Ann Arbor 05/04/2005 Concert Review

Review by Ed in Birmingham (Switch to

It was my desire to do a good review of this show. Someone has already uncannily done it. I experienced pretty much everything that Michele K. did... starting with the snowflakes. So for the most part I just want to ditto her remarks, and add a few things of my own.

Cameras and security guards. I ignored both and took my camera in. I was threatened at several points, but still managed to squeeze off a few shots (already posted) without getting thrown out or hauled off to the pokey.

I'm from Birmingham Alabama, and my hosts (Bryan and Kristen), saw to it that my visit was memorable. "Memorable" is such a lucid term. I promise to keep OT, but I would be totally remiss in not telling them what they mean to me, and what they added to this experience.

We scoped out the theatre the day before, and explored every entrance. Bryan knew the theatre well, but I scouted out new cubby-holes (it didn't really matter... it was just fun). I was introduced to the Union Manager (Cal), the lighting board operator (Ellen), and a theatre technician (Greg Mazure (who is a Todd fan himself, and already posted a review). These theatre people work really hard (Cal, I think, made me recite that time and time again).

It came time for my friend Bryan to take care of family business. I was staying at the Campus Inn two blocks over (the tour bus was parked in front), and walked back over about 4:00 PM. The stage doors were closed by then, but someone was taking a break and I told her I was supposed to meet Cal. He came out and got me, and I was able to enjoy the entire sound-check from within the theatre.

The members of Ethel were obsessive over their sound, and how the strings mixed. They ran the mixing board manager through his tasks, and he seemed to enjoy it. Joe came onto the stage and pretty much ran through his set.

Then Todd came in. Neither he or I am a fool. He saw me sitting there (there was NO-ONE sitting in the seats). His rapport with Joe was just too much. They discussed songs they might do. Todd showed Joe the "fingers he didn't use" when he played piano (with Joe sitting at the bench).

The tossed around ideas about what would and wouldn't be played. They talked about learning new songs on the bus. They played everything that has been played on this tour, and then some.

Then it was time to leave, and go do whatever. We (Ed, Bryan, and Kris.... Kris had to wind up the dayschool she runs) got back in time to put our little explorations into practice, and got good photos with TR. He was so amenable, and for the first time recognized me (it's the Alabama thang, combined with Bryan hollering about Ed from Alabama).

This is the point where people should be writing about the music. I've seen Todd many times since 1973, and this concert should go down in history. He broke one string during one song and instantly picked up another guitar behind him. He didn't miss a beat. His overall stage balance and demeanor was pure Todd and professional. He had the audience in the palm of his hand.

But wait, Todd fans. After the show he came out back of the theatre (which has beautiful graffiti), and signed autographs and spoke to any and everyone without bounds. The lights would go on and off, and we all just kept going (Todd would step into a lit stairwell/entrance to see what he was writing). There were so many young people there, I asked Todd if he realized it. (Speaking of realization, you understand that this was "after" the show). I dragged out my Canon G1 and took pictures of the new Todd babies and got their E-mail addresses.

You just can't find any nicer people than at a Todd concert. I've got lots more that I could go on about, but Roger has bandwidth to worry about. My friends Bryan and Kris wrote down the Todd playlist.

* The Love of the Common Man * Cliché * Tiny Demons * I Saw the Light * I Don't Want to Bring You Down * Black and White * Can We Still Be Friends * Viking Song * Hello It's Me * Bang on the Drum (do I really have to type out what instrument he plays plays it on?) * Afterlife * Lysistrata * Pretending to Care (probably subsidized by the people that manufacture Kleenex or mine human salt water tears)

Bryan was very precise with his inventory. Neither the three of us cared much for Joe, although there was a Joe/Ethel encore, which I didn't care at all for.

The whole thing finally whooped up to do George Harrison's

* While My Guitar Gently Weeps (and, as someone else has noted, it's "my guitar," not My Ethel (although they slammed this song) * Black Maria (the final show of the evening... once again with Ethel playing Todd's leads)

Everyone was cool. Things could have done just as well without Joe Jackson. I was predisposed to that opinion. Todd and Ethel rocked. The four members of Ethel are musically literate and spoke with me, as did Todd.

This is as long as a review should go. There will be new ones coming in tonight. I find it easier to send in pictures.

Wait Another Year... Utopia is here.

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