Best. Show. Ever.
Any elaboration beyond that is probably superfluous, but I feel obliged to prattle on, nonetheless. After the concert, I was trying to figure out what made the show so incredible. Part of it was the novelty (and the joy) of hearing songs performed live for the very first time. Part of it was the inclusion in the second half of the local chorus, whose contribution of massed chorales for 2/3 of the tracks on "Healing" made no small impact (visually as much as aurally, since their enthusiasm was both conspicuous and infectious). Part of it was the stage presentation, with the band decked out like refugees from the Magical Mystery Tour and with retro visuals and lasers tastefully augmenting the music. But the main reason this show resonated so greatly was the quality of the performances, with each member of the ensemble providing sometimes subtle, always essential backup... from the primary 5 piece back-up (special kudos to Greg Hawkes) to the aforementioned chorus to, naturally enough, Todd himself. His voice was solid, the piano work suffered no major hiccups (apart from the intro to "Don't You Ever Learn"), and his guitar work was, at times, as inspired as ever. There were only a few small glitches (to be expected for such an ambitious presentation), with the only major flub coming when Todd forgot the chorus to "Healing" pt. 3, diminishing what is, for me, the most transcendent moment of that record. In the midst of a show FULL of transcendent moments, though, it just didn't matter. My personal favorites from the "Todd" segment were "Drunken Blue Rooster" (again, partly for the novelty factor) and "No. Lowest Common Denominator" (where Todd kicked ass and took names REPEATEDLY on guitar). Favorites from "Healing" were "Pulse" and any time the chorus stepped out... which covers pretty much the entire set! Heck, even the between-set music (Mahavishnu Orchestra) was amazing.
Todd was uncharacteristically quiet during the show, which may have been a symptom of the amount of energy (physical and mental) and focus required to pull off a show of that magnitude as well as he did. At one point, though, someone yelled out (understandably), "Thank you, Todd!" to which Todd responded (dryly, but sincerely, I think), "You're quite welcome". Let me just take this opportunity to thank Todd AND everyone else... Kasim, Jesse, Bobby, Prairie, Greg, the chorus... uh, whoever designed the gorgeous (looking AND sounding) Clowes Memorial Hall... EVERYONE involved for giving everything they had to make this performance as special as it was.
On a side note, I spoke to one of ushers afterward and asked him what he thought of the show. He was an older gentleman who'd never heard of Todd and I was expecting him to be nonplussed or underwhelmed at best, but his reaction warmed my heart: He said, "I was blown away... that was the best show I've seen here in 5 years!"