The sheer power of "Black Maria" was awesome and was easily the best version I have seen him perform live, his voice and guitar work were superb. Special credit has to be given to Jesse Gress who's support work and lead guitar was brilliant and it was almost like having2 Todd's on stage at the same time. Kasim Sulton played keyboards and additional lead guitar, so at times you had three guitars belting it out. Rachel Haden's bass guitar work was really superb too and she also added some beauty to the band. All this was under pinned by by the Prairie Prince's brilliant drumming. You could sense that this band enjoy playing live and it really shone through in the performance.
Todd was overwhelmed by the turnout at the Forum, which must have been a virtual sellout, and thanked the crowd for buying tickets in these troubled times when money was so tight, obviously a "credit crunch" reference which I thought was a nice touch.
I assumethe second track, looking at other venue play lists was "Walls" but I am not familiar with this track, then "Black Maria" and great to hear "Open my eyes" played live again, in the pictures you might just see through the dry ice Todd on his ass following a collision with his amp during a race round the stage during the his guitar solo! Then really good versions "Lunatic fringe" and "Isaw the light" followed.
Todd then proceeded to do what only Todd could do play the whole of the "Arena"album from start to finish, a dangerous thing to do do as there must have been fans that had not heard the album and perhaps had come along to see a greatest hits type of performance, but not a bit of it in general the album went down a storm with the fans. I must say that most of the tracks come out far better live than on the album. Stand out tracks were the blues styled "Weakness", Todd's voice was just brilliant on this track, "Courage", "Gun", Panic" and audience participation "Strike" and "Mountaintop".
Following the completion of "Arena" the band left the stage and returned to be play a rousing "Couldn't I just tell you" and "Just one victory" to complete a perfect night.
Thanks for a great night, don't leave it too long before your back in the UK again.
Phil Hunt, Gloucester, England