There were a few technical issues and a few moments of gen-you-wine rock 'n' roll sloppiness, but overall the show absolutely rocked from start to finish. My *only* complaint--and concern--is that Todd screamed out a lot of the lyrics to almost every song, and while this shows his passion, it makes it hard for people who don't know the songs to hear what he's singing, and I can't believe it doesn't put an incredible strain on his voice.
This was my first time at the Rams Head; it's a 260-seat tabled venue, pretty cramped (even on stage; Todd attempted a leap at one point, but he didn't really have the room), but obviously quite intimate. Very few people stood during the songs, and I think those few who did were quickly asked to sit down. (I look forward to standing at the State Theatre tomorrow night.) Nevertheless, the crowd was clearly into it.
But back to that setlist--while I like "Lysistrata" and "Cliche", it's nice to finally have a break from them. And I heard songs I never thought I'd hear Todd play--"No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator"?? "Broke Down and Busted"?????--unbelievable! Other songs took on new textures in this context, like "Tiny Demons", "Drive", and especially "Hawking". The band was just incredible, with Jesse Gress contributing great lead & rhythm & backing vocals, Tony Levin and his unique style of bass playing, and the rock-solid Jerry Marotta on drums. And I've never seen Todd go so nuts on guitar.
Usually if I see a show and know I'm going to see it again with pretty much the same setlist, I have to steel myself for the disappointment of not hearing anything different. But I am happy I have tickets for tomorrow night (actually tonight--it's 1:40 AM as I write this), because I want to experience it all again. This is definitely one of the top three tours (along with Utopia '74 and The Eleven-Voice Orchestra; Liars is a close runner-up) I've seen Todd do. But, Todd--don't lose your voice!!
Buffalo Grass I Hate My Frickin' ISP Black Maria Soul Brother Mammon Fascist Christ I Saw The Light Black And White Lunatic Fringe (cover of Red Ryder song) No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator Drive Tiny Demons Mystified/Broke Down And Busted/Mystified Slut The Walls Came Down (cover of Call song, I think) One World Encore: Hawking Worldwide Epiphany