It was awesome getting to soak that all in up close, but when they launched into Arena I backed up about 25 feet. Not that I didn’t enjoy being up front, but contrary to some who complained of earlier shows being too loud, for me being way up front and inside the main speakers left the volume just a little too low. I bought the Arena CD about a couple months ago and have listened to it at least twenty times, as I really like to know the music being played - and knew they were going to play it start to finish. The sound was great and they did a superb job with Arena. On the rocking songs they really pounded it out as Prarie’s drums and Rachel’s bass thundered in harmony. The ones that were a little slower were just beautiful, Todd’s and Jesse’s guitar work was so sweet and spot on, and Todd’s voice was strong and fluid. The crowd really liked Courage, and my personal favorite was Weakness, with it’s alternating strong bluesy parts mixed with soft harmonies. Everyone had a blast with the Mountaintop boogie too.
I noticed that the crowd’s reaction to the Arena songs was a little more muted than to the older favorites. Still strong, but the overall volume of the cheers was a little less. It seemed that maybe half the people there had not heard it yet, and some even shouted out for other older tunes between songs in the middle of the Arena set. If you are going, do yourself a favor and GET ARENA in advance, you’ll appreciate the night so much more! Of course everyone loved Couldn’t I Just Tell You and JYV for the encore – just beautiful!
To top off the night I met a wonderful couple who volunteered to stay late and try to get photos after the concert, (they had some taken with Todd earlier). We waited by the side door and one by one the band trickled out. I got autographs from all of them and pictures taken with Jesse, Rachel, and Todd. Having been a fan since the Seventies, that was quite a treat! All of them were so nice, talking to the crowd, not rushing anyone. Kasim exchanged playful teasing with some of the younger crowd, and I remember the guy in front of me pulling out like 5 albums for Todd to sign. When Todd said something like wow, all those?, the guy said “how about 4 and a photo?”, and Todd responded with “so we’re negotiating now?, wow it’s like being at the G20 summit”. Everybody had laughed! Of course he signed them all and gave the photo op. It was really nice to get to experience all that, I’ll treasure it.
Thanks to “Open My Eyes” Liz for taking photos – and to Jay who helped hold my spot at stage edge a couple times. Great audience, band, and evening!