Well, I liked it better than Dave McKenna at The Washington Post did, I can tell you that.
Strange that McKenna should make note of how the crowd "confused" Joe when, during "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" he sang, "Look over there!" and we yelled "Where?" True, he did stop and giggle, but I've heard at least four live versions of that song, and the crowd always yells "Where?" -- it's on the original record fercryinoutloud. It's tradition.
At any rate, this show would have been much, much better in a smaller venue. Joe Jackson at a solo piano is (believe it or not) a very warm and charming performer, and the intimacy a solo performance needs was a bit lost in the cavernous Warner Thea-taaaaaah. Also, I sorely missed the Joe Jackson Band, which is a fierce, fierce, fierce little rock band, rivaling and even surpassing The Attractions at their sharpest. Joe's rendering of "Awkward Age" and "Take It Like a Man" were terribly underpowered without Graham Maby.
For an experienced perfor-maaaah, Todd Rundgren was strangely unable to calibrate his act to a solo setting. He basically oversold himself, I think. A man standing alone on a large stage playing an acoustic guitar is not a particularly absorbing thing to watch (unless you're Bob Dylan in 1963), and I think he felt he needed to compensate by oversinging, mugging, reaching for notes he couldn't hit on even his best day, and generally trying too hard. Pity. His ukelele rendering of "Bang the Drum All Day" did amuse, with a modified verse:
And I get my sticks and go out to the shedThe opener, Ethel, a string quartet in the mold of The Kronos Quartet, was utterly wonderful, and the fact that the Warner Thea-taaaaah has a policy of allowing latecomers -- some as much as 40 minutes late! -- to be seated during their perfomance made me want to strangle somebody. Add to that the yacketing and guffawing emanating from the bar in the lobby and you have one cranky occupant of Seat 17-S. Those tickets weren't cheap, dig?
And I pound on that drum like it was John Bolton's head!
(One other note: I just hate the sound made by an acoustic guitar with a piezo pickup that's plugged directly into amplification. It sounds the way plastic tastes, like prechewed polystyrene. Go grab a big mouthful of bubble-wrap, and that's the way a plugged-in acoustic sounds to me. I understand you risk less feedback that way, and you can apply effects to the signal, but Jesus. Ick. Like being trapped in Guitar Hell with 200 of those horrible plastic Ovations all playing at once. Bleah.)