This place (Club Soda) is a cut above the average club. . . they had small tables, just like Boston Pops has, with four chairs at each one (Pops has 5). The shape of the room and the ceiling height are just right for good sound. . . reflections and reverberation are under control, so the PA doesn't have to be ear-splittingly loud. Except, of course, that when the PA is NOT ear-splittingly loud, some couple will just HAVE to talk their BUTTS off right in the middle of one of the best performances of Hawking that Todd has ever given. But that's another story for another paragraph.
There was a palpable joy in the house and on the stage tonight. Tony Levin was obviously chuffed to be working with TR, which is kinda wonderful when you look at the list of artists he's worked with in his long career. Jesse's guitar work is stellar as usual, but wait, it seems to be even better than usual, he seems to have taken ownership of the "musical director" position for this short tour, and most of the time Tony and Jerry are taking their ques from Jesse.
----- 9:00 PM -----
I Hate My Freekin' ISP
not the TNC version, not the solo version, not the TRio version, this is almost exactly like the LP version, except on steroids! Holy Mary, Mother of God is this good! Long standing ovation after.
Then TR sez, "We're moving into the Le Funk zone, now!"
TR sez, "For those of you in this room, maybe sittin' around the edges there, who maybe didn't quite remember that song, we're gonna fix _that_ RIGHT NOW!" I Saw The Light (fantastic, perfect, dual guitar lead with Jesse)
Temporary Sanity (a little on the loosey goosey side)
Black and White (HMMoG again!)
TR sez, "I've performed this song for several years now, and had NO IDEA that it was from someone up here in the great white north. . . yeah, cheese curds. . . not Gordon Lightfoot." Lunatic Fringe (tight, Jesse's guitar work just WAILS!!)
Oh, Man, hold onto your hats. . .
No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator
Drive (From "The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect", not TNC)
Jesse really has the guitar work and the background vocals screwed down tight on this one
TR sez something like, "OK let's go way back now, in our
time machine, to that time when we were in our youth. . . still
had all our hair. . . that wonderful time of free love, when you
might get an STD, but it wouldn't be AIDS, and whatever you
got was easily handled with Penicillin. . . you might think that
this song might be denigrating to one gender, but that's not
so. . . "
On which, TR broke his second string of the night, and he ended SLUT gesturing at foamy with "that" finger and singing, "look like shit to me!" He talks about this tour not having a tour bus, and they have to make do with what they can bring on the train, so no racks of guitars up here tonight. While the guitar jockey is off-stage takin' care of the situation the stage patter wanes, and someone in the audience sez, "Tell us a story, Todd!" So he does.
The Walls Came Down
from the 1983 LP "Modern Romans", by a band named "The Call"
Break -- to Encore
best performance I've ever heard, TR was emoting to the max, fully involved and involving, except for this Todd-Damned couple at the next table who couldn't freekin' SHUT THE HELL UP!! Interestingly enough, a waiter came over with their check and said a few words to them, and when he left they spoke no more, so the last verse and closing moments of Hawking were undisturbed. Interesting how just two people with no sense of courtesy can be responsible for ruining an experience for 20 or 30 people who are unlucky enough to be sitting nearby.
World Wide Epiphany
20 or 30 people got up and just started dancin' their collective butts off, the place came apart at the seams.
The guys say goodnight, do the interlocked-arms dip thing, and
leave the stage, but the lights don't go up, and the people
don't leave, so TR comes back out with foamy and plays a
solo electric version of
Love Of The Common Man
that really puts a cap on the evening. TR then sez, "I've gotta save somethin' for Toronto tomorrow night" and makes a most gracious departure, signing things for folks in the front row and shaking hands quickly.
----- And it's over, too soon -----
After the show, the couple who ruined much of the Hawking performance tried to be friendly with me, talking about my The New Cars T-shirt and that tour, but hey, they PISSED ME OFF! So, I didn't talk much with them.
However, that was the only time during the show that anyone got in the way of my enjoyment, so it was MUCH better than the average USA show. This night will stick in my memories for a LONG TIME!