I had the great privilege of seeing the "Todd / Healing" tour last year in Hartford, CT. After seeing TR in concert at least a dozen times prior (going back nearly 30 years), I can safely say that this was the finest set I've ever seen him deliver. No small thanks to the material; 1974's "Todd" double LP was, in my mind, the zenith of Todd's explosive creativity, though the (musically and thematically) new-age concepts found in 1981's "Healing" are no less innovative or compelling. The two distinct periods contrast each other, within the one concert, with seriously satisfying results.
Todd made the decision to split off the two halves of the show into 2 separate DVDs, but each one is well worth the coin. Most of this material is not available on any other video format, and much of it has never seen live performance, prior to this tour. Most of the material from the "Todd" record couldn't be replicated on stage, in its time, before the advent of easy, on-stage sample-triggering that we see today. The "Todd" DVD half was released a few months back.
So, on to this DVD. What can I say? The quality of this recording is beautiful. A full complement of multiple, HD camera angles capture every aspect of the performance. The sound is fantastic, although Todd's vocal could have been a little higher in the mix. At times, when the choir is at full-tilt, they drown out TR's voice. A shame, too, because Todd's voice is in RARE form on this one. "Healing" is a real showcase album for Todd's sensitive vocal side, and he didn't miss a thing with this performance. Truly impressive. The high-school choir that backs Todd up on this show do an admirable job. Not the best, by any stretch, but the juxtaposition of their youth with the elder statesman's show of conviction sets the tone for many of the album's themes of birth / death / rebirth; the cyclic nature of the universe and its karmic energy. It was really uplifting to see some of these kids' faces, during quiet passages of profound lyrical depth that the MAN delivers. It seemed to mean something to them. Musically, the band does not disappoint, either. Todd picks his people well, and there isn't a guy on stage that isn't a seasoned multi-instrumentalist. Any one of Todd's stable can pick up a bass, guitar or keyboard and just go. Reliable Kas, Tubes drummer Prairie Prince and The Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes; guitarist Jesse Gress and reed-man Bobby Strickland round out the tight, ambient performance.
I'd love it if Todd would re-mix the album, sans vocals. Granted, the lyrical / vocal component of the piece is crucial, but seeing it live (both on stage, and on this DVD) obliges me to focus on the complexities of the composition and arrangement that are 50% of what make "Healing" such a masterpiece.
Hard to believe one man could have done it alone. But easy to believe, if that one man is TODD.