I was at the Cleveland show. Since I could combine a CW show with some family obligations, I decided a 1200 mile drive (each way) was doable.
Stayed at the Wyndham across the street from the venue. No big parking hassle (OK, you have to valet), but they do have a decent happy hour, which works out when you have be at venue at 6:00 to pick up your M& G tickets.
Based on Starman's earlier review, I was hoping the M&G would be fan friendly again. WRONG. I'm getting the impression that the only reason they do a M&G is because of a contract requirement with PBS. Going back a number of years, it seemed as if the girls enjoyed meeting their fans. Now, I get the impression that they are only doing this because they are required to do it. Is it the girls or is it the production company?
Part of the issue here, I think, was the number of people at the M&G. Since there are two PBS stations, there were a lot of people. That probably had something to do with the rushed meeting. I can probably count on one hand the number of shows where we had a "nice" M&G. Part of my definition of nice is where it's held. (who remembers Akron's stairwell?) This one was in a hallway, but at least it had a mostly plain background for pictures. Someone from PBS was taking photos. Mine did not come out.
I don't always (OK, never) stick my pass onto my jacket. One, I don't like it in the picture and two, I'm going to try for a sneak and greet next month. OMG, at least 3 people (and I believe they were with the venue) insisted that my pass be affixed to my jacket. Overall, I'm really questioning why I'm paying to be treated rudely. One of my shows in April, I bought 2nd row seats from Ticketmonster. I'm willing to pay the extra bucks to PBS (hey, it's a tax deduction), but now I'm doing it for the seats more than the M&G. It's just not that special anymore.
On to the show. I was in the second row, center. The stop line was way back from the edge of the stage, however, in a lot of cases, the girls were in front of it. This caused some lighting issues.
I'm not a fan of the video screen, nor the piano being in the middle of the stage. It's too distracting.
Only real sound issue I had was on the "song" where they were reading about the Irish uprising. It was difficult to hear the reading over the background music. (Semi-related: I was really looking foward to seeing Lisa Lambe in the Bloody Irish on Broadway. Too bad it got canceled, although it did "save" me a lot of money!)
Another interesting thing was the venue had two "security" guys sitting at each aisle in front of the stage. OK, I expect that at a Cleveland Browns game (Dawg Pound), but at a concert?
I have mixed feelings about the show itself. This is different than other shows. The songs are matched extremely well to the girls -- I just don't know that I like the overall flow. I do miss some of the "bigger" numbers. Way less interaction with the audience. It's now a concert, not a "show". Is that bad? No, it's just different.
Hard to hear any big difference due to the changes in the band. I kinda like the male choir. It adds a deeper, fuller sound. And wow, a female percussionist! It did not appear that any of the band was mic'd for singing.
All in all, a pleasant evening. Was it worth the wear and tear on me? I'd initally say no, except for some family obligations. Will I ever do 7 or 8 shows again in one year all over the place? No. I have 2 more shows here in Florida, but I can drive to both.