As some of the Diehards might remember I am a sound engineer and did an interview with Todd in 1999 (when he played this Casino with Ringo's All Stars) that is posted on this site in the EPTAE section. I still work this venue on occasion and wanted the chance to see what was going on behind the scenes with this tour. I saw the show up at the Turning Stone Casino on 4-22-04 and was absolutely blown away by it. Last nights show at the Wolf Den (or as Todd referred to it "the wolf trap lounge") was in fact an abbreviated version of what is being presented in "normal" venues. The deal with the casino is this; they use the musical performances as incentive to draw patrons to the establishment. That should be known beforehand by patrons, This is a fantastic venue to see a show if you are interested in seeing someone up close and personal. The bands have to set up right in front of everyone. People on line would have been able to see Jesse on stage for a good hour setting up his computer gear and warming up before the show. John and Kasim were also out and about and Kas was near the line talking to many fans.
The management for Todd were told 2 months prior that their Patronet VIP system would not be honored in this venue as the VIP's at the casino are "High Rollers". So, any problems on that end have to do with Patronet not having listed this venue as an unavailable venue to "purchase passes". Personally, (and I have been in this industry for 20 years) I don't think real fans should have to pay for a pass. But that's another issue.
Now to the show and tech issues: The band and crew arrived at about 2:30 PM which was a little later than their scheduled arrival time of 12 noon. This is not a good thing when the venue opens the gate to seat people for a 7pm show at 5:30pm. The production crew is limited; there are only 4 guys on this crew so everyone has many roles. The road manager is also setting up gear and is the guitar tech, The monitor man is the drum tech and the Lighting Director has to deal with all that related gear (which wasn't used at this venue, good thing too with the time constraints due to late arrival).
There was no sound check, only a line check and considering this I think that the Front of House man (Robert) did a nice job. It wasn't as good as the turning stone show, but the wolf den isn't exactly an acoustic wonder either. I have mixed the wolf den hundreds of times and I think that Robert did a fine job.
The stage setup on this tour is interesting, Lots of direct inputs. Todd has a Mac setup, which allows him to start the midi files for the backing tracks on the "Liars" tunes. This also speaks to the wireless guitar setup, which is transmitted to Monitor land and then returned to the Mac so he can select his guitar sounds in "Amp Farm". This appears to be something of an issue and should be addressed. I think if Todd just set it up before each song it would work better, instead he seems to be trying to do it in the midst of the tunes and it isn't working. This was also a minor issue at the Turning Stone show, but not to this degree.
Todd has a mixer setup to control his volumes on the synthesized tracks and guitar. Prairie has some drum pads set up as well as having his live kit. All the players have little Behringer $90.00 mixers to control their DI input levels. The vocals are all Beyer dynamic Wireless mikes.
The show was good, but nothing like the performance I saw two weeks earlier. The band was a little looser last night and I think that the lack of production and costume changes might have led to a little of that. Todd came out with his platform shoes and at the first opportunity went back and promptly changed into some regular boots. That was the only wardrobe change of the night for any band member.
The set was shorter and they removed "unloved children" the 2 solo songs, the green onions segment and born to synthesize. Also not played was "love science", which has been in some of the shows.
I had a nice time working with the crew and the show was good, nothing more. Peace