A Walk Down Abbey Road, Saratago, CA

Review by Paul Ashby (Switch to

Well. $140 for two tickets and a 90 minute drive in 95 degree heat-- with BAD directions from the Villa Montalvo venue-- later...

We saw the Wednesday night show. One word: gnats. All over the place. Entwistle was batting them away between bass licks during "The Real Me."

The first set was all individual 'hits' except the opener, Magical Mystery Tour. Todd did Open My Eyes, Hello It's Me (!), and Bang The Drum All Day. The Alan Parsons songs seemed a bit weak/uninspired, but maybe that's just me, and I was cranky because they didn't do anything from I Robot, the rats. The Entwistle stuff was good, probably because he had his tour guitarist and drummer behind him. Mercifully there was no Boris the Spider.

The unbilled male vocalist who took most of the lead vocals on the Parsons songs [and could hit all McCartney's high notes on the Beatles covers] was David Pack from Ambrosia. Strange that he should be unannounced, especially in Saratoga, since I believe he's from the bay area and the many empty seats might have been filled if his name had been advertised...oh well. I would've been jazzed had David done something from the "Somewhere I've Never Travelled" days, but alas, it was later period material, which fell sorta flat, for me.

The band was a bit sloppy during the first set. Entwistle and his guitarist did a lot of smiling and headshaking at flubs, and Todd had to humorously admonish everyone to keep singing during the close of "Bang The Drum" and the keyboards went on a bar or two too long. Ann Wilson's kung fu moves were...interesting. There often seemed to be one or two too many people on stage (often reduced to aimlessly and somewhat stiffly banging a tambourine), and at some points there were four or five guitars in the mix, making things pretty muddy.

Second set: Beatles songs Todd sings on, to the best of my recollection:

Lady Madonna (first verse flub, but pretty amazing-- how Todd can play the guitar line to this and sing at the same time is beyond me)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (replica Fool pulled out to duplicate [almost] Clapton's solo; high point of the show for me-- although a lot of Harrison's arrangement was smoothed over by the megaband, Todd made this one very special)

Rain (second highest point, a great version with Entwistle pulling out all the octave stops)

Revolution (one or two more charming lyric flubs)

Hide Your Love Away (solo, with cue-card help on the choruses)

Todd seemed to take a lot of the Lennon/Harrison vocals, Pack and Wilson the McCartney stuff. Not much Ringo content, for some reason .

The flute/recorder interplay between Wilson and Parsons during Fool On The Hill was very pretty.

Then a bunch of hit single rave-ups at the end, with the audience going progressively more bonkers. When the crowd started swaying with their hands in the air at the end during Hey Jude (what, no lighters?), we really couldn't deal any longer-- the feelgood vibes were stupifying, and me and my friend escaped to the shuttle busses.

It was a fun show. Perfect for county fairs and summer evenings and beaucoups nostalgia. Todd plays a pretty high-profile role throughout; fans'll love it.


Rundgren costume changes (see Ron's photos): 2
Cost of the pre-show buffet (per person): $37
Raised eyebrows at Ann Wilson's martial-arts lunges between myself and my companion: 8 (approximate)
Clueless morons behind me shouting into a cellphone (over an Ambrosia [?] song, but still hugely annoying]: 1
Unbelievably cheesy steamboat-in-the-clouds graphic on the video screens during Dreamboat Annie: 1
Rundgren references to band as "the Dung Beatles": 2

Gnats: 1150, audience: 0

Other reviews for A Walk Down Abbey Road
6/20/2001 - Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts - Saratoga, CA

Other reviews for overall A Walk Down Abbey Road

The Todd Rundgren Connection is brought to you by Roger D. Linder & The Linder Logo Rocemabra Web Services.