Arena Tour, The Picture House, Edinburgh, 7th November 2008

Review by Paul Dickinson (Switch to

Great to see Todd and band back in Scotland. I managed to catch Todd in Glasgow on the 'Liars' Tour as well as with Joe Jackson/Ethel a year or so later and I have to say that this gig blew both of those appearances away. It was great to see Todd with guitar in hand from start to finish - as much as I enjoyed the 'Liars' show Todd's reluctance to let rip on guitar was a definite let down of that tour. This in no way detracts from the admiration I have for Jesse's playing - he played superbly throughout but it's great to see Todd showing an enthusiasm for lead guitar once more. I thought the band as a whole were fantastic throughout - Prarie's drumming was rock solid - he hit those drums so hard it reminded me of John Bonham, Rachel looked to be really enjoying it and it was great to see (and hear the vocals of) Kasim again, although I'm not sure the 3rd Guitar/Occasional keyboard role did him justice. It's difficult to say what were the highlights of a blistering set but I'd probably pick out Black Maria, Open My Eyes, Gun, Strike, Bardo and Panic - I know some have complained about the covers and I didn't really know the songs before (I think they were probably bigger in the States than over here), but I thought they fitted in to the set very nicely. Of course it would have been great to have heard more Todd songs (I think 'The Death of Rock And Roll' and 'Heavy Metal Kids' would have been great additions), but it's wonderful that at 60 years of age Todd can write an album of the quality of Arena that can be played in it's entirety on merit and then back it up with an even more powerful performance of it live. I'm looking forward to catching a DVD of the tour and it would be great if Todd could get the same band back together to record the next album rather than having to rely on his computer setup.

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11/07/2008 - The Picture House - Edinburgh, UK

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