review of Birchmere show 12-17

Review by Deborah A. (Switch to

December 17 is my birthday, and a friend of mine, knowing I'm a lifelong Todd fan, took me to the show as a birthday gift. I had read positive reviews about Arena and the first tour, so I was looking forward to a night of good music. We had excellent seats, just a few rows back, in front of the right speaker. From the very first note, I knew something was wrong. The distortion coming out of that speaker was awful. I don't know how Todd and his band could have continued playing through the entire show with that level of distortion, without people walking out, without their sound person or the venue doing anything to remedy the situation, or without Todd at least mentioning it to the audience. To have to sit through 2 hours of distorted electric Todd at a very high decibel was painful, in spite of my adoration for him and his music (or maybe because of it). The people at the Birchmere said it was not their issue because Todd's personnel were in charge of the soundboard. I don't know who's to blame for the distortion, but I think someone should have had the courtesy to apologize to the audience. It was as if they thought we were oblivious - like if they didn't say anything, we wouldn't notice. Also, the music was waaaay too loud. My friend had to cover his ears at certain points during the evening, and I had tinnitus afterwards and into the next day - and neither of us are shy about cranking up the volume. It was a shame, because the music Todd played from his new album sounded like it would have been good stuff if not for the distortion and excessive volume. I'm grateful to my friend for trying to show me a good time, but in hindsight, I wish I'd missed this one.

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12/17/2008 - Birchmere - Alexandria, VA

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