Review by Joseph Shaffner (Switch to

Being impractical and stubborn has always been two of my great virtues. So this year instead of sitting through the Nutcracker at the National Theater for the twenty-third time, I decided to take my family to see Todd at the Birchmere. Having never seen Todd at the Birchmere, and having some tender ears of my kids to consider, I decided to head over early to get a "Birchmere meets Southwest Airlines" deli ticket to get a good spot in the queue. There was a good-sized line at 5:00. As always, lots of Todd fanatical chattering. I contrasted this with an Aimee Mann show I saw the following Wednesday there, where there was no line at that time.

Mike from Cleveland, graciously came over and said hello. He recalled for us the first time he brought his kids to a Todd show in Cleveland. My older brother Michael was probably at that show! He put my kids at ease. He then proudly displayed his Cleveland Indians tattoo on his calf. Only at a Todd show right? Thanks Mike!

My 10 year old son Grayton, who is also impractical and stubborn... like his father, decided to put ear plugs in and pull his jacket hood over his head in protest. I must say it was mighty loud under the PA. That being said, Marcus, my seven year old, was just fine (see photos). They asked me after the show, if that was louder than the Who concert I took them too last Spring.

The show was very similar to the show at the State last with Tony Levin et al. It's great to see Todd is back as a lead guitarist. Mike Urbano did a fine job on a very Spartan drum kit. Todd was very funny. I did not detect any issues with Todd's voice. He managed Hawking just fine. He asked at one point "are there any children in the audience under the age of 16", before launching into Lowest Common Denominator , which he said "was about sex". He later treated us to a political diatribe on neoconservatives.

Good show. I hope we see some albums and a New Cars tour soon!

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12/16/2007 - The Birchmere - Alexandria, VA

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