Manchester Ritz 01.10.11

Review by John Hughes (Switch to

A night of some amusement in an ironic way, after the event.

We had the bizarre sight of Todd playing in a decent sized venue (1,400 or 1,500 or so) which was pretty full, people there from Nottingham, Scotland, me from the Midlands, Lord knows where other people had come from, and it said doors 7pm.

So I decided to amble out from the hotel about 7, get something to eat, and drift in about 8.30 to see the show.

Hmmm, as the taxi pulled up outside the venue at about 7.20 I saw this remarkable queue stretching down the road from the Ritz.

I went up to one of the staff and asked what time Todd was on, thinking I'd eat in the Chinese just down the road, and he said 8pm - and he'll be finished by 10pm as there's a club night then.

So plans to eat were scrapped and I got at the back end of a very long, slow moving queue thinking it's only Todd's deranged management that puts him on in a venue where he is restricted to a 2 hour show, max.

And of course, I mused, it would be just like the man not to start on time, and leave us with a curtailed show.

And I was right, he didn't start until 8.15.

Now the musical part of this experience was pretty magical. The set list, as best as I can recall, was the same as this set list for the Mont Bleu.

Real Man
Love of the Common Man
Buffalo Grass
Kind-Hearted Woman
Lucky Guy
Can We Still be Friends
Espresso (All Jacked Up)
Love is the Answer
Lost Horizon
Soul Brother
I'm So Proud/Ooh, Baby Baby/La La Means I Love You/I Want You
I Saw the Light
Couldn't I Just Tell You


Hello It's Me A Dream Goes On Forever

No I may be wrong but I don't think we had Hawking, but we did get a bossa nova CWSBF, and during the evening Todd played a "I can't get the band to count this song in properly" teaser 3 or 4 times before they did it right at the start of Hello it's me.

I may also be wrong here but Todd looked to me as if he'd lost weight. Whether or not he had, he looked pretty good in black t shirt with a logo for Manchester, the Union Jack and the central horizontal bar of the Union Jack extended into a guitar neck. The rest of the band were mainly in black, though Prairie Prince had a natty spotted shirt on.

Minimal stage set, though Todd, Kasim and Jesse sat on stools for three or four songs and Todd had a small table by him with a fruit bowl on it, he used some of the fruit as imitation maracas on the bossa nova CWSBF, then plucked a pair of real maracas out of the bowl.

And I suppose Justice was done as the show finished about 10 minutes past the nominal curfew.

This has to rank as one of the best shows I've ever seen of Todd's - since 2004, of course.

But once again the way in which he is presented here got in the way of the experience.

Anyway, someone posted a review that simply said Todd was awesome - I'd have to say it was a magical, great night. Shame about the venues, elitism, blah, blah, blah!

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

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