Columbus Todd Fest Midwest...aka...CTFS

by Craig Schneider

Last night's show was exceptional. Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself. I won't go into the song list cause it's already been posted, and from those in attendance who have seem otha shows, the songs remained the same.

As mentioned already on the list, the venue was a huge warehouse. Nostalgic in the fact that my father werked in that warehouse for about 20 years and I had spent a few summer boondoggling jobs there myself. Nice to see that they've made something outta the place. Whenever I mentioned that TR was playing there, I got a few strange looks, and several "Is that Todd guy gay? Seems as though the venue "Mekka", opened as Columbus's largest "Gay" bar, complete with cages suspended from the ceiling (a place for Michelle to dance?). Let it be known, I saw none of this last night. I few remnants remained to park cars and check coats, with piercings in more places than not. Two questions. When you have a cold and remove that nose ring, and sneeze, does snot blow out the whole? And, exactly where is that little thingy that goes on the other side of an earring that's placed in your chin? Chin ring?

Starting around 5:30pm we lined up outside the Mekka. Conflicting reports as to when the door would open passed through the rather small crowd of ToddHeads. Less than 20 people braved the cold to come early and assure a place at the front of the stage. Carol (my wife) and I were about numbers 9&10 in line. Parking right in front of the door was also free for those arriving early. After about 60 minutes of waiting outside, they let us inside to wait in a casement block holding tank. Graffiti on the walls indicated this was the norm. Mary Lou and Jesse passed by the crowd several times as Mary Lou was assigned a Walkie Talkie (Who was she suppose to talk to?) The crowd swelled to about 50 when the doors to the club finally opened at about 7:15pm. By show time, there was probably between 800 to 1000 there. Lisa B. had flown into Indy and drove with Diane. Despite the weather, they made it in less than 3 hours. Diane is know for a heavy right foot. Thank god Todd didn't step on any of the Hershey's kisses Lisa kept putting on the stage, I hate picking them off his toes!!(Dec.1996) Victoria and David drove from Kansas City, some of you will remember Victoria from the CSERVE days and from her newsletter. It was nice to see them again in Columbus. Becky from Kansas, also a regular at the Columbus shows, made a surprise visit with a few Cincinnati fans. I had to constantly look out for Becky (she's about 5') as several rude fans tried to push their way to front of the stage, blocking her (Becky's) view. Greatly missed was Nancy Mearkle. Becky promised to give her a hug for all of us as she headed back to Cincinnati. I'm sure Nancy will be at the Cincy show at Bogart's. Dan Studebaker made it in from Dayton(?) and worked his way up to meet us at the front of the stage to join us. Dan was lucky enough to catch a green guitar pick of Todd's embossed with "TR-i". Great to see Dan again as well. Dan managed to stay "IN" the venue for the whole show this time! There were a lot more and I apologize for not mentioning their names. Also missed were Bob Chalfin and Chip Bell, both of whom were in attendance (I believe), but didn't make it to the front of the stage to meet everyone.

A few quick notes.

Kasim roamed the crowed before the show. And he REALLY does look like he's 22. He met up with a friend there (female persuasion) for a rendezvous after the show. Funny how they (Kasim & Friend) both wore the same style/color top for the first set. Kasim was a exceptional addition to the show, his bass playing is equaled by none, and his backup singing excited the entire crowd, especially when he sang some of the Utopia tunes (filling in for TR at times). There was a certain sparkle in his eye during Eastern Intrigue, Love is the answer and Real Man. Visions of him with Utopia at Veteran's Memorial in Columbus 20 years ago flashed by many in attendance.

And last. The infamous Al, aka "Officer Al" whom many of you know from the "Stratton Files" has been working the stage as head waiter throughout most of the tour. As an X officer of the law, his eyes were in constant motion last night, looking for the likes of evil, being that saton's past home was only 90 miles to the south.

Last. If you haven't seen the show, See it. Even if you don't like TWAT. The show isn't all elevator music. Yeah there a few strange arrangements, but there are also many surprises.