I flew into Columbus Monday afternoon, and after coming down the escalator toward the baggage claim area, I spot my 'hostess' Deb just coming into the area. After a greeting and a hug, we take off to the motel and grab a bite. After getting dropped off at the hotel, I set up my DVD player in the room, and watch a few concert DVDs (and Fox's 24) before calling it a night.
Tuesday morning, Deb is gracious enough to take the day off and show me around Columbus. So many memories that she shares of seeing Todd, we grab lunch at the North Market after shopping at the Yankee Trader. Coming back to her car, I notice a license plate on a Ford SUV that reads AWIZONM. We sit a few minutes and ponder if this is a fan or maybe one of Todd's friends - perhaps Todd is with some friends eating at the Japanese steak house? All speculation on our part.
Tuesday afternoon, after our ride, I told Deb that I was sick of staying in my motel room. I'm ready for the show, for the fans...so she drops me off after checking out the venue's parking and logistics for getting access to Todd after the show. I'm the first one there as far as I can tell, but Deb had to leave.
After a walk around the neighborhood, a beer at Mongolian Barbeque, and a walk back to the venue, I hang out by the gate where I can see the tour bus. Okay, maybe I should have gone back to the motel. I sit near the front door, wait until Fat Eddie's opens, and I find a seat at a table that's centrally located for all the Todd fans I wanted to meet. Shortly after 5:00pm, I see some Todd fans walk in, and I'm happy to find out it's our own JDMartin and Tomm. The three of us come back to the table, order some drinks, and begin to share what so many other Todd fans have shared with me over the years - the memories, the tours, the smiles.
As the afternoon goes on, I see so many more Todd fans than I can count - all the great t-shirts from years past, and I can hear conversations between fans who've seen each other from show to show, perhaps meeting only at the shows.
Soon after, I see Deb with her friend Amy, and I meet with Tim, Mut, Tim's daughter Emily and Emily's roommate Annie. I noticed these younger fans coming in, but didn't realize that they'd wind up standing out back waiting for Todd with me later that night. I also met with Brian and Karen, then before we headed out to the venue I spot these fans with great t-shirts, and it winds up being our forum friends Dave (MeTaLuNaTiC) and his wife Barbara.
Before the venue opened, I talked to fans waiting on the line to get in, and met some other great fans that talked to me about tours they'd seen and how great the fans in Columbus are. I couldn't agree more. However, I was looking for some fans in particular - Lee and "Southpaw" I'm sorry I missed you - but I did meet Dave G. with his 'Runt wizard' shirt (y'know the cartoon on the back of the Runt album), and superfan Jeff Miller with his son, Todd R. Miller (go on, take a guess what the R. stands for). I met so many fans that I'm dizzy from getting so many names, so if I left you out, I'm VERY sorry - I should have written them down if I'd had the chance.
As debsmisto said in her review, the crowd noise was distracting at the beginning of Ethel's set, but over time they got much of the crowd's attention. With a zeal that won me over right away, Ethel played with such passion that it made me think of another band I used to love that incorporated strings into their rock act - Gentle Giant. I'm an Ethel fan for sure, now!
Very soon after Ethel's set, Joe Jackson was greeted with good applause, and his show was both animated and technically excellent. Joe is quite familiar with the material, though his set sounded very fresh. But he seemed to be taken by surprise at how LOUD we all yelled "WHERE?" during his finale, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" Admittedly, I've only got Joe's greatest hits CD so far, but that's about to change in a hurry.
Todd's setlist followed suit with many of the other shows on the tour, though "The Wheel" was a nice surprise. I didn't write down the setlist, but I can tell you that Todd played (in the order my brain randomly remembers them):
Love of the Common Man Black And White I Don't Want To Tie You Down Lysistrata I Saw The Light Tiny Demons (Time for an exorcism!) Song Of The Viking Hello It's Me Can We Still Be Friends Bang the Uke All Day Afterlife The Wheel
This may not have been the complete list, hopefully other fans can fill in the blanks for me. After a short intermission, Joe and Ethel returned for a song or two, and then the encores with Todd, Joe and Ethel were cause to celebrate:
Pretending to Care While My Guitar Gently Weeps Black Maria
Ethel's intensity during Pretending To Care made this song come alive in a way I could never have imagined!
After the show, I waited with several of these fans behind the venue, and the security guard tells us that Todd has already left, as has Joe Jackson. Joe maybe, but Todd? Nah. We continue to wait, and we soon saw Dorothy Lawson from Ethel, followed by Todd Reynolds. We comment on how passionate we found their playing, and share how much we loved their arrangements of Black Maria and Pretending to Care. I asked them each if Todd was still around, and they assured us that he would come around after the crowd has gone home.
As Deb has shared with us, Todd didn't disappoint, and he gives us ten minutes to sign a few things and take a few pictures. A perfect ending to the evening, and it made the trip well worth it.
Riding in Deb's car with her friend Amy, and going over the night's events in my mind, the adreniline was still flowing strong. I gave the ladies a good night wave, walked into my hotel room and called my wife back in Denver.
If you've read this far, you can see I tried to focus my review as someone visiting this great city of Todd fans, and I was welcomed by so many people that I really came away with a great memory. Thanks to you all, Columbus fans! Now, I'm still wondering...did this really happen, or was it all just a visitation in my sleep last night?
Here in my dre-e-e-e-eam,