We made the 2.5 hour trek to Peekskill because even though the band would be playing 10 mins from our house Sunday night, the Casino is a 21 and over venue and therefore Nick was out of the picture. Boy am I glad we made the drive. (See my compare and contrast bit for Mohegan Sun.)
We arrived early and found the venue wide open. Just walked into the theater to see the stage set, etc. Asked the guy at the ticket window about our VIP passes, he said he would "check on it." Went to get a bite to eat at a cool little diner, came back to find that, you guessed it... We were "not on the list." I acknowledged that I fully understood the "not prepated to debate who is on the list and who is not bit" BUT I had received a confirmation (after I had E-mailed to find out) AND I had driven 2.5 hours, AND Nick is 10 and this would be his only chance. "Sorry" was still the answer. After more wrangling, he finally came through and gave us the passes on faith. Good guy. For those who have ears to hear, if you have purchased VIP passes, bring your E-mail confirmation along. You may be glad that you did. For more VIP ranting, see my Mohegan notes.
The meet and greet was wonderful despite the anxiety experienced getting the thing together. Met some nice fans, "Howdy Bill and family!" One surprise was how many kids were there. Out of the 20 or so who were there, I'd say there were no less than 6 or 7 kids there with their families. Kasim and Jesse played nice and Michelle was super warm and kind. Todd, came out bedecked in Kane Co Cougars Tee. "Rex is playing today,and I always wear it on game days for luck." Smiles, autographs, pictures. A truly nice guy.
OK, enough schmaltzy "I had fun with my kid stuff." The show was truly awesome. I have had my reservations. As I have been less understanding of the whole "He's Todd, so we have to accept having to pay to attend a dress rehearsal" angle. I went to the show with my fingers crossed.
As others have said, the band was on. As I listened to them play "Just One Victory" I honestly thought to my self that I don't know when the song has sounded better. Jesse continues to amaze me. I've seen him 3 times with Todd and once with Tony Levin in the past year and I enjoy him more every time. He is just a great player.
The only problems were technical, and out of the hands of the players. One neat thing was the fact that when the mic went out on "God Said" I was amazed that I could still hear Todd's voice over the PA when he came in at the start of the final verse even without amplification. (And that's from the 5th row of the balcony.) Todd did experience some tuning problems that threw off some of the solos. I think that he referred to the accident as "Balinese tuning." His voice was strong, the band was tight, his guitar playing (when in tune) was spot on. Just a great show.
One interesting angle on all this is the great debate that continues to carry on with reference to the sound of these shows. Knowing of course that where one is located in the house is going to have dramatic effect on what one hears, I don't remember any other show, or series of shows bringing out such strong, and diverse opinions.
Talking to folks that I have met at Todd shows throughout the years (and another "howdy" to Roy and Carol) it seems that folks who were even remotely close to the stage described the sound as "muddy and indecipherable." However, from the balcony, I thought it sounded great. (And I'm pretty picky.) My guess would be that if you want to see the band play, get close to the front. If you want to hear the show, move back close to the sound board. Sounds like common sense, but it seems more true for this show than some others.
Final thought is this, whoever came up with the idea for the lighting design should be commended. They are obviously working on a tight budget, and so the idea of the little individual lighting trusses and the LED lights makes for a great looking show that I would guess to be pretty economically conservative as well.
All in all, a great night and wonderful show.
Back home for Mohegan Sun...