11/9/97, Ft Worth, TX

by Jack Knetzger


A kitschy tiki lounge set. Palm fronds, thatch, and bamboo "roof." Gold lame curtains behind the band's chairs. On the right, a mock bar with three tables for 2 and three stools. The bartender, (mixer) comes out, turns the lava lights on, taped music plays.

The band comes out. Kasim, the bass player, is in a silk silver suit. The drummer, the guy from the Tubes I'm told. The guitar player is Jesse Berst (?), the music editor from Guitar Player, in a pajama thing -- looks like Todd, some mistaken clapping.

"Caravan" intro (sans Todd) A super poppy number, the guys sound great. The drummer plays the first two sets standing up! The guitar player sits cross-legged on his bamboo chair and plays acoustic until the middle of the 2nd set when he switches to a Strat. As the number ends, out comes Todd in a red satin suit, red socks, ruby shoes, mod sunglasses. Slinks in and slides into his chair without any fanfare, starts singing. Applause.

"I saw the light" For the whole first set Todd sings in his chair, only swiveling from side to side, shaking a small yellow banana shaker, snapping his fingers. He's completely into the shtick. About the 3rd song he unbuttons his jacket. He does the BN Twist numbers perfectly, fantastic singer. Band is tight. Kasim's bass is immaculate, complex, and swinging.

"Influenza" "Can we still be friends" "It wouldn't have made any difference" "Zen Archer" -- yes, Bossa Nova archer. At the end, Todd stabs himself with the banana-shaped shaker in his chest and calls it "Fruit Archer."

In between, Todd makes jokes about Dallas, X Files premiere, and having the flu, the same as reported at other concerts. He's sticking to the script. He gets a martini, comments on the onion, gurgles through the martini during one song, and lets out a loud belch at one point. Sometimes during the songs he shakes the banana shaker ridiculously in his face.

"Jealousy," "Neverneverland," "Love is the Answer" Kasim and the guys are doing great backup vocals. Really tight.

"Espresso" This number rocks. Fast tempo, loud, pounding dynamics, call and answer vocals caught in spotlight switching shtick perfectly. These guys are pulsing the room now. Break time.


A loud tasteless comic from L.A. does a 15 minute set. He does good sound effects, though.


Intro by the band, which has traded in their suits for hawaiin shirts. John Ferenzik, the keyboard guy, does an emcee like intro for the mysterious island god. Todd enters through the bar with the big tiki head on, wearing his ra shirt, bottom half swathed in a towel. Face painted like Vishnu in day glo.

"The individualist" The rap number cranks up, not Bossa Nova anymore. He works the whole stage, dancing, running, hopping, wild gestures, shmaltzing the couples who won radio promotions to sit on the stage. His voice is great. The full Todd charisma kicks in.

"Real Man" "Lost horizon" "Eastern Intrigue" Todd's singing and dancing. The lighting is psychedlic throughout, Todd all in red, all in blue, etc. Kasim switches to 6 string bass, Jesse switches to a sky blue strat, but the drummer's still standing! The drummer plays a couple numbers with mallet-looking sticks. As the refrains of "Will the Real God Please Sit Down?" ring out, I can't believe I'm hearing this stuff again. Todd is play acting all kinds of stuff: when the "Jesus Mohammed Hare Krishna" babble chorus happens, he does a great eyeless chattering idol head shtick.

"Can't Stop Running" Todd jogs in place through the whole number. Shades of the blues brothers.

"Hello it's me" - For the last song in the cosmic middle, a fog machine starts belching out the clouds. At one point Todd does a prolonged belly dance and pelvis thrust, showing he's still plenty supple. The whacked out version ends in a room-clouding fog machine climax. Crowd goes wild (well, as wild as us bunch of office slaves are gonna get...there's a couple women that give him stuff during the show, one or two hecklers, but no dancing.)


A honeymooning couple (or are they actors) dances on the stage in the spotlight during the break.


Todd comes out solo with a clean face in jeans and a loose black vest jacket and white shirt, Mr Troubador. He sits down at the bar, does some miked shtick about flu with the bartender. Takes a martini back to his chair, picks up the acoustic and plays "You've Got to Hide your Love Away." Crowd starts singing along on the "Hey!" and the chorus. Then he plays "Love of the Common Man" solo. His face makes very pained expressions as he plays with the songs changes, ala Curt's taking a shit in public metaphor, and you can see clearly how the 50-year old Todd has filled out: the wrestler's shoulders and arms are still there, and the stomach is definitely flat, but his once adrogynous hollow lidded horse head is strangely full, heavy lidded, and hamlike.

"Lucky Guy" The band returns, in normal garb. The drummer finally sits down. Song goes great and I think then blends into “America Goes Home Drunk?” I guess this is the Zappa number. Todd sings a couple lines, then sits down at one of the stage tables with some babe. At this point, all the couples have been replaced by babes (groupies or actors?). Jesse gets a long solo spot on guitar (Zappa's solo?), then piano man gets a spot. Does NOT turn into the everybody gets a solo number, and ends.

"Born to Synthasize" Features Todd/Ferenzik vocal scat duel.

"I'm so proud/ooh baby baby" He sings his heart out. Just beautiful.

"Want you"

"A dream goes no forever" Gorgeous. As the outro backup vocal refrain "In My Dream" goes over and over, Todd puts on his jacket, Sinatra-like, and slowly bids adieu to the folks on the stage and the bartender, and to us, enchanted in his dream. After Todd's gone, the band plays another 10-15 repeats, and leave. Then the bartender starts an Elvis tape, turns the lights off, and that's it. No amount of clapping and whistling gets an encore.

What a guy. I hope we can see him again someday (playing lead guitar too).

Before the concert my wife, who loves Todd's early hits, didn't think she'd like the show--she hated the With a Twist cd, except for "Mated." (Wish he'd played that in concert.) Anyways, at the end of the first set of the stationary Todd bossa nova, she was looking dissapointed. But as soon as the godlike jester rappin' Todd finished "Individualist" at the start of the second set, she leaned over and whispered "I'm in love." Fickle.