July 8 - Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR

Review by Elizabeth Mondulick (Switch to

The show in Portland got off to a pretty bumpy start, and yes, Todd was cranky and there were sound issues that required tweaking early on in the program. He was definitely in a much better mood when I saw him last September in Eugene. But he did eventually bring it around and it was a wonderful thing to hear “Open My Eyes” live. Shortly after launching into the new “Arena” material with “Mad”, things started to come together and it just took off from there. “Weakness” was very sweet, the classic softer side of Todd, and “Courage” followed that very nicely. The crowd was appreciatively compliant with “Strike”, and by the end of the show everyone was pretty much jamming and there was some serious head banging going on. I enjoyed hearing the new material all in one shot and am really looking forward to hearing the studio version. And it just doesn’t get any better than wrapping it up with “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” and “Just One Victory”, although it would have been great to hear “The Wheel” which was at the end of the set list but not played.

Rachel played it pretty straight but was very solid. She ignored the heckling from one of the guys standing behind me, and was really sweet when talking with her after the show. Can’t argue with any of the previous comments about Jesse and Prairie Prince; great stuff as always there.

My friend and I left our husbands and kids at home to get to this show. She has not followed Todd as I have for over three decades and is relatively unfamiliar with his music, and even though initially it was disappointing and uncomfortable to see Todd in such a pissy mood, she still came away a convert and is sold on the new material. All in all, it was definitely worth the 2-hour drive to get there (Todd, PLEASE come back to Eugene – we love you there!) I for one hope that he can find the forgiveness that some of us were able to find so that we could enjoy the show, and will return to Oregon, perhaps at another venue if in Portland.

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7/08/2008 - Aladdin Theater - Portland, OR

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