder effect on the LIARS version, which is one of the coolest modern examples that AUTO-TUNE type sound since Roger's ZAPP. Anyhow, the acoustics in the State Theater were outstanding from my second row balcony seat. Some guy sits down in the empty seat next to me at the beginning of AFTERLIFE, and says, "I'll take off soon, ... i just love this song.....". "Stay as long as you like, my friend!" i replied. Meeting great people at Todd shows is the icing on the cake of a beautiful musical experience.

"I Saw the Light" had the jazzy passing chords of the excellent WITH A TWIST arrangement. Very nice.

PRETENDING TO CARE always makes me feel alive and extremely emotional, and this version was intense. The addition of the string quartet on this song beautifully simulated the breathy fades, and tender pacing of the background vocals on the studio version. ....Stunning. If you have ever been moved by this song, go see this tour, or find a recording. It was the absolute highlight. A close second was when Joe returned to the stage for "the Only One" with Ethel's accompaniment. I forgot about this song, and it's one of JJ's best.

The show was not sold out, yet tickets were not available to be purchased from the box office at 8:45pm. There were three separate ticket windows, all OPEN, with bored looking employees just sitting there. whatever..... I got in anyway! other random notes include the scuffle / pushing festival that broke out in front of the stage during Black Maria. Sloppy drunks, while mostly annoying, didn't seem to faze me tonight. Even the loud talkers sitting in back of me, who were somehow maintain a conversation about Ted Nugent, at various points throughout the night. That just made me laugh. But when they called "Tiny Demons" a "fast forward song" i almost alerted them to their sucknitude. Remaining calm, i visualized them with their crappy cassette decks, rocking out to "Damn Yankees", as i moved up to some empty seats in the front row balcony with my AFTERLIFE friend. If anyone other that TR used a overdriven, distortion effect on an acoustic guitar, i would cringe, but somehow it worked when he did just that on "Black and White". I think adding the effect was a spontaneous move, which is great, but how hard would it be to mic up a tiny combo amp, crank it to 8 or 9, and get some amp distortion from the post section of the amp. The way guitars were meant to be overdriven. this digital amp modeling stuff is getting out of hand. In the studio it's brilliant, but live it sounds lacking. Todd's set seemed short at the time, but it's about right considering the split bill. Joe Jackson and Ethel were a nice, complementary match for our hero. It was my first Ohio Todd show since Nearly Human tour at Nautica Stage, and very enjoyable to hear in the city where i first became a fan. The quote of the night of course has to be, "No, I'm fucking serious....... i was just on the the phone with Ian Hunter......."

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05/03/2005 - Playhouse Square Center - Cleveland, OH

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