Playing the Waiting Game? Todd & the band were still not in the house when show time rolled around at 8:30. Snarled in New Jersey holiday traffic no doubt after taping the Letterman Show earlier in the evening. The sold out audience persevered in good spirits and when Todd finally took the stage it was close to 10:00. His roadies did a great job getting the stage turned over at the last minute. Todd, ever the consummate professional, was none the worse for the wear and in great spirits, even joking that we would all be part of tonight's sound check and it would be close to 2 hours long.
With that out of the way, they launched right into Love in Action and the initial "retro" portion of the show that we all have committed to memory by now. Lamentably, I wish this part was not carved in granite the way it is. I would have enjoyed a more dynamic and variable selection of power songs rotated from his endlessly prolific and very cool repertoire. Nonetheless, these were flawlessly executed with great energy and the sound mix was pretty much right on the money from the opening chords. Todd even cut his finger once again while doing windmills. You know a performer is giving it all they've got when they start bleeding on stage.
The volume was cranked up even further (as it should be) for the Arena portion of the show and it did not disappoint. Despite the frigid temperature outside on this cold winter's night, it was certainly warming up fast inside. I haven't been to as many Todd shows as some others have but this was hands down the best mutha-lovin' guitar playing I've witnessed from him since the 1978 Utopia tour at Philly's Tower Theater -back when he was 30 years old. You know the one where he climbed to the top of the pyramid on stage while crankin' it out? I'd like to see him try that now that he's 60. Just keeeeeeding! My teeth were actually starting to hurt towards the latter half of last nights Arena set from the non-stop barrage of sound -and in a weird way that was a good thing (they're fine this morning). The performance peaked for me when they played a particularly inspired version of Time from the new CD. I didn't have a chance to see the Liars tour so hearing Just One Victory preformed live tonight was the cherry on top of the icing on the proverbial cake for me.
Why not here, why not now.......Why not today? Sellersville, Pa. is only 15 minutes away from where I live and I never dreamed that Todd would bring such a bombastic show to such a small venue. While my all time favorite concert is still the Nearly Human show I saw (once again at the Tower Theater) back in '89, Arena is now definitely in the top two. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Thanks Todd, for continuing to create some of the greatest music we've ever had the pleasure to hear. Why not today, indeed.