June 16, 2009 Seattle Show Review

Review by Steve Betts (Switch to

I had the pleasure of seeing my second TR show in Seattle in the last year, at the Triple Door. It's a great venue, in that it's a relatively small place with great food (Wild Ginger) and an attentive wait staff, all while watching TR, Prairie, Rachel, Kasim, and the phenomenal Jessie play. I sat in the VERY BACK, but still could see and hear everything. I guess the table next to the mix board has SOME redeeming qualities. This show has gotten better with each iteration, since it's the third time at the Triple Door (woah!!) for Arena. I missed the first one, but this one was better than #2, which was great (and I reviewed as such!). Maybe it was the nice group of TR standards (as if there were such a small group that one could call Standards) that book - ended the Arena songs. I was expecting a rough outing, given they were playing in Norway on Saturday and Seattle on Tuesday, but the band was tight (they have some practice with the material, I'm sure that helps), Todd mixed in an appropriate amount of his opinion, mainly about the travesty of justice in Iran. I think he uses current events to fuel his passion for songs that they have played so many times. Whatever, it works, they played with high energy and sprit. I was there with my 23 year old son, who also thought it was a great show, better than the one we went to last year. His perspective is that a 61 year old guy shouldn't be able to scream that good...

(Can't Stop) Love in Action started things out with a bang. This is such a great live song!! I'm always amazed that so many people in the room think that song ends at the break. Rookies!

Black and White featured some great solo work by both Todd and Jessie (did I mention Jessie is phenomenal?). This may be my all time fav TR song, it did not disappoint.

Black Maria came next, and Todd ripped the solo, and by now I knew it was to be a special night. He did not 'scare me so'.

Open My Eyes. OK, so I miss the flanging of the original. I played that version in the car on the way home for the aforementioned son, it sounded like a completely different song. Funny quip from Todd at the beginning. One of his strings was out of place, he'd been playing and trying to fix it while playing Black Maria (with little noticeable negative effect to that song!). I'm not a guitarist, don't know what a saddle is, but he got the string back in the saddle, and deemed it "good enough for the 60's" before starting the song.

Trapped. I'm glad they did this song, because I've always loved Kasim's creamy voice as a contrast to Todd's. I wish he would sing a little more, though I have to admit his backing vocals were spot on, and as usual blended great not only with Todd, but of course Jessie and Rachel. Kasim's keys and guitar were noticeably more present in the music than the last show, where he had just joined the tour.

I Saw the Light. Was it me, or did the decidedly older crowd swoon a little right here. Couple next to me got up and danced to it, sweet.

Arena Highlights: Weakness always gets me, it's such a great message, along with some face-melting guitar work. Strike hit me like a train (pun intentional). TR does AC/DC better than they do. My quote on this song was: "that one ends like a car hitting a telephone pole". Being someone who hates the fade out ending, the slam to a stop from 100 miles an hour to 0 in nothing flat has to be high on my list. My son likes "Pissin'", if only for the "dick in mayonnaise" line.

Panic is not a song I particularly care for on the album, but may have been my Arena favorite played live. Wow, that was fun!!!

Encore time. Todd, if you read any of this tripe, hear this: THANK YOU for not making us beat our hands to death for 20 minutes! A relatively short break was very nice, and still got me home by midnight. They came back and played a couple of my (and the rest of the crowd's) favorites.

Love of the Common Man. What was that all about with Rachel? She dared them to play it? Might have been the least practiced (as a group) song, but was a lot of fun Couldn't I just tell you. Is there a better TR song to end with? Love the dueling guitars, the harmonies, the tempo, the message.

The other impression I got was that Kasim and Rachel were really pal-ing around. I think they are comfortable with each other's roles, maybe last time they were not. Remember, the old bass player was just stuck into the room, playing some keys and occasional guitar, maybe it felt threatening to Rachel at the time? Whatever, it's all good now! Almost a flirty tension between them, it was fun to watch.

Can't wait for #4 at the 3-Door. Last stop before returning to Princeville?

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6/16/2009 - Triple Door - Seattle, WA

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