Chef Jam - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH 6/13/10

Review by Roger Steel (Switch to

Imagine a group of middle-aged guys in a garage band and Todd happens in on them and decides to sit in for a night. That was Chef Jam.

Before Todd hit the stage, there was plenty of food and fun to be had. Admission got you into the show but also gave you access to the Rock Hall, all the food you can eat and booze you can drink. Food stations were set up throughout the hall for our food sampling pleasure. I particularly liked the wild boar tacos and the Sam Adams were nice and cold. A few local bands played while people ate and drank.

Good sized, sold-out crowd, about 1000 in total. For a while, it didn't seem like there were too many Todd fans because it cleared out before the set even started. People worked their way back in though and the set started at about 9:30.

The band, made up of local chefs, were as competent as you'd expect a garage band to be. Decent but not outstanding musicians. Two drummers, percussion, keys, bass, two guitarists and Todd. Their repertoire leaned more towards jam songs and they often times had difficulty winding them down. I didn't recognize a few of the songs but as a whole, the set consisted of rock standards like "Long Train Running", "Whipping Post", "Fire", "Ohio" and "Woodstock" to name a few. During those songs, Todd's role was pretty much as a background musician. He primarily played rhythm guitar but would take the lead on a few occasions. From my vantage point above and to the side of the stage, Todd was buried way down in the mix which made his leads indistinguishable. Still, it was a lot of fun seeing Todd in a back-up role for a change.

Todd played three of his own songs which I was a little surprised by. "Broke Down and Busted" was the first and maybe the only time I've seen that song played live without the "Mystified" mash-up. He later played "Open My Eyes" and finished with "Bang the Drum." Bang had the place rocking. While certainly not one of the songs most die-hards care too much about, this version was unique in that it had Todd playing guitar throughout. It was fun. I guess I was expecting a more food-focused set so was hoping for "Boogies" or maybe even "Hungry for Love" but it wasn't to be.

To me, this wasn't the kind of show where you could expect too much. It was a little sloppy, a little long-winded but those are the things that made it a fun, unique Todd experience. As is typically the case in Cleveland, Todd really enjoyed himself and the crowd did as well. Even after 11:00 pm, after four hours of eating, drinking and rocking, the fans wanted more. While we didn't get an encore, I think everyone walked away from the Rock Hall with a smile on their face and happy they witnessed a very unique Todd show.

By the way, rumor has it that Todd played an impromptu set at the ABC Tavern in Ohio City on Friday night. I haven't been able to substantiate it but will try. I also took some seemingly decent video that I'll be posting on YouTube shortly. See you in North Lawrence, OH next month.

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6/13/2010 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, OH

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