The Stage was constructed over the Lake that pools from the river running through Todd and Michele's living room and above the water falls. It was quite a feat just building on top of water, supplying electricity and sound and using the LED living room house lighting for the last song's special effects. It was a dream come true for all the Todd fans. Amazingly not overpopulated even though some locals and friends attended. It was a mild Kilauea night of weather and high spirits.
Shortly before sunset between 6 & 7pm Michele introduced the show we had all been waiting for from the Lanai Deck. The band came out and launched into "Mad" setting some of us into mental bliss frenzy. Still setting sound levels Todd opted to replay the song. Yes it was better clearer stronger second time around. I could have heard all of the songs repeated but it was a dress rehearsal.
Most of the new songs have the power rock feel as rumored and most were single word titles like "Mad", "Afraid", "Mercenary", "Gun", "Weakness" (sung toward Michele on the upper deck), "Mountain Top", "Pissin", "Panic" ending with explosive lighting effects background from the house for "Man UP" and no encores. Thirteen songs were played and no former releases revisited. Lyrically engrossing and sonically pleasing especially the searing twin guitar solos. Rachel Hayden, bassist, laid down the bottom with chest throbbing pulses while Prairie gave the heart beat precision. Matt on rhythm guitar and keyboards with backing vocals provided a sweet addition while Todd and Jesse wailed away.
The only approach to disappointment was that the set ended too soon but no matter how long it would play on it would have been too soon for all in attendance. One of the Highlights was watching Michele (sans boot cast) and Claudia and another unnamed woman jump into the lake with the stage dancing to the last song. The smiles on their faces was priceless :)
The saving grace was Todd's announcement for all to "Party until Dawn".
More birthday song wishes sung at the community "Mess Hall" tent. Gifts were given to our hero after which he and Michele graciously thanked all the "Utopians" for an unforgettable week in La La Land. The family also thanked special guests who came from far far away like Tako and the Japanese who have "kept the fire burning" even though few appearances occur there. My thanks to Steve Hartstein for organizing a birthday card (designed tastefully by Mott) on which most of us signed and donated a fine Sushi table to Todd's house (with an extra boost from Roger Linder).
All in all a fine time was had by all. Expect many local home parties to spin off back home as soon as everyone gets back.
I loved meeting and living with you all,
Until we all meet again.....
Thank you Todd & Michele,
Take care of each other,