Ryman Nashville Show review

Review by Ron Howard (Switch to

I'm not very good at this so I'll be brief. The Ryman was a fabalous venue with near perfect acoustics and not a bad seat in the house. Ethyl started the show and within 10 seconds has my soul stirred with the most soothing strings onlt to get my heart pounding 30 seconds later. This is a powerful group of musicians who really enjoy their craft.

After what seemed like only a few minutes, but was actually about 25, Ethyl was finished with their solo set and Joe Jackson came out. I have to say that I have never been familiar with Joe's music but did quickly recognize his "standards" when he played them. Joe was most cordial and chatty and seemed really enjoy the light banter with the audience. I was surprised by this because I had already written him off as a bit stuffy and unapproachable. This because my little group comprised of myself, my wife Susan, my sister Lisa, and brother-in-law Bart has run into Joe in the back alley behind the Ryman. He was taking a little walk and when Bart yelled out at him he never glanced our way and quickly ducked back inside to avoid us. Even with that I was impressed with the professionalism and showmanship. The Nashville crowd really made him welcome.

Todd came out and quickly launched into Love Of The Common Man followed by Cliche, and the best rendition of The Viking Song that I've ever heard. Piano and vocal work on Viking were impeccable. Todd did Hello It's Me and although it came off "okay" I wish the general public would let Todd get away from it since he obviously doesn't enjoy performing it.

Todd started playing Hawking and hit a sour note...he immediately stopped and shouted "Damn, did I really f*$k that up!!?" which got him a good laugh. He started over, performed it flawlessly, and made this old man misty eyed.

I could write much more about this show but will hold this to a minimum. My wife, who is not a real Todd fan, seemed to enjoy herself although she did say that she really like the songs where everyone (Joe, Todd, and Ethyl) performed together. As for my final critique of the show I can only say that Pretending To Care was flawless and still moves me that way it did when I first heard it. This performance of Pretending To Care with Joe Jackson and Ethyl was both powerful and moving.

This was a great show for a small, appreciative audience by a group of powerful musicians.

Set list:
Love of the Common man
Viking Song
Hello It's Me
Black & White
I Saw the Light
Bang The Drum
Pretending to Care
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Black Maria

from: Ron Howard
Re: comments by Tim Gill regarding 5/9/05 Ryman show

Absolutely right. For some reason I totally left out mentioning Hey You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. Surprising after Todd made the statement "Here's something for you people who've been dieing to get in on the act. Sorry not to have mentioned that one as it was definitely one of the crowd pleasers with some enthusiastic sing along.

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05/09/2005 - The Ryman - Nashville, TN

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