@munkymufin1 It was great to see you there! I agree about it being "a different experience but mainly in the way that every show is unique."
I've now seen Blitzen 2.0 four times (2x w/ Blake, 2x w/ Nathan). My thoughts about the new guys: It didn't feel like Nathan was new, bc he's been like their "5th Beatle" for a long time, and one of my friends had worked with him and told me good things about him. So it was cool to see him. I also kinda knew about Blake bc played on Holy Smokes, and I've really enjoyed both his talent and his personality. As for Michael E, I wish I knew his backstory. He's the only one who at first confused me bc I had no clue who he was. But he's an incredible pianist, and he keeps vibing with the group even more at every show.
I appreciate that Brian is still there (and getting to sing lead more!) He's kind of an anchor.
It's still not exactly the same as the quintet, and I hope the old guys will make guest appearances someday.
And I know it must've been annoying that there was no actual announcement. I knew months in advance that I would see a new group at the next show, so I had time to mentally prepare, but I think I would've been frustrated if I just showed up without knowing.
From what I understand, the three were already planning to leave before Covid. They had other passions. Also, they're probably among a lot of long-time Portlanders who have been moving out bc of how their city is changing.