My thoughts are a jumble so this is gonna Come out a chunk at a time.
I caught Lithics. They’re kind of fun but no vocal melody for 45 minutes is not my thing.
I know exactly where fish is coming from with those comments, but I disagree that it affected the musical performance or sheer heft of the songs. Yes I thought Steve was annoyed but they rose above it in my opinion. The house mix was really good, but the monitor situation wasn’t cool and he was getting blasted with serious feedback all night. It was one of those nights where Steve apologized a lot. He did not sit down on the stage for kite. There was a chair. As far as I can tell the chair is there for posture during the intro piece. With how low Steve has his guitar strap set it’s not really possible to use a traditional acoustic finger picking posture. He stood up later in the song.
He tried an acoustic guitar on brethren and again the feedback sucked. He gave that up after a couple bars. Other than that it’s guild and goldtop. First fender-free your i can recall. And Steve is up to NINE pedals if you count tuner.
His attitude was surprising for a tour opener. I think he flew in so it’s not like he was driving a van all for 40 hrs. He had the look of a dude who was potentially questioning himself and wondering how he’d make it thru several weeks of this. Could’ve been just an off night, or could be that he’s kinda done with this routine? I chose to focus on the music and again I’ll contend that the songs were a total triumph.
Personally I was more affected by a few ridiculous fans than I was by Steve’s downer. A few songs in, a seemingly 7 ft tall blonde woman wedged in front of me and talked loudly for a few songs straight. Then she started harassing the band. They were dealing with a lot of tech crap between songs and we’re clearly flustered and then this drunken lady is loudly demanding to know what Steven would specialize in if he were to get a fucking PhD?! So odd. Then there were the people taking the same photo over and over again. I don’t get out much anymore, I forgot how much annoying other people can be.
One thing I noticed is I feel like Steve is paying more attention to his vocals than ever. His voice was in great shape, opener and all, but it was still notable to me.