Luther Burbank Center - Santa Rosa

Review by Roger Linder (Switch to

It may seem like a Cliché, but it has to be said: don't believe every you read on the TR Connection (or Utopia Times or Black and White for that matter.) Everybody else is wrong. I don't want to tie you down with useless begging to see a show that so many have panned (call it what you will). Even as I strolled in the lobby of the Luther Burbank Center before the show Friday night, I mused on reviews of the past, and wondered what the future would hold. Without calling "Liar!" and just assuming they have a bad attitude, I can say with a sense of determination and compassion that the truth is (and you can believe in me): this was a great show; one that will continue to be sweet in the private heaven of my mind, even into the afterlife. When I pray, I ask that a show like this (with love) is the answer to those who feel they were trapped, perhaps drowning under too much water. Many wish to cast the first stone, but even in the cold morning light of reality, Santa Rosa had to be the saving grace of this tour. Who's sorry now? Even if Todd's only human, I'm mystified, but can we still be friends?. But if that's the way you feel, even in the back of your mind, I won't be a crybaby about it. I doubt that I was alone; when I left LBC, I was all smiles. I would take it home, to go on living as a witness to love in action.

Perhaps it's because Todd was back in his old stomping ground, that a performance here in the North Bay area must shine; it's only second nature. It's not like me to bang the drum all day singing Todd's praises (I do have another life) but I'd be left wondering if sweeter memories could be had. If this were my Todd initiation, I'd spend the last dollar on earth to witness it again. I guess I'm just a lucky guy. There are no words.

Many have wondered if Todd suffered some from influenza early on, or perhaps a touch of gangrene, possibly even was a drunken blue rooster. At least on some nights it was reported that he didn't feel too good. But perhaps his fever broke because I can state he was not up against it Friday night, no tiny demons to mar this performance, he certainly wasn't pretending to care and earned the love of the common man. I saw the light in his flaw-less renditions of Song of the Viking and Lysistrata and everyone stood up as one for While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Black Maria? Say yeah!

As I've told a few folks, I wasn't planning to take in this tour. The Liars tour wasn't going to be the very last time I saw a Todd show, but I thought about taking a break from a solo show (once burned, some might say, but not me.) As it turns out, that would have been the ultimate crime. But the wheel of karma had other ideas. Although two opportunities to get tickets for the presumably sold-out bay area show came and passed me by, I felt that if i played the waiting game, who knew what might come up? At 4 PM Wednesday, like a shot in the dark, my cell phone rang. It seems that an online drawing I had entered had paid off. There was only one winner, and I was it. Two V.I.P tickets, plus aftershow meet and greet. Yes, a drive on the road to Utopia after all. But strangely enough, like a vision from a crystal ball, I felt upon entering that I would get those tickets.

Arriving a hour early to check in at will call, I surveyed the scene watching for familiar faces. It's not that easy when you're coming from 100 miles away to find members of that secret society, especially when a number of the folks present were there to see Joe Jackson (who turned in an excellent performance as well). Early on I spotted my buddy Bill from Sacramento, and we chatted a bit. The wife and I stepped outside only to find Michele sitting there. "Hello it's me" I implied. She was on the phone to her radio show back in Hawaii doing a pledge drive. Even on her day off she has to work. While on hold we talked about the tour, her kids and her comedy show. But where does the time go? Soon, we needed to move back inside.

The crowd in the lobby had grown by quite a bit, and I surveyed a few more faces for that recognizable glint. Then out of nowhere: is it my name? Yes, it was seajoe from the forums calling out to me. We chatted for a bit, and he introduced me to his friends.

Finally, the show was about to begin. As I handed over my ticket to the usher, her eyebrows raised when she said "Oh, these folks go all the way down front." Yes, front row seats were mine from that lucky draw on Wednesday. And as it turned out, that location was the place to gather for admittance to the meet and greet after the show. A select group of a dozen or so got to go back. A murmur of disappointment from a few (including me) when it was revealed that Joe could not come out, but Todd did not disappoint. He chatted, signed autographs and stood for a few pictures. Although he usually doesn't recognize me by sight, he never fails to remember me when I mention my name. He signed "You always continue to be the man" and thanked me for my efforts with the TR Connection. I ensured him there would be a good review posted today.

Rather than mess with the silliness that is my review, I have a few additional comments about the show. Take it as review - Part II.

Todd's new guitar, a Babicz ( is absolutely beautiful and sounds like it came straight from heaven. Even my wife, who knows nothing about guitars, noticed it as being new and said it was "pretty." The version of Black and White that came out of it on Friday night was probably the best live version that I can ever recall hearing.

Todd pointed out his white tennis shoes, and how they failed to match his ensemble. He forgot his shoes! He also pointed out that the theater was like a gymnasium, not for its looks (it's actually quite a nice venue) but for the heat on stage.

Todd received several roses from a woman who threw them on the stage from time to time. He laid them on the piano, and when Joe came back for the encores, he appreciated the "gift from Todd." Joe also clenched one up in his teeth during the encore. We found a rose in the parking lot after the show, looking like it came from the same bunch. We took it home.

Michele mentioned that Todd's hair is shorter now because, despite her objections and warnings that it would damage his hair, he had the colors reversed for the Liars tour. Seems she was right, and he had to hack it off.

Todd, of Ethyl, absolutely shredded his bow during the encore numbers.

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05/20/2005 - Luther Burbank Center - Santa Rosa, CA

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