It’s been eight years since TR played in Oshkosh. Since then, Riverside Park has been rebuilt to include a world-class pavilion with state-of-the-art sound, beer vendors galore and a sloping lawn to accommodate the grazers.
Weather-wise, it was a perfect night – in the low 70s accompanied by a nice breeze.
TR hit the stage at approximately 9:00pm, greeting the crowd by commenting “If you’re all as loaded as you look, you’re in for quite a ride!” (Actually, the crowd was pretty mellow – not too drunk, except for two lopsided patrons).
He tore into the opening chords of “Love in Action” and then aborted it right away because his “sound was dumped,” which is techno-talk for “guitar don’t sound right.” So, he un-dumped it and started over, only then to have a guitar string break. So, he got another guitar, and started yet again. Neither I nor the entire crowd had ever seen anything like that before. People were thinking: “and I thought WE were the hicks!”
Anyway, he finally got through “Love in Action.” And it sounded great. The sound was nice and loud and the band was full of energy. Nice job.
Todd thanked the crowd and apologized for the glitches. He also let us know that “this is the first night of the tour” and “I really appreciate your wildlife” – apparently, the mosquitoes really had it out for him as they were circling him and the whole band like a fleet of vultures. It was a sight to behold because there was not one mosquito to be found in the audience.
It was Todd’s intent to play his new album in its entirety. But, before he got to that, he decided to play some cover tunes, just to make sure there was enough material to get through an entire concert. So, the second song of the evening was that classic by The Call - “The Walls Came Down.” This song sounded amazingly bouncy. People were bopping up and down, even though the song had to be restarted twice because Todd broke two guitar strings.
That’s three guitar strings in two songs back-to-back! What are the odds?
Next cover was Red Rider’s “Lunatic Fringe.” The band did a great job on this one. The audience felt wistful as it brought back memories of when they first saw “Vision Quest.”
Next up was a thunderous version of “I Saw the Light.” This was the loudest I’ve ever heard that song. And I mean this in a good way.
The rest of the evening was devoted to the new album. These songs went off without a hitch, except for one song, when a mosquito flew down Todd’s throat, prompting him to stop the song and expectorate the intruding insect.
All in all, it was a great show. The band was loud, energetic and weirdly upbeat. I’m looking forward to the new album.