lancaster 4.30.04

Review by Anthony Rogers (Switch to

I was surprised to see such a lovely venue in Lancaster-most importantly, acoustics were fine-almost opposite to the cavernous old Basie place in Red Bank a week before. I also am pleased to report that Todd had the best vocal night I can remember since going to see him. It was all 100% there and no rag at all which is surprising, given his earlier problems and the number of shows he's done. What got better in the week? Balance and mix were clearer-some low end rumble avoided consistently-even through Mammon. The band is simply better now because Ferenzik has gotten aggressive with his playing, -he's louder, he's covering more parts (and some that he'd been playing can now be heard)..One bummer about the night was that Foamy bit the dust..It failed Todd as early as B Grass and Jesse played the out-chorus lead. To get real picky..Todds vocals could come up on mammon-but the balance (which had been good but sometimes lopsided) really came together on the NH tunes.. Nice to hear Love Science and a nice combo version of a complex tune..nailed this night. Sweet and Past were both loved-Todd rode a vocal glider over, above, in out-taking you on the full ride telling myself theres been better ive seen but I cant think of it..superb night vocally..proves he is the best singer in the world and he was this night no matter who else was trying to match him. .past..what a great tune for him live in the great ballad tradition of last ride, verb to love, only human. .had been missing for quite awhile. .born to synth is the ultimate band showcase-some are bored with the song but it has evolved so much to catch-todds nightly word on the end of the tune/(A(aim)-mish" was the word)..jesse's solo is breataking blues into jazz into outer space-ending with a siren..ferenzik goes into hos Bill Evans block building floating upward..Prarie shifts into full bebop doubletime..kaz plays a throbbing bass-inserting alternate root notes, changing the chord structure, creating an unexpected little bursts of harmony which move against the upward Ferezik pattern..Kaz then takes us into Holger Czukay style melodic but spacy solo..tying it off with the 7 rays riff. todd calls it a musical tantrum..and then during the jetson intros-they even have little vignettes worked out for each member. this is as Zappaesque as youll see anywhere now in modern music.. God, do we need him now. For me, the peak is always Feel It and tonight with his pipes was unreal. ..same with Nail. .No, Red Bank response it was not, but hey that's Aimish folk rather than Jersey crazies..crowd still loved it˜on HIM, the facial expressions now include a "wink wink" on "spend the night.." line. The tapes have to be good- 5 tapers there from the east coast..come on you southern dudes..get it together and do the shows down there please..great show great friends great voice great venue. ..

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4/30/2004 - American Music Theatre - Lancaster, PA

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