Cleveland review

Review by gbyrd (Switch to

I’m still processing much of what was experienced and that is always the hallmark of a great show, Todd or otherwise. I found myself standing and just staring, almost awestruck. Not because it was Todd so much as what was being played and the unexpected level of intensity conveyed. Oh, I did dance and sing but I just would almost freeze and feel the raw energy and multilayered music wash over me. I don’t remember having such a great birthday experience. (Then again, I don’t remember a lot of things!)

First, the venue: It was my first trip to any House of Blues. It is to rock clubs born from old theaters what Joe’s Crab Shack is to authentic Fish Camp restaurants. Anything corporately owned suffers from such things. We opted to eat at the HOB restaurant which was surprisingly good. It also got in the venue ahead of the crowd.

My better half and I are both disabled veterans and our “special” seats were very uncomfortable bar stools in the balcony. We didn’t have to stand the whole time, though.

Second, the music: OMG! This ROCKED! I, like many of you love it when Todd makes his guitar scream and squall. This was a rock guitar dream come true. The first part of the set with some of the faves was excellent. I haven’t heard Love In Action since back in the Utopia days and Walls Came Down was tight. I think TR was making a reference to some comments on the forums about him playing Black Maria too much. I’ve heard this song live and on several different recording and this was a good as it gets. High energy with a great wailing solo, you’ll want to hear it again. Yes, TR it is good to come back to that slice of pizza! Open my eyes was on fire and it as my first Lunatic w/ a band- Todderific! ISTL was a nice pallet cleanser before the new stuff.

The Arena: This is where I was and am still lacking proper words. The level of power and musicianship is as good as I’ve ever seen from any band at any show. It was refreshing for me as a former hack, semi-pro musician to see axes plugged into amps that were miked, not wired into the board. This has a definite and positive effect on the sound. The mix was a bit muddy at times but not to the point of distraction. Gun was hoppin’ and Courage floored me. It was then I found myself transfixed, feeling the effects of that song physically and energetically. Mountaintop and Panic were excellent but Man Up was down-right f’in fantastic. Rachel’s bass thundered I can’t wait for the CD so I can read the lyrics I was feeling.

Third, the players: TR was full of light and energy. Dancing and playing as well as I can remember him ever seeing. The material revs him up and as the crowd reacted, so did he. If you like to see Todd play his ass off you need to go see this show. The Rock Godd Todd is on the loose and rippin’ it up!

Jesse was superb, hot riffs and lots of spark. He is an excellent sideman and TR lets him shine on lots of leads.

Prairie was on! This is why TR calls him one of the best drummers in rock- because it’s true!

Matt played very well. Lots of skill and versatility. I’ve always wanted a red SG like he plays. Maybe next birthday…

Rachel reminds me of John Entwhistle. Oh, not by looks! She is a lovely Elvish Princess that rocks the hell out of the bass. It is in her approach she is reminiscent. Both feet firmly planted, she delivers the thunder to Todd and Jesse’s lightning. Entwhistle played that way, almost motionless while “Boris” tore up and down his guitar. Rock on, baby girl! (PS I was always chided for playing a bass w/ a pick, guess what? Rachel does and it rocks!)

So now I search for a summary; here it is. You have to go and be part of this. I you love TR’s music, if you like to rock, if you want or need a swift kick in the soul, if you want to experience the shear power and majesty that Todd brings us from the realms of Utopia, GO! You’ll see…

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6/29/2008 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH

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