AWDAR Chicago

Review by Bob Weston (Switch to

I finish work in Chicago's Loop at 5:30 and walk on over to Grant Park to check out the Beatles Tribute: A Walk Down Abbey Road (or something to that effect). Now, you need to understand that I am not one of those insane Todd Rundgren fans. But my friend, the insane Todd Rundgren fan, asked me to write something about the show. Don't get me wrong here; I freakin' love "A Wizard, A True Star" and all the 70's radio hits - but it ends there. And don't bother trying to convert me. I own a bunch of his other records and just don't get that into them. My friend has brought me to concerts and played stuff for me for years. I'm just not one of you.

I say all this so that you'll understand that my perspective of the show is that of an outsider. I wasn't familiar with all the people on stage, although I love all their 70's hits. I am, however, a pop and rock music lover and a big Beatles fan. And The Who totally rock.

I arrived near the Petrillo outdoor music pavilion to hear the band already playing. The seating area is already full and I really can't see anything from the lawn, but the sound is excellent. So I wait by the seating area entrance to see if they'll let anyone else in and I listen.

I realize that I'm not hearing a Beatles song. They're playing a set of covers (presumably from all the bands they used to be in). Although the song they're playing is instantly recognizable to me, I have no idea who recorded it or what the name of it is. It sounds like the BeeGees. Ambrosia? Some lyrics: "How much I feeeeeeel - I feel for your lovin' - that's how much - that's how much - that's how much - ....." Great vocal harmonies. It sounds like the original.

Next is "Bang on the Drum". Todd must really enjoy playing that one for the 8 millionth time. Then straight into the Who's "Can You See The Real Me". Excellent.

Next was some quiet pretty song I've never heard sung by Ann Wilson. It ended with some flute playing.

After that, another song that I recognize but can't identify: Games people Play ? Where do We Go From Here? Is this Alan Parsons Project? Another great version.

As soon as the guitar starts I recognize a childhood favorite, Heart's "Barracuda". Cool. Ann sounds great.

They finish off the covers set with a really energetic version of My Generation. Great playing - great backing vocals - great lead vocal (too bad I can't see who it is). Sadly, he never sings the "why don't you all, f-f-f-f-f-fuck off".

After being told numerous times that the seating was full and nobody else would get let in, my perseverance paid off as they let in about 100 more people. I ended up sitting in about the 25th row. Great view of everybody and a surprisingly good sounding mix for an outdoor show.

Let me describe how the band was set up from my left to right:

The far left was John Entwistle's (JE) domain. He had a pretty elaborate rack of stuff for a bass amp. He wore black jeans, a brightly colored "psychedelic" shirt and a vest. True to form, he played this comical looking bass for the whole show. It looked like a cross between a farm implement and an executioner's blade. But I have to hand it to the guy, his playing was OUTSTANDING all night. John really rocked.

Next to John was some mystery lead guitar player. I think he was introduced at one point as Godfreid Townsend (GT). I have no idea who this is, but he did an amazing job playing (recreating) many of the leads.

The guitar player / singer in the middle was identified to me after the show by some super-fans as David Pach (DP) of Ambrosia. He sang many of the lead vocals, mainly played electric guitar, and occasionally played 12-string electric and 6-string acoustic. He seemed to sing on almost every song, if not lead, then group lead or backing parts. He wore a military style jacket over a white shirt and did a great job all night.

Ann Wilson (AW) was next. She sang some leads, lots of group leads and backing vocals. She also played flute on a few and some percussion stuff. Long flowing black velvet vest over "psychedelic" brightly colored shirt - blue (I think) sunglasses.

Okay, guess who's next. Yes, it's Todd (TR). He was wearing a flowing red satin shirt and brightly colored "psychedelic" satin pants. He sang leads, group leads, and backing vocals. He played a Lennonesque Ricenbacker (I own a Ric and I don't even know how to spell it) guitar and what looked to be an SG that was painted "psychedelic". He also played one of those terrible sounding plastic Ovation acoustic guitars on at least one song. On a bunch of songs he played percussion and danced around like a wacky court jester or used gestures to "interpret" the lyrics that were being sung. I'm sure Todd fans eat that stuff up. I was embarrassed for him. When he was just singing and playing guitar, though, I thought he was great.

On the far right, Mr. Alan Parsons (AP). He wore a puffy white pirate shirt. I'm not sure why. He mostly played acoustic guitar and sang group leads and back-ups. Also some keyboard/organ bits and percussion. Another excellent performance.

Up on a riser is a drummer and a keybored player. I have no idea who these folks are, but their playing was great. The keyboard player has short flaming orange hair and is wearing one of those French-guy shirts with the thin horizontal stripes. The drummer had one of the more absurdly huge drum sets I've seen: four or five toms and something like 20 cymbals including two of those big china-boy numbers and, Christ in a chicken basket, he's got two bass play Beatles tunes? Huh? Where's the Ludwig 4-piece kit ?

Alright. So now to the Beatles set. I'll just give you the song title and comments on each song: By the way, I really enjoyed the band and had a great time.

Back in the USSR: started with the perfect jet sound-effect - I still was waiting to get in, so couldn't see who was playing what yet

Lady Madonna: still waiting

I'm Down: I'm in - AW sings - wow - totally screaming rock vocal

Fool on the Hill: AW and AP on flutes - AP switches to fluorescent green recorder for end of song. DP main vocal. TR perc.

While my Guitar Gently Weeps: TR main vocal - AP acoustic gtr - AW backing vocal - TR gets standing ovation from all the Todd-heads during his EXCELLENT guitar solo.

Here Comes the Sun: Although not everyone played acoustic guitar on this one, many did and it had a great chimey acousticy sound - GT vocal - AW perc - TR ric gtr

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: DP main vocal - AW sang the affected weird Leslied vocal bits - TR jumped around like a doofus.

Hide Your Love Away: TR played this by himself - it would have sounded so much better if he wasn't using the horrid Ovation 12-string. TR quote: "Pardon my squirming, my thong is riding up"

Maybe I'm Amazed: Introduced by AP who worked with PM at Abbey Road during the recording of this song. He told us that PM played all the instruments on the original version. AW did an outstanding job on the lead vocal. And the piano part was played really well by GT. TR backing vocals - AP excellent organ.

Rain: TR ric and lead vocal - AP acoustic gtr - all on backing vocals - This song had the one vocal disappointment of the evening: on the chorus everyone sang and did harmonies, but there was something wrong. I had what it should sound like in my head and it wasn't right. Maybe they were singing the right parts but the balance was off. I don't know what the problem was, but it didn't sound as great as it could have.

Blackbird: AP solo - very nice version - acoustic guitar made from wood.

Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey: Wow - one of my favorites - it really rocked hard - AW lead vocal - TR ric - AP cowbell.

For the next little group of songs, the instrumentation stayed pretty much the same and it seemed like everyone was singing most of the time - group leads and or harmonies:

Revolution (fast/single version): TR ric and vocal - AP tambourine
Day Tripper: AP acoustic guitar for the next batch
Ticket to Ride: DP 12-string electric comes out
I Want To Hold Your Hand:
Hey Jude: AW vocal lead

Then the encore:

Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/ The End

Wow. What an ending. The suite of songs from Abbey Road sounded amazing.

Then I went home.

Other reviews for A Walk Down Abbey Road
7/5/2001 - Taste of Chicago - Chicago, IL

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.