Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
LAFAYETTE, IN – If it’s true that laughter is the best medicine and music heals the soul then Todd Snider is hands down the best cure for all that ails you. This is apparently a well-known fact among the Midwest as eager throngs of fans swarmed the Lafayette Theater almost filling it to the brim even before the opener, Rorey Carroll, took the stage. Hoosiers came from all around, and were chomping at the bit to see the greatness that would unfold that evening as Snider presented his Eastside Bulldogs Tour. The roomed filled with noises of excitement as the devotees chattered away eagerly like a gaggle of hipsters watching a beard bedazzler infomercial while waiting for the show to begin.
Rorey Carroll seemed to dance onto the stage carrying a magic second to none other than maybe the great Snider himself. She seduced the crowd with her mesmerizing vocals and a magical smile that caught everyone just a little off guard. Rorey hinted around at mischievousness while singing to us about how “nothing good comes after 2 am”, but somehow still remained pure as snow with her sugary sweet lilting tone complementing her slightly impish verse. Carroll’s musical hard truths with her light-hearted tone had the entire audience putty in her hands. By the end of her set the crowd became a beautiful cocktail of opposites just like Rorey as they sat back relaxed yet simultaneously raring to go for the main event.
Todd Snider sauntered up on to the stage smiling at that beautiful crowd with a Cheshire grin that said he was looking for any kind of trouble he could find. That smile stayed hidden away right in plain sight all night too, dancing just behind his eyes and ready to pounce at the mere suggestion of an unhappy face in the house. A soulful voice with the sincerest of eyes wooed the already enamored adorees, and Snider’s set was a success before he even finished his first song. He awed the crowed with favorites like “Play A Train Song” and “Better Than Ever Blues Pt 2” in between his classic soap box sermons whereupon he assured the crowd he’d have spared his opinions had they not rhymed so well. The audience clung to every syllable uttered by the musical outlaw just like a teenage girl mooning over the bad boy on the bus. Todd swept the crowd off its feet and helped them dance the night away all while managing to lay a bit of his wisdom on them. His philosophical musical musings wrapped in heartfelt crooning hitchhiked on harmonies like gifts on Santa’s sleigh, and dropped into the listeners’ ears like presents down a chimney. The crowd was rewarded again and again in this manner with phenomenal songs like Snider’s “Greencastle Blues”, “Statistician’s Blues” and “Conservative Christian, Right Wing, Republican, Straight, White, American Males”.
The evening seemed never-ending as Snider evoked his skill to repeatedly make a short story long, but the toothy grins on the faces of the crowd revealed that they didn’t seem to mind. Unfortunately, though, Todd’s immaculate performance really did have to come to an end, but somehow he managed to finesse a bit of joy out of even the saddest of moments with that silver lining smile still hiding behind those big beautiful eyes. Just like in a proper fairytale he belted out an amazing happy ending including romanticized renditions of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and the classic “Young At Heart” as well as an amazing version of John Prine’s “Illegal Smile”. The packed house raised the theater’s roof with their appreciative applause as the dulcet desperado was finally forced to take his leave of the stage for good. The symphony of cheers eventually faded along with the numbers as the patrons filed slowly back out into the night, but a newly spirited grin adorned every single soul. Sometimes all it takes is a simple smile from a stranger to change a person’s entire day, but the magic created by Rorey Carroll and Todd Snider at the Lafayette Theater was somehow even bigger than that. The enchantments created by those two changed more than just a day or a life. In just one evening their melodies changed countless lives as those soaring hearts and beaming pearly whites meandered back out into the Hoosier night to become the antidote for all that ails for so many more Midwest minds to come.
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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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