During his set at Boca Raton’s Funky Biscuit last night, troubadour Todd Snider shared a story involving the founder of Crocs—who, oddly, became a personal friend of Snider’s—and a particularly sour gig in his past, in which too many requests for “Free Bird” prompted him to storm off the stage after three songs.
Which, inevitably, led to a shouted request for “Free Bird” at our show; somebody had to be that guy. This time, Snider not only survived the moment; he actually played the thing, in his encore, or at least the first part of it, which is more than enough.
Indeed, the singer-songwriter was in top spirits and fine fettle over the course of his 75-minute set, performed alongside a bouquet of flowers on a side table and a few stray ones in the brim of his fedora, befitting his hippie persona. This, too, was an improvement over his health just two years ago, when he played the Funky Biscuit for the first time after visiting a local doctor for vertigo. “Now I’m just baked,” he informed us.
The Biscuit felt like a night at Nashville’s Bluebird Café: A dimly lit room, great food and wine, a singer and raconteur regaling a quiet, receptive crowd with compelling songs and stories, the genres flowing seamlessly from intricate blues to unhurried folk to acoustic rock.
Snider played just five songs before opening the audience up to requests, many of which constituted the remainder of the set, as Snider generously, gamely, attempted to play everything he heard. The difficult and word-stuffed “Vinyl Records” was a particularly satisfying surprise, even if he only made it through the first verse and chorus.
Deep cuts like the meta charms of “Working on a Song” weaved around fan favorites like the amusing “Alright Guy,” which, in contrast to the soaring, Tom Petty-style pomp of the album version, took on a more resigned, considering tenor; the gravel in the voice of this middle-aged Snider suits his ragged tunes well.
In between performances, his quips and observations touched on the emergence of the Americana genre of music—hatched, he said, in East Nashville, to comfort country musicians who weren’t good enough—and his distinctive look: “I usually get mistaken for a bum at my age.” The show’s most poignant moment arrived with the John Prine tribute “Handsome John.” Snider called Prine, who died in 2020, “probably the greatest person to ever do this,” gesturing to the guitar, and offered a story of his time on the road with Prine that is a testament to the elder man’s boundless kindness and compassion.
And he addressed COVID-19, in terms of the unprecedented toll it’s taken on his travels. He began touring in the early 1990s, he said, and that tour “didn’t end until the pandemic. This is my second tour.” Let’s hope it has plenty of legs.
Looking for a Job
Working on a Song
Play a Train Song
Life’s Too Short to Worry
Keep Off the Grass
Just in Case
Stuck on a Corner
Conservative, Christian, Right-Wing, Republican, Straight White American Male
Just Like Overnight
Free Bird (partial)