The Roxy Theater - Northampton, PA - 11/21/1998

by Denis McCall

Seeing Todd for the 20th+ time in a town where I worked for 8 years was definitely a trip. Looking for and not finding my old friend Rocky (Jesse's long-time boyhood friend) was once again frustrating. Even more bizarre was finding my seat and Jesse two seats away talking to more old friends (Northampton is 10 minutes from where Jesse and Rocky grew up). Anyway, got to meet Jesse (briefly) and enjoy a great show. Todd started on a shaky note with a "haunted" acoustic guitar and some bad tuning. However, he redeemed himself (a self proclaimed "finally") with a rousing rendition of Lowest Common Denominator. It didn't seem too far removed from my first Toddaramo 25 years ago during the quad speaker experiment. Bringing on local hero Jesse and John Ferenzik seemed to put the show into a more serious mode and the quality of Todd's vocals seemed to move to another level. Without rehashing the playlist (someone elso no doubt will do that for you), the was an effortless move from tune to tune. The highlight may have been an extended bossa nova version of Born to Synthesize. John and Jesse exchanged jazz-tinged solos that gave the song new meaning. This set closed the show and led to an encore that had the crowd buzzing. It opened with an awesome acoustic rendering of You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (some Liverpudlian band's old tune) and One World. The show closed with Todd on piano doing Free Male and 21 and Hawking. Another night in Utopia. It's always a joy to see Todd do his thing in his world and for one night in my world.

Denis McCall
Lehigh Valley, PA