The front group, Berlin, was a refreshing change from the Blondie intro act of the earlier tour. . . a blonde singer, a three-man backing group that leans to the electronic, but a very powerful set all-in-all. Twice Terri Nunn left the stage and walked with her wireless microphone through the audience, with followspot in tow, mesmerizing the attendees. Both times she returned to the stage, the stage hand that helped her back up got a kiss on his bald spot, and seemed to like it.
The New Cars took the stage and within a few minutes proved to the Atlanta audience that they were the real deal. Sliding almost effortlessly through the first few songs, the usual preoccupation with food and beverages was supplanted by a fixation on what was happening on the stage. TR started the wrong song once, but the band and the sound and lighting folks seemed to recover quickly. Except for this one flip-flop of two songs, the set was an exact copy of what they were doing in the summer shows BC (before collarbone).
When TR and Elliot played the dual-guitar-lead in ISTL, they ended up playing the same notes, rather than harmonics, and had a good laugh about it. Then, after the song was over, they did this classy thing. . . they picked up ISTL from just before the lead, did the lead correctly, and then just stopped. We all had a good laugh about that. . . and it underscores how comfortable these guys are with each other and their material.
Elliot demonstrated how well his left arm was doing by channelling a Pete Townshend windmill, and then said something like, "I won't be doing any of those tonight!"
This is TNC show number three for me, and they seem to be getting better and better, despite the enforced "time off". There was much talk about "next summer", and Prairie suggested that the full stage set would be back for that string of appearances. I can't wait for the late Fall shows in New England.
It's interesting to read the recent discussion about "soul" and the lack of it, after having seen TR with Jesse, Tony and Jerry in Montreal last Sunday night, and TR with Prairie, Kasim, Greg and Elliot in Atlanta last night. I think The New Cars live show has a lot more of that kind of gravitas to it. . . especially with songs like "Moving in Stereo", where Greg's keyboards kick out some phenomenal energy that excites deep emotional responses. Soul is where you find it. I think you find more soul when you look for it, rather than bemoan it's absence.