Tiki Lounge @ Piere's 2/6/98

by Kirk Bidwell

Prologue: A two hour drive from Indy to Fort Wayne. Traffic on I69 is at a standstill in the Fort Wayne area owing to a semi that's fallen on it's side. We get to the venue with maybe 20 minutes to spare. It's a big multi-bar kind of place. The Tiki Lounge looks a little smaller than what we saw in Chicago, apparently shoe-horned into the stage. The tables and stools are at the absolute edge of the stage. All the "spectator" tables are taken, so it's going to be a standing-in-front-of-the-stage night for us.

The show: Of course, the script and the set list are as at the previous shows. I have to chuckle at the people calling out for "Ikon" and "Wheel." They're obviously not clued in to the nature of the show.

Todd's voice just won't go to the higher registers; leftover effects of illness I'm sure. He acts a bit disgusted with himself. He doesn't so much talk to us but rather is throwing out a few semi-disjointed phrases. It didn't help that I was so close to the stage; when he didn't speak directly into the mike, I couldn't really hear him. When it came time for the cocktail onion bit, he reached for the glass and spilled it.

But not to imply that Todd was totally out of form. He really threw himself into it, especially with the energetic dancing during "Can't Stop Running." And he moved about the stage like he always does, walking around the tables on only about four inches of clearance to the edge. That part was great, watching him do "The Individualist" right in front of me!

And the band was fantastic. Ferenzik was great, ad-libbing and riffing all over. "Caravan" must be mutating every time they play it. "Real Man" was truly excellent. "Born to Synthesize" was a huge extended jam this time, much longer than in Chicago. Todd went over and sat at the bar for a while and admired his colleagues as they worked.

The "taxonomy" of Todd fans is readily apparent by their reactions as each song starts up. You have your AWATS-S/A-Todd era group who react to songs like CWSBF and ISTL. Then you have the Initiation-Faithfull era group who react to "Real Man" and "Born to Synthesize." Some of those folks look surprisingly young to me for a circa 1975 album! I'm not sure if the NH-2nd Wind-I era bunch are a distinct group, or maybe they're reborn members of the first two?

Lisa B played the object of desire at the bar, and she was certainly dressed for the part! Looking good, girl! I noticed her vamping a bit with the guy; sorry Lisa, I probably missed most of it since I was transfixed by OH. But then the guy started going for her scarf, the bartender gave her the cue, and she blasted him. Todd said "That's never happened before!" "A Dream Goes On Forever" winds down, and the crowd cheers for the encore they won't get.

Epilogue: Waiting by the bus, I get Jesse's autograph on WAT. Prairie comes out and chats, gets in a limo and takes off. Mary Lou peeks her head out, I can see TR's reflection in a window in the hallway. Then a bouncer comes out and announces to the "crowd" of maybe ten people that TR isn't coming out the back, he doesn't want a crowd, and he's upset. Sounds pretty doubtful to me. If anything, he's just upset that the limo is late or something. So no autograph for me.....boo hoo!

As we drive past the semi-trailer, still laying on it's side and being unloaded in to another truck, I wonder if THIS is the last time we'll see OH. I certainly hope not.