TR's Utopia at the Carolina Theatre, Durham NC

Review by Patty Chase (Switch to

I went to the Utopia show last night in at the newly-renovated Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC. When the show was announced, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go--my compulsion to see Todd whenever possible has waned in recent years, plus I wasn't the biggest fan of early Utopia, and I have been to a couple less-than-awesome TR shows in my 30 years of fandom. But then again I've also been to some fucking amazing TR shows during those years too, and I've met some fantastic people because of Todd. A presale offer on Twitter convinced me to get tickets, and I was thrilled to get second-row-center seats.

The buzz in the theater before the show was strong. I'm not sure if it was a full house, but it was pretty packed. I introduced myself to fellow NC fan Daniel Lee, who I've been facebook friends with for years but never met in person. I saw a few other faces in the first several rows that looked familiar, but not that I could put a name with. As 8:00 approached, it was obvious that people were excited for this show, chatting with each other as they found their seats, greeting old friends and making new ones. The response was warm and enthusiastic when the curtain came up. (Yes! An old-fashioned theater with a curtain!)

I was hooked from the first note of the Utopia Theme. Todd looked ridiculous in that multicolored outfit with the golden tubes and the chaps, and I say that in the kindest and most loving way. The band was tight--a few flubs, and Todd started one song over at one point, but I was happy that at least to my ears, some of the things I've read about sloppiness in previous shows did not seem to be true last night.

I can't give you a setlist because I don't know all those songs, and I purposely stayed away from reading setlists from prior shows. Happy surprises for me included ELO's "Do Ya" and "Something's Coming" from West Side Story. [Note: I now know these songs were both on Another Live. See how out of touch with early Utopia I am?] A yelled-out request for "We Gotta Get You A Woman" from the front prompted Todd to say "I hope you're kidding" (I am 100% sure the reqeustor was), and then he played "Heavy Metal Kids," saying "that's as close as you're gonna get." After each side road away from the "Ikon"-ish material, Todd said theatrically, "And now back to the PROG ROCK!" The band seemed to be having an outstanding time, with a good sense of humor about the whole endeavor of playing this somewhat obscure old music for these old people. And the crowd, as far as I could tell, ate it up.

(Side note: A blurb in the local weekly paper listed this as a Todd show; Mary J. Adams set the record straight with a comment in the online version about what people should expect at the show, but it's likely there were some people in the crowd, as there always are, expecting to hear "Hello It's Me." I hope their minds weren't blown too completely. Wait, maybe I do.)

"The Wheel" was another special moment for me, and I loved "Seven Rays." All we got for an encore was "Just One Victory," but it was a perfect ending, as it always is.

I'm glad I overcame my initial reluctance to attend this show. As Todd pointed out, in terms of notes played, I got a very good note-to-dollar value for that $55 ticket, and another set of positive memories to add to my Todd Bank.

Shining still, -patty

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11/10/2011 - Carolina Theatre - Durham, NC

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