I loved hearing Arena from start to finish. While he bows to the arena genre and pays not-so-subtle tribute to arena legends like Robin Trower and ZZ Top, Todd's message in the album is purely his own.
Arena is a powerful collection of music for amazingly challenging times. For me the climax of the message is Bardo, that place in Tibetan Buddhism where everything is stripped down to the pure truth. There is only one truth, there can be no disagreement about the truth. It is not good or bad--it just is.
And Todd is clearer about the truth than I've ever seen him. His voice comes straight from his soul and his guitar playing seems to be channeling the earth. I'm glad we're on the same side!
While a spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down, this show proves that sublime rock and roll can carry a deeply mystical message directly to our hearts.
One last note: I really loved seeing a woman in the band. Rachel held her femme ground on a stage that was literally oozing with male energy. Great job.