Burlington - 28 October 1996

One drawback of being on this list was I knew what RT was probably going to play in advance, and there were no surprises. Even his stage patter was pretty much the same as reported. I would have liked a little spontaneity, and there was a soupcon of it, such as when he asked the inevitable question pre-"Ghost Of You Walks": "Are any of you on the Internet list?" To which Barry and I and maybe one other person(did you make it, Dan Herman?)yelled, stomped our hands and clapped our feet. RT must not have noticed one of us; he said "Hmmp, only two." As he probably thought to himself, Thank God, I mean Allah. He then went into the usual introduction.

The music and the band(especially!)itself, however, though at times rather loud(for my wife, anyway), was brilliant. Quibbles could be made about Danny's humongous acoustic bass being too jazzy for the context, and Mattacks playing being too simple, but the former gave the band a unique sound it would have lacked with an electric player, and as for Mattacks, all I can say is I am convinced the guy is one of the two or three best drummers in the music business. It takes a truly great drummer to play the repetetive martial beats he was often required to play and not look bored or drag the tempo. He even got to cut loose with occasional brief but impressive solos that proved once and for all he was no human drum machine. Where appropriate, and it never seemed like showing off. I don't know, if I needed a drummer who'd be totally sympathetic to what my songs needed, Mattacks would be tops on my list.

The pre-show party was good fun; RT couldn't make it, but I met Barry from the list(sorry- forgot your last name!)who drove down from Ottawa with his wife, and several local fans, including one woman with whom I speculated about the dire possibility of Barry Manilow covering an RT song.(Hey, it could happen- he had a hit with an Ian hunter song a number of years back, and he released an album of big-band standards a couple of years ago. My wife's a fan...)All the local station brought with them to play was HOK and AACR, however. I knew I shouldn't have left my Sunnyvista tape in the car(three blocks away).

No surprises, but great show. I don't remember the precise set order, but it was similar to other shows in the past week, opening with "Razor Dance" and BVIH, and encoring with "She Cut Off Her Long Silken Hair" "Mascara Tears" and "Hokey Pokey." In between most of the usual stuff was there, though "Easy There, Steady Now" and "Two Left Feet" had been given a rest for the night.

Christopher R. Coolidge