Cypress Gardens is in the middle of a sun-parched plain full of ponds and orange groves, an hour from Orlando. It's not quite as remote and "in another universe" as the previous night's show in Louisiana, and it's a long-time tourist attraction, predating Walt Disney World. We watched the skiers and toured the gardens while we waited for showtime.
The stage is a typical "shed" affair, underneath a large, steel, aviation-hangar-like building that is open on both ends. The stage is underneath one end of the steel building, and a modular-home-style dressing-room structure is actually built inside the other end. As with last night's venue, utilitarian, and with no effort made to dress it up. There's a tent flown over the seats near the stage, which are reserved and available for $15.00. There are bleachers just outside the area covered by the tent, with a large "festival seating" field behind that for folks to spread blankets and lawn chairs around.
There was no formal sound-check, although Greg and Elliot came out separately to set up and test their rigs. The pre-show Meet+Greet was actually moved to "after-show" because the fellow got in so late there wasn't time to accommodate it beforehand.
Show-time came along, and there was an immediate problem. Elliot had no sound from his guitar, so at first Todd tried to joke and cajole the audience while Elliot and the stage-hands tried to find the problem. When it appeared that there was no "quick-fix", TR told the audience that they were going to leave the stage until the problem was corrected. One bad guitar cable later and the boys were back.
Because of the faulty start, the show didn't gel until "Candy-O", but once through that little gem, all was well in TNC-town, and the intensity started to increase. Exactly the same set-list we are familiar with. When the guys got to the center-piece of the show, "Dangerous Type", "Movin' In Stereo", "All Mixed Up" and "Black Maria", The mix and the musicianship were peaking, and the audience was enthralled.
The place was only about half-full, but it felt like a smaller crowd because the "free with admission to the park" seats weren't so far from the stage that lots of folks felt the need to pay extra. Pictures were allowed "from your seats only", so I got a bunch from ten rows back.
I came to this show to take my old drummer friend Rob, who had missed the Florida show at Universal Studio last year when Elliot's accident forced cancellation of that show. I really wanted him to experience The New Cars with one of his favorite drummers, Prairie Prince, and when this "make-up" date became available, I just HAD to get him there. Rob was NOT disappointed, and was talking about it for hours after we left.
This was my ninth The New Cars show, and it just NEVER gets old. The fun tunes are still lots of fun, and the power-pop stuff is simply mind-blowing! If you didn't get to see this show last year, DO IT THIS YEAR FOR SURE!!