This mini-tour kicked off in Dallas, and lived up to every expectation I had. A decent crowd turned out (for a Sunday), and this was my inaugural visit to the House of Blues venue downtown. Friendly staff, surprisingly good sound, and killer (if steep - $$) seats were what I encountered, but I do know that those in the general admission queue probably have different feelings.
The band itself was absolutely smoking and ripped through song after song. It was hard to believe this was the first show of the leg, as they seemed perfectly comfortable as an ensemble, even with a new drummer. By the way, that drummer was Mike Urbano, who you may remember from the NH tour. He looked all grown up now (was he 13 on that tour?) and filled in admirably in the spot normally taken by Prairie Prince. Todd looked and sounded great – shredding away and singing with tons of energy. He is just an amazing performer and when he has such a great supporting cast (I couldn’t get over how easy Jesse makes his playing look), there isn’t anybody I can think of who can top him. The new fretboard on “Foamy” was quite the tonic.
No noticeable flubs or technical gaffes, great sound (and loud!) and well-paced throughout. My only small quibble would have been the set list, as it replicated the vast majority of the “Power Trio” DVD, which was put out 7 years ago (belive it – I watched it last night). We did get “S.L.U.T.” and “Drive” which I had not heard live before, though, and I couldn’t have imagined an “electrified” version of “Hawking,” but there it was as an encore and it was excellent. Thanks to Todd and the guys for giving a great show and I hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next visit. After all, he did make a “down payment,” so why waste the investment?