Irving Plaza, NYC - August 27, 1996

by Josh Chasin <>
I saw Todd last night at Irving Plaza, a club in NYC. Killer show! Here is a set list and a few comments; as you will see, it was essentially an extension of last year's "Individualist" tour:

Black Maria
Family Values
Facist Christ
Secret Society
The Individualist
Hammer in My Heart
Tables Will Turn
Beloved Infidel
#1 LCD
Cast the First Stone
Black & White

Mystified/Broke Down & Busted medley--
Worldwide Epiphany

I managed to get real close, and it was a pleasure to see/hear Todd play so much guitar. I realized that I hadn't seen him play so much electric guitar since '85 and the POV tour. (I missed the '95 "I" tour.) Cliche and Lysistrata were solo but played on an electric instead of acoustic ax. On workouts like Black Maria and Black and White, as well as the newer stuff, Todd's guitar work was exemplary.

It seemed like there was a structure to the show and a finite body of songs from which to choose, but that within these constraints there were times when Todd decided what to play on the spot. For "Tables", when Todd began singing the intro,Jesse hurredly switched guitars, while Todd stretched the vocal intro and chastized him ("somebody wasn't paying attention.") After the "I" Todd said, "Prairie, what should we play next?" and launched into the guitar intro to #1 LCD, then stopped and announced "I was kidding. We're not really going to play that." And finally, it looked like Todd decided on the spot to do the 2 solo songs (although I could be wrong.)

The new material sizzled, notably Facist Christ, a song I hadn't been too keen on but which totally turned my head around. And I like the Mystified/BD&B medley as an encore, but it was clear that most of those in attendance were puzzled as to why he wasn't playing Hello It's Me or something. I felt that a lot of attendees wanted to revel in the past, but for me the most exciting aspect of the show was how fresh and vibrant it was. I mean, I missed hearing Woman's World and Espresso, for God sakes!

People kept calling out requests like Singring, 7 Rays, etc. Todd paraphrased these by saying, "Hey! Play that hour-and-a-half long song you used to do!"

The band was a joy to hear-- tight, restrained when necessary, enthusiastic. A special nod to Larry Tagg on bass, who laid down the funk in a major way and looked like the guy in the room having the most fun.

A final observation: Todd's "feel good" songs were notably absent-- no Love in Action, Love of the Common Man, JOV, Love is the Answer, One World, Wheel, Hello It's Me, etc. This is not a criticism; I thought the mood and tone of the show was cool. Just different. Seemed like the show-- and the artist-- were a little less "utopian", a little more "street," a little more-- dare I say it?-- adult.