I wonder if whoever booked Todd at the Heritage for the last date of the American tour knew the audience was going to be surrounded by an army of 70 year old ornery gestapo crones holding machine guns to everyone's head in case they stood up at their seat and god forbid danced. OK, no guns, but that's how it felt.
In 100's of shows in countless locations I have NEVER EVER been at a concert where you couldn't stand and participate and show respect and response to a hard working band playing music with the whole point being to energize and uplift and create an exchange between players and audience.
We drove 110 miles to this venue we'd never been to before and I guess were only ones who didn't know. We were in the last row in front of the sound guy, were the ONLY two people standing and dancing in the whole theater from the first notes until first I was told I had to sit down because "the sound guy couldn't see". I found that odd because all of us in front of the sound guy at the Petaluma show stood and danced all we wanted.
A few songs later I stood to the irresistible swing of 'Sweet' cuz the sound guy wasn't directly behind me anymore and a stern Nazi old lady tapped me on the shoulder glowering and scolding this time saying that the 'fire code' didn't allow standing during the show and I had to remain seated.
It was BIZARRE to have a theaterfull of people forced to restrain emotion and forbidden to outwardly physically react or participate during the mostly BLAZING first half with songs that ironically were all about the damage that narrow-minded, restraining belief systems and rules had done to society.
I felt so sorry for the band playing their hearts out to a 100% seated, nearly motionless audience and wondered where they were getting any energy to feed off to drive the intensity with which they played ceaselessly. After quite a few high energy songs Todd did say obviously tongue in cheek something close to "It's our last gig of the American tour and there's no place we'd rather be than here with you." I felt so sorry if he didn't know we were being forced to sit.
Though the whole show appeared to be as intense as Petaluma last week, I didn't 'get' that Todd sang this one as freely, edgy, spontaneous feeling as Petaluma. I wondered if it was the lack of audience response, or if that perception had to do with my own interpretation because of the mood I was in personally differently. It would be interesting to know how the band perceived their difference in the two nights. Anyway, instead of standing I spent the time sitting listening very closely, diving as deeply into all the subtlety I could and enjoying the depth of artistry of all the players which was still worth the trip.
When the front half of the audience finally couldn't hold back any longer and leaped up at the Hello It's Me encore to dance and sing I really did look around for the machine guns to come out, and when they didn't I joined them and we at least returned a little love for the last couple songs to close out the tour.
I let management know what I thought about their policy after the show. They seemed totally clueless saying "it was our first rock show here, the closest thing before this was Tony Orlando".
Todd, so sorry the tour had to end with such an illustration of exactly what you were railing against. It wasn't you! Know that there were plenty of us there extremely more present and loving all the material than apparent - not just the encores. My 7 year old is singing Truth and Sweet around the house all the time - and really getting what the words are saying. Don't wait another 10 years to deliver more!