Todd and the Boys came out blazing as they put on a clinic on the blues. The Johnson stuff was really tasty with some nice arrangements to the well known standards. I loved that Todd dug so deep into his own catalog for this tour. I have to admit, a couple of the songs were new to me, which is a good thing. Now I need to go and do some research on things I'm not familiar with. Highlights for me were Soul Brother, Unloved Children, I Went to the Mirror, Tiny Demons, Mystified, Born to Synthesize.
Todd's playing was superb. His solos seem even more inspired than usual. I can't say enough good things about the band. Prairie is becoming my favorite drummer of all time with his blend of power and finesse. He truly propels the band. Kasim, as always, did a great job on bass. I especially liked the tones he was getting and his subtle counter melodies slipped into the songs. Jesse never ceases to amaze with is playing. His harmonic sense is out of this world. It must be great to play with him, never knowing what tricks he'll pull out of his hat. I also loved his use of processed guitar to create vibraphone and organ sounds. Jesse, when can we look forward to a solo album? Good job on the backup vocals too Jesse and Kasim!
The crowd was disappointingly small, but lively. Note to people up front. The stage is the place where the performers perform. It is not the place to stick your beers. Just because Our Hero is a couple of feet away is not an excuse to grab his hand during solos. If he wants to touch you, he'll let you know. He's got a lot on his mind without worrying that some idiot may try to mess him up.
Beale Street is a famous bluesy-touristy kind of place. This particular night, we shared the area with hundreds of bikers. They seemed relatively well behaved except for their psychological need to compensate by riding hideously loud hogs. The street is full of countless bars, each playing a version of Mustang Sally over and over (so it seems). Ironic that most of the people in these bars had no idea the quality of blues music coming from Todd and Company.
One big shout out to Doug and Mel from Rundgren Radio for getting everyone together on this show.
Here's one last thought. How about doing some blues festivals with this lineup? I'd love to watch as several thousand jaded blues fans get collectively blown away by your performance.