Review by Anthony McGarrigle (Switch to

Hmmmm. Todd in Manchester. My third Todd gig of the year, the third different country I'd seen him in and the third different 'Band' he'd played with after Utopia in NYC and the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam. Whilst looking forward immensely to the gig I just couldn't see it matching the other two which were right up there with the finest nights I had spent at a live concert.   Journey began with a flight from Derry to Liverpool on Friday afternoon and a dinner with family on Friday evening. The weather in England was unseasonal to say the least  with temperatures in the 80s and we sat outside sipping IPA on a warm and balmy October evening after a rather tasty curry on the Liverpool Road.   Saturday arrived and the beautiful weather continued. I made my way to the Lass O'Gowrie pub to touch base with fellow forum members. We had booked a room to meet in but the weather was so good we took over the beer garden to the rear of the pub and made it our own. Renewed acquaintances with Bev, Jo, Tim, Spike, John, George, Glad, Matt, Ute, Jill and others over a beer or two before we made our way to the show at 7. Didn't quite expect to see the queue that had formed outside the gig and it took us a while to get in but once in I was quite pleasantly surprised by the venue. It was bigger than I expected and a little like the Highline in NYC or even the Forum in London. One thing they have got to look at is the floor. I know it was a warm evening but it was like walking on Evostik! I decided to stand a little back from the stage to get a better sound but this is something of a double edged sword. No doubt the sound is better but you also have to put up with the pricks who are shouting for 'Marlene' all night or simply chatting loudly during the songs!   At around 8.15 the band took the stage and the familiar intro to 'Real Man' rang out as our hero took the stage. Immediately it was apparent that his voice was in great shape. 'Real Man' segued seamlessly in to 'LOTCM' and already the crowd were in the palm of TR's hand. Todd picked up the guitar for 'Buffalo Grass' next followed by 'Kind Hearted Woman' and 'Determination' the latter a treat since I'd never heard him play it live before and the former one of my favourites anyway. Great bass work by Kasim at the end of 'Determination' by the way. The night was going well!!   Todd then adopted a lounge feel sitting on a stool to do a heartfelt 'Lucky Guy' followed by 'CWSBF', 'Espresso' and  a singalong 'LITA'. A 'With A twist' version of IWHMAD followed which whilst performed admirably was probably my least favourite moment of the evening. Give me the original every time!!   Next saw the 'Soul' section with 'Lost Horizon', 'Flaw', 'Soul Brother' and the Marvin medley all sung impeccably showcasing in what great shape the man's voice was in. After an absolutely bewitching 'Hawking' we were back in guitar mode with excellent renditions of ISTL, 'Courage' and a superb 'Drive'. A high stepping CIJTY with Kas and Jesse brought the evening to an altogether far too early close before the band returned to finally get THAT intro right for 'Hello It's Me' before we ended with the sublime 'A Dream Goes On Forever'.   This was a truly excellent gig and I have been truly blessed to see three such different shows performed so impeccably in the last nine months. If I were a grumbler I'd have liked to see 'The Last Ride' in place of the Johnson and an original version of IWHMAD but hey! That's just me being picky! Also Kasim could please lose the gum!! It looks so unprofessional on the stage.   The band were in top form and Todd looked to have carried over the joie de vivre that he was showing in Amsterdam to Manchester. Personally I put that down to the few days he spent in Ireland between gigs!! :0)   Eyes that have seen will know what I mean!

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10/01/2011 - The Ritz - Manchester, UK

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