This is the part of the review where I admit to being one of The Faithful. Having been a TR fan since the early ‘70s, I am sometimes guilty of denial, prejudice, and downright gushing when commenting on his work. End of disclaimer.
To all of us who have been longing to see our hero tour with a band, we finally got some satisfaction. Todd was plugged in and electrifying. His voice and guitar work fit the music of the Cars so well, that not for a moment did I mourn the absence of Ric Ocasek.
As the band barraged the audience with one Cars hit after another, many at this conservative suburban Washington venue found it difficult to stay in their seats. The renditions of Cars tunes were true to the originals, with Todd taking his inimitable, astounding liberties with lead vocals. Interspersed were three TR songs: I Saw the Light, Black Maria, and Bang the Drum.
Guitarist Elliot Easton had fractured his collarbone the day before when his tour bus made a sudden stop. He was wearing a neck brace, visible as a slight hump under his jacket. But the hump was the only sign of anything wrong with Mr. Easton. His guitar playing was magnificent in spite of the fact that he must have been playing in discomfort.
Kudos for the stage design, which provided a perfect backdrop for this show. Vivid and eye-catching without distracting from the performance.
The band came out for a short but gratifying encore, and the audience left pleased, and maybe a bit surprised. Even I was amazed at the number of solid, familiar, and well-loved pop hits in the Cars catalog, and how darn good they still sounded after all these years.