The Keswick itself is deceiving; it's a lot bigger inside than what I'd expected. I don't know the capacity, and the show wasn't sold out, but it's a really nice venue, and it fit well with the night's entertainment.
And then came Todd and band and "Todd." Naturally, the band was in good form, but unfortunately, the sound wasn't good. Jessie was doing his best to make "The Spark of Life" chaotic as per the recording, but it's no fun to watch him wail away at the guitar and not be able to hear the sounds coming out of it. I was actually seated immediately in front of the sound board, and I glanced over a couple of times at the operator, but he didn't seem to be affected by what I perceived was happening. Bobby Strickland's wind instruments were similarly muted; this makes no sense when these solos are as important as they are to the spirit of the album. Luckily Todd's voice was ringing out true and fine, so thank goodness for that. It's also somewhat distracting to watch a boom camera swoop down like a hawk during the show, but that's really a minor gripe, since pay per view folks need to get their money's worth too. As with AWATS and "Is it My Name?", listening to "Everybody's Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae" was a complete blast. I really enjoy the guitar rockers, and from what I can tell, TR and his band like playing them.
Next came "Healing", and this part of the night was nice also. The sound didn't seem to matter as much this time, as there was a lot of keyboard sound that filled the arena well. Todd's voice was a-ok again, and it was a kick to watch a chorale of young singers back him up, and they seemed to enjoy themselves (let's just hope they realize just WHO THEY WERE PERFORMING WITH before they hit their 25th birthdays...). I'm always surprised when music sneaks up and moves me, and sure enough, "Compassion" had me holding back tears. For me, there's no greater testimony to musicianship. Wow.
There were some glitches: a seemingly frustrated Prairie appeared to be growling at a cameraman, and at one point it looked like Todd was missing a guitar pick, and slammed his hand down on a side monitor in frustration. He made a comment about "getting it right by the 7th show", but hey, for me, it's all good. I know these shows must be a pain in the butt to organize and execute, but this grateful fan doesn't mind. As long as TR is up there and giving it his all (and I swear, he has never phoned in a performance that I've seen), then I'll be grinning and clapping and singing like I'm meant to.