Another Unpredictable night at Blue Ocean Music Hall, Salisbury, MA. As I prepared for the trek north, I was struck by my lack of enthusiasm for the show. I wondered if I was getting old (spoiler alert: I am) or the unpredictable format was getting old (spoiler alert: it had been). 95 north after 5pm is often a traffic nightmare and the thought of it annoyed me. I ignored the inner old man and forged onward into the commuter nightmare we have created for ourselves. Off to the beach...
With heat and humidity in ample supply, thunder storms were popping up throughout the day, yet the ride was downpour-free. Upon arrival, I felt better already (the age issue is always about the logistical issues to overcome; the spirit is willing...). This good feeling continued as I ran into buy-my-tee Dave C who explained to me there may be some fresh new songs. He wasn't offering titles and I wasn't asking him to name names.
Dave was correct. With a fresh set of unpredictable covers and a few of the old ones that are always a treat, tonight proved the unpredictable format is still viable. Todd and the band arrived at the Blue Ocean on Tuesday and spent part of the day practicing those aforementioned fresh covers. On Wednesday evening, the band seemed tan, rested, ready and rehearsed. The unpredictable format tends to work for me when it feels like you're a fly on the wall for a group of talented folks hanging out and playing what pops into their heads. The start of a song can go wrong, the song's end can show up early, or it may take them some time to figure out what the tempo is -- it's all part of the loose, fun vibe.
Todd began with a few recognizable songs, as he claimed he was hoping to accrue some goodwill before indulging himself. For the first cover (after the opener of Jaan Pehechaan Ho), Todd returned to Never Never Land for a faithful version of that great sing-a-long "I Won't Grow Up." He ran into some difficulty early on and after the first verse decided to take it from the top. The second take stuck. While I can't recall the running order, the evening included the Yellen/Fain Broadway classic, "Are You Having Any Fun?" On stage and off, all signs pointed to yes. The still fresh Weezer"Hashpipe" was played. Todd prefaced this with mention of currently collaborating with Rivers Cuomo and of having completed negotiations with Cleopatra Records for a Todd Imprint on the label. He explains it will be EMU music -- endless mutations. What this means, time will tell, but I do not believe any part of it was a joke (even the EMU part. See, WaT: "I'm always serious."). https://youtu.be/jU759jKtf94
At some point during the evening, Todd pointed to his Toddstock t-shirt, pushing cotton by mentioning their availability at the merch table, then adding that if he really wanted to soak us he'd be doing Meet & Greets. He then provided a quick review of the two completed Toddstocks, Virginia being a great time except for the extreme heat almost killing everyone and Scotland featuring a castle and what we all think of when we think of Scotland - the last steam driven, seaworthy passenger-carrying paddleboat. Of course, this chat became the intro to The Proclaimers hit "I Would (500 miles)." Dah da dut dah....
Todd had politics covered in The Call's "The Walls Came Down" and in a glorious reworking/parody of Zappa's Camarillo Brillo as Mar-A-Lago Brillo. The orange cappuccino was well skewered. https://youtu.be/AKoHqvc7zqo Todd took the time to remind us that it was not our privilege to vote but our RESPONSIBILITY. He further explained that if we failed to vote, what would happen would be.... Arthur Brown's "Fire." Todd earlier had waded into the Me Too movement in a joking fashion with his description of the lyrics of Melanie's "Brand New Key." https://youtu.be/hTob3EHJJqI
Lorne Green fans experienced some disappointment. God Bless him, and for this I will be forever grateful, Todd gave Lorne the night off.
So many Beatles' songs in Todd's concert history. He added another last night that went over very well, for many a highlight of the evening- I Want You (she's so heavy) https://youtu.be/bAgYz5S8yz4
About now you must be asking, what about Todd songs-- we got em. I can't say this list is complete, but included in the evening was: "Lysistrata," "Black and White," "Love of the Common Man," "There Goes My Inspiration," "I Saw The Light" (WaT version), "I Don't Want To Tie You Down," "Let's Do This." Todd's voice was in great shape, as evidenced in his I'm So Proud/Ooo Baby Baby live medley followed by Marvin's "I Want You." https://youtu.be/weQK3a4cw6M
A fun night.