The Tale of Two Todds - State Theatre / Cleveland, OH 5/3/05

Review by Roger Steel (Switch to

What I recently considered a weak tour with sub-par performances has now taken a dramatic turn. After last Friday's disappointment in New Jersey, I'm happy to say that the real Todd is back. Todd nailed it last night!

It was an outstanding performance that included many of things not seen in many of the shows this tour. Precision, passion, confidence, fun, etc... Instead of laboring through his set, the music flowed out of him. His voice was in top form, guitar playing tightened up and, believe it or not, he had an awesome night at the keys. This was particularly evident in Song of the Viking which has been a big thorn in Todd's side this tour. After a little keyboard noodling as an intro, he warned the crown that he was getting cocky. This was the point of the show where you knew Todd was feeling it. He rifled through Viking with nary a flub.

The rest of the songs were relatively routine although it's nice to see that he mixes it up a bit from show to show. Sure, Hawking or Hide Your Love Away would have been nice, but that's OK. It didn't matter much what songs Todd was playing last night, just that he was playing them in a way we've all come to know and love. As before, the highlight for me was Pretending to Care. Wow!!! Goose bumps. If there was a disappointment in Todd's set last night it was that it was too short. Most of the crowd seemed dumbfounded when Todd left the stage. Hardly a clap or cheer for an encore because most didn't think that was the end.

As before, Ethel and Joe both put on enjoyable sets. Nothing earth shattering, but still very entertaining.

Finally, I want to comment on many of the so called Cleveland "fans." I've seen Todd several dozen times in several different cities and states. As a whole, I feel that Cleveland fans are the least well behaved of any I've seen elsewhere. It was an embarrassment. For all of the uneducated, Todd is not going to play Slut, International Feel or #1 Lowest Common Denominator in an acoustic guitar so why bother yelling it out? That was going on all night. If you're going to yell out a song to Todd, how about making it one that fits the situation? Maybe The Wheel for instance. The whistling and yelling during quite parts of the show was also ridiculous. We don't care how much you love Todd so shut up and just enjoy the show! The capper was the fight by the front of the stage during Black Maria. A typical Cleveland drunk ruining a great show for everyone. I know that the people that do all of these things make up a very small percentage of the real Todd fans there. I'm still ashamed nonetheless. For historically being such a great Todd town, I often times don't think Clevelanders demonstrate it.

Anyway, I hope this show is a catalyst for more great things to come. While maybe not all the way there, it seems like Todd is starting to hit his stride.

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