I attended my first/only tiki show last Tuesday in Winston-Salem, and while there's little more to add to the fine descriptions previously written about the shows on this tour, I will add my own personal observations.
I encountered Al immediately upon entering Ziggy's and recognized him from descriptions that had been given to me. We began to talk and I became his first tiki lounge recruit of the night! He even gave me the opportunity to be the drink-thrower, but shy me let that task fall to another, who by the way did a fine job, as did the drunk. Al let me choose my seat on stage, and I sat to the left of Todd's stool, right in front of Jesse. As the stage was small and low and all I could really see off the stage was the row of people standing in front, I was not self-conscious as I thought I might be. After all, I reasoned, who in their right mind is going to be looking at me when Todd is performing!? So I just settled in to groove in the tiki lounge. Sometimes I even found that I had blocked out the crowd in the bar, and really had the experience of Todd singing to the small group of us in the tiki lounge. Heaven, indeed.
The first set was beautiful. I love the bossa nova renditions more each time I hear them. The intention and emotion of the songs comes through to me even from underneath the detached vocal style which characterizes bossa nova. In fact, if I were to describe the show in two words, they would be "Feel It." Todd was feeling it, the band was feeling it, we were feeling it.
The second set was the closest thing to a spiritual/religious experience I have ever had at a Todd show. Todd the Tiki God was unreal. Loose and flowing and just so out there. I was brought to the edge of tears so many times during both of these sets: Fidelity, Love is the Answer, Lost Horizon, Can't Stop Running... Todd nearly knocked over all of Jesse and Prairie's equipment at the end of CSR, he was so loose. I half expected him to start whirling and break into Hodja. And Hello It's Me...surreal. On stage, the smoke at the end of set 2 was enveloping, and disorienting, and they truly did disappear into it.
I spent the third set offstage, a ways back. Finally I could see Prairie, who had been blocked by Jesse while I was sitting on stage. I enjoyed seeing this portion of the show from a different perspective, and was glad that I did not have that drink-throwing incident to worry about as my nervousness about the "performance" would surely have detracted from my enjoyment of the show. Todd's voice was clear and beautiful, and I totally believed him when he told us he's so proud to be loved by us. Born to Synthesize was unbelievably awesome...from what I've read, the extended jam in this tune has been evolving as the tour goes on. I'm telling you, there were so many references and homages going on in there, I could write a master's thesis analyzing the thing. And I was greatly impressed by the clever playing and interplay between Jesse and John.
And to end it, A Dream Goes On Forever. Amen.
I don't know if I have done this show justice with my words. I truly felt graced, fortunate, blessed, and blissed, to be in the presence of the heart and soul of Todd.
For those (like me) who groove on the spiritual aspects of Todd, go to the archives (do we still have archives?) and read again the posts by Kate and Josh from 12/2/97--RE: TR's Bildungsroman. These are eloquent and insightful posts about the context of the tiki show. I am continuing to ponder that thread and maybe we can get it going again.
I don't post here much, but I guess I've made up for that today. I want to express my great pleasure at reading the written thoughts of so many wonderful people here, and a few that stand out in particular, including Kate, Josh, and David Jodrey. And so many more. And I do so enjoy reading the posts of overseas list members, Keiko and others. Keep it up!!
shine on us all, set us free