by John Heslin

pre-show, post -thanksgiving, we gather together. of special note, hiroshi and mie who flew in from japan and gavin who flew in from australia via cancun. always a hilite of the evening, this Todd bonding thing. gina comments that we are missing clb and jules (chant!) and josh and....

we find a line outside the venue. now that's a surprise. it's cold, but not as cold as the Todd Podd tour. none of us can remember the name of the venue that the Todd Podd was forced to go to due to it's massive girth. we're all just glad we don't ever have to go back there.

the paradise was packed. approaches me with a five spot, given to her from josh who was given it from dave the animal loving bastard. she is instructed to buy me a drink. since she doesn't know what i drink, she gives me the cash. i purchase a shot of tequila. i am forced to add a buck to the cost of the shot and another buck for the tip. but i am still grateful. i toast silently. this list has it's good points and bad. free shots would be a good point.

the show is great, as usual.

some differences:

during love is the answer todd says (while the music continues to play) something like "put out the cigar, or i will stop the show right now." after the song, he continues, "seriously, if i smell any more cigar smoke i'll stop the show. and then everyone will have two reasons to beat the crap out of you."

during the 2nd set's performance of "the Individualist", Todd wanders to his left, just past the bar. he is in *complete* darkness. he continues to sing while looking in the direction of the lighting gurus. he remains in darkness. he is lit by a flash of one of the many flash-enabled cameras. he gives up ("jeezus") and walks to center stage. in mid-song, he points to a hula girl lamp on the end of the bar closest to the dark section and instructs the bartender to turn that on. a short time later, he returns to the same spot and remains there until *finally* someone finds a spot light and shines on him. Todd's reaction: "ah, genius."

the third set begins with solo Todd, as usual. tonight we are given "LOTCM" and "Tiny Demons" on acoustic black guitar.

in the audience, "Born To Synthesize" features an annoying woman suddenly appearing in front of me who apparently thinks that she *deserves* to be up front. who needs to get here early? just plow on through. and while there, if it is cramped and hot and you can barely move... well... dance godddamnit dance! and dance she did, like seinfeld's elaine. i later discover that Russ commented on the rudeness of this woman and her male friend, only to be asked by the male if he wanted to "step outside." incredible. (to his credit, Russ showed restraint.) as i was attempting to take a picture, the woman turned to me and told me that she was in a position to get a better picture if i wanted. how very kind of her, i thought. they both left after her Born To Synthesize "dance."

meanwhile, on stage, the band is doing its thing on Born To Synthesize. they give us some jetson, what's it all about alfie, some springsteen tidbit, and other toons i can't quite recall. (a little help here: at what point did the band play a part of 'cheap sunglasses' it wasn't here, was it?) during this toon the band shines and you see it's personality. a great moment in the show.

also, as usual, the crowd loved the show. comments heard mention the variety of toons, the surprise at hearing zen archer, eastern intrigue, etc. the show is well received. if you don't get it, it's probably because you haven't seen it.

so, now that that is over with, anyone hear any rumors about a new years eve show?