I'm so glad someone started this thread. I completely agree. I've been seeing DSO since 2002, love the band, and agree the music has never been better. This tour I was at Northampton, New Haven, and Albany. I independently noticed the problem with the lighting as did many others I've spoken to. The handful of people posting on this thread is a small fraction of the people who are bothered by the lights.
I have two problems with the lighting. First, as people have mentioned, is the bright lights in your face. During the best moments of a song when your eyes are closed, and your mind takes you away to a great place, and it's nothing but pure enjoyment of the moment, suddenly it's BAM!!!! bright lights in the face you come back to reality and that does ruin the moment.
Second problem is I think the stage is over lit. Whether 1st set or 2nd, most of us have gotten used to a dimly lit stage often with blue lights during the big slow songs & ballads like Row Jimmy, LLR, Birdsong, IWTYH, and especially Black Peter. But several times this tour I thought to myself during those songs "dim the lights, turn the lights down". It is counter to what I've been used to and enjoyed most and what best sets the mood of the song. That also takes away from the moment for me. And as great as the DSO audience is, there are people who inevitably talk at the wrong time. (Morning Dew is not a time to catch up on gossip with high school friends.) Dimming the lights also helps those people get the message that this is a serious moment.
I almost started a thread like this and almost spoke to Cotter but didn't want to come across as a complainer. But the band should know how the lighting changes are being received. If this is what the band members want, that's their prerogative. If they like a bright stage and like seeing the audience, it's their band and their choice. If not, it's probably valuable information to them.
DSO is the best band in the land!