AWATS - Strathmore, Bethesda, 9/10/09

Review by Brian Leonard (Switch to

Having loved AWATS from the moment it landed in my local record store in '73, I was really looking forward to this.

Checking out other reviews, I don't wonder why most of them are short--if the authors are as exhausted as I still am, hours after the show, there's no energy for long reviews!

I can't say I'm the world's biggest Utopia fan, but the opening Utopia set was a great selection of some of their best songs, played in a very straightforward manner. Unfortunately, the sound--especially the vocals--was pretty muddy, and my friend and I hoped it wouldn't continue into the AWATS portion. Kasim in particular seemed to be having a lot of problems with his audio, and even walked offstage twice to talk to a tech.

The performance of AWATS did not disappoint, even though I came in with high expectations. The sound was much-improved over the Utopia set. The performances of the songs were faithful but not slavish, and Todd's costumes were fantastic (yay Michelle!), as were all of the effects. Todd's voice was in the best shape I think I've ever heard it in, and all the musicians were terrific. Bobby Strickland's sax solo on "Zen Archer" was incredible.

By the time of "Is It My Name", I couldn't help but get up and just plain move (dunno if you'd call it "dancing"!) for the rest of the show. This was a great celebration of one of the best albums ever made. I've seen Todd about 20 times, and this has to be my favorite concert of his--maybe of anybody's.

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9/10/2009 - The Strathmore - Bethesda, MD

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