Compared to the Liar's show at the Alladin three years ago, the simplicity of the band structure and setting was striking. There was not a keyboard in sight, and guitars were all over the place. Special effects were pulled off with perfect low-tech ingenuity. Todd's confident lead guitar and vocals took center stage, and musicianship of the band was nothing short of amazing. Electricity between Kaz and Jesse and Prairie was exciting and fun throughout the show. They rocked the house with Buffalo Grass, and Black and White. The only problem with this part of the show was that, in the balcony, sound was a bit mushy and overloud.
Down in front of the stage, lyrics and harmonies came into sharp focus, and the awesome contributions of Jesse, Kaz and Prairie were easier to hear. When the band launched into Tiny Demons I was reminded of the vastness and breadth of Todd's repertoire. I grew up with his music, and have been listening for almost forty years. The best part is that it only gets more interesting as the years go by. It would have been good to hear my current favorite, Common Man, I but didn't shout out, because the set list was perfect. The show and final encore came and went too soon. During the first part, Todd's all-out screaming gave us thrills but also concern that his voice would give out. With the first few notes of Hawking, it was clear we needn't have worried. His delivery was powerful, true and straight to the heart. One World was also a perfect encore. Although from the early eighties, it was a welcome and joyful antidote to the present political disgust. The whole evening felt and sounded so great, I wish I could go back and experience it again. Now I understand why folks go to multiple shows in different cities. We were very fortunate to have this show in Portland.