Penn's Peak is a wonderful place. . . a really high-ceilinged space built sort of like a big barn with light-colored wooden beams and wooden walls. Their could be a little more acoustic absorption on the walls to bring down the reverberation in the space, but other than that, it's pretty cool. There's a full-menu restaurant on-site, and the view from the top of this mountain is remarkable.
We were 40 minutes late getting there, my first flight was cancelled and I arrived almost too late to make it to the show. Fortunately for me, as we drove up the last mile of the narrow, winding road to the venue at the top of the mountain, we turned a curve and saw why traffic was so slow. . . the tour bus was having difficulty making it to the top, and they were ALSO 40 minutes late. Sound check was longer than most, with only one or two of the guys at a time checking out their stuff (first show of the new winter tour), and it was almost 45 minutes later when the full ensemble took the stage and worked out the kinks in their groove.
I was SO PLEASED when I heard them practicing "More" and "Warm"! FINALLY we will get to hear these live!
I was late getting to the room because the waiting line at the restaurant was so long and service was so leisurely. We found our way to the "pit" for which out tickets allowed entrance in the middle of the next- to-last song in the Persephone's Bees set. I regret not hearing more of their set, as what I heard seemed quite pleasing.
We were about five people back just to the left of TR's mikestand, and the sound system for up-close audience left a lot to be desired. The wash of sound from the amps on stage was a bit too loud, and the small speakers on the edge of the stage couldn't keep up it, so at times we heard too much of Elliot's guitar. However, I walked back into the venue a bit during the show, and the reverberation further back in the room was just as distracting and destructive, so we stayed where we were. Good thing, too, 'cause one of the pictures on the TNC website clearly shows us in the pit. . . cool.
You could tell the guys were a bit rusty, but overall the performance was good. The room was about 3/4 full, not bad for an hour-and-a-half from Philly on a Friday night.
This was "Atom"s first performance as fill-in bassist for Kasim Sulton. He seemed happy to be here, and did a creditable job filling Kasim's shoes. TR sang "All Mixed Up" and "Drive". The addition of "More" and "Warm" did not result in the removal of any songs from the summer setlist, so the show is just longer and more rewarding.
I've been trying to get my friend Daniel in Philly to a TR show for years. . . After all, he lives only a few miles from TR's stompin' grounds, so he _should_ have at least a passing knowledge of one of the Philly area's finest products. I got him to a Power TRio show in Atlantic City once, but it wasn't exactly his cup of tea. Too rough around the edges. So, when The New Cars scheduled a show at Penn's Peak, only 90 minutes away, I pulled out all the stops and got his girlfriend to convince him to go.
Mission accomplished. Attitude adjusted. Happiness ensued.
However, the next morning Dan took me to his gym for a little aerobics and weight-training, and Dan ran into a friend. When Dan told his friend about the TNC show with TR the night before, this guy's eyes got big as saucers and he started asking questions a mile-a-minute. Since Dan is a newby, he called me over to be the answer-man. Bottom line here is, WTF IS UP WITH THESE CONCERT PROMOTERS?!? Here's a guy who is obviously a TR fan who also liked The Cars back in the day, and he had no idea that this concert was happening. I guess the new promoter philosophy is, "if you book it, they will come." Huh! I had no idea that the human race had developed Extra-Sensory Perception and was omniscient. Cool. No more advertising necessary. Anyone can be a concert promoter now. . . just book a venue and book an act. Done Deal. No work, no worries.