Getting to the site through Boston can be a nightmare for those not familiar with the huge Big Dig highway project going on, but once there, the area offers plenty of parking and there are numerous restaurants as well – all better choices than the $8 burgers at the Pavilion!
I arrived an hour or so before show time while there were more employees around than concert goers, hoping to meet up with some fellow Todd fans, and found a place to drink a few $6.25 beers while watching the interesting mix of people coming in. Most were in their late 30s to 50s, but there were many people with kids as well. This included fathers with teenage daughters, parents with babies and a couple well into their late 60s with a 40-something kid! Someone is making good money selling (unlicensed?) Beatles t-shirts, as I saw plenty of Let It Be and Abbey Road shirts in the crowd. Very few Todd shirts, though. At least I had the opportunity to pick up a Todd 2000 Tour shirt, which I hadn’t seen at the Mohegan Sun show last year.
A DJ called people to their seats shortly after 8pm and from a “show your hands” it looked like about 15% of the people in front had free tickets. The band came onto the stage and opened with Magical Mystery Tour as people were still filing in towards their seats. There were quite a few empty seats in the front $35 ticket area, and the rear $30 area was only half full, but the crowd size easily compared to any recent Todd show in the area.
During the first set Todd wore a AWDAR black tank top and black pants, changing to the white puffy “pirate” shirt during the intermission. David Pack was the only other person to change during the break, from a black jacket to a silver shirt. Ann Wilson made a comment about them changing into their “Carnaby Street” rock-star clothes. Ann wore a black velour tunic top and black pants, John Entwhistle a denim jacket and black pants.
The core of this band was undoubtedly Entwhistle’s backup players, Godfrey Townshend on guitar (and occasional keyboards), John Beck on keys and Steve Luongo on drums. Townshend nailed some of the leads perfectly during both the Beatles and first set songs. They were tight and also looked like they were enjoying themselves during the show. Previous tour reviews had mentioned that it looked like Todd was “directing” the shows, and I noticed he gave starting counts a few times, and signaled song ends with his characteristic jump, but the actual songs were controlled by this nucleus.
The one drawback to the show was the overall sound. At times there were as many as 6 guitars being played, and 8 voices, and they tended to get muddied together. During the Beatles set, when all the players were singing together it became virtually impossible to distinguish one voice from another. Part of the problem may have been the sound system – whether this was the “house” system or the AWDAR one, because of the open sides on the pavilion, a lot of wattage was needed and the system may not have been up to the challenge. Guess they could have used the sound system Todd used during the Second Wind/Nearly Human tours! On the other hand, it reminded me of the sound of concerts back in the early 70s, when sound systems were always over-cranked and distorted.
This was NOT a Todd Rundgren show, nor was it a Beatles cover-band show like Boston’s Beatle Juice, but it was a fitting tribute to the Beatles from a bunch of talented people.
Overall high points of the show: 1) Ann Wilson – her vocals were outstanding, seeming as good as the first and only time I saw Heart back in the late 70s. Despite what previous reviews had said, she seemed relaxed on stage, chatting occasionally to the audience, once warmed up. A truly gifted and beautiful singer! 2) Todd (of course), actually seeming to be enjoying himself during the show, playing some great licks, and singing his own songs with feeling. He did look a bit bored during the Ambrosia songs, though! 3) John Entwhistle’s bass playing – his fingers do fly over that fret board! Too bad he’s like a rock while on stage! 4) The warm feeling that spread throughout the audience during the Beatles set – songs over 30 years old that seem to have become part of our culture and ourselves.
SONG BY SONG Set 1
Magical Mystery Tour: David Pack & Ann Wilson lead vocals, Todd – green Strat
Open My Eyes: Green Strat, vocals during refrain very heavy with everyone singing. This was the least appreciated of the first set songs, as most audience members had never heard it before.
Eye in The Sky: David Pack on lead vocal and lead guitar, Todd still on green Strat
Crazy on You: Ann on vocal, David Pack on acoustic guitar, Godfrey Townshend hit the leads exactly like the record
My Wife: John Entwhistle’s only vocal, Todd on green Strat with a few windmills and splits
Hello Its Me: Todd on vocals, no guitar. The only song where ne of the performers “worked” the stage, Todd moving from one side to the other a couple of times. Todd put his arm around Entwhistle’s shoulders at one point, Entwhistle turned to him, and flashed a little forced smile, at which Todd cracked up and flubbed the words.
Don’t Answer Me: David Pack on vocal and lead guitar, everyone else on acoustic guitars, leaving a very muddied sound.
You’re the Biggest Part of Me: David Pack on vocals and keyboards. Todd, not playing and getting a little bored, goofing with Townshend.
How Much I Feel: David Pack on vocal and acoustic. When introducing the song, mention of how it was a real “makeout song” when it came out, joking about how many babies may have been conceived while listening to it. Todd commented “ About a half a million Chinese children”!
Bang The Drum: Todd on vocal and drum, heard audience people saying, “oh, THAT’S Todd Rundgren”.
The Real Me: Godfrey Townshend on lead vocal and guitar, only JE and his band on stage for this one. Townshend did a great job singing and playing. Biggest audience ovation of the first set.
Dreamboat Annie: Everyone on acoustic guitar except Todd who played the shakers. Ann ended with the flute part like on the record, just beautiful.
Games People Play: David Pack and Ann Wilson sharing the lead vocals, Todd on acoustic, Pack on lead guitar.
Barracuda: Ann singing, Todd on green Strat, Townshend nailing the lead guitar parts once again.
My Generation: David Pack and Todd on lead vocals, Todd blows a line in 1st verse. Entwhistle smokes the bass lead parts, and Todd wails on the green Strat leads. Great set-ender.
Back in the USSR: David Pack on lead vocal, Todd on black Rickenbacker lead guitar
Lady Madonna: Todd on lead vocal
I’m Down: Ann Wilson on great lead vocal, David Pack on lead guitar
Fool on the Hill: David Pack on lead vocal, Ann and Alan on flutes, Godfrey Townshend on keyboards. Todd being the fool towards the end of the song
While my Guitar Gently Weeps: Todd on lead vocal and “The Fool” SG for the long lead. Townshend on the short lead guitar parts. Ann joined in on vocals in 2nd half of each verse as Todd seemed to be forgetting the words (again).
Here Comes the Sun: Townhend and Pack on acoustics, Todd on black Rickenbacker.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: David Pack and Ann Wilson trading off lead vocals
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away: Todd solo on acoustic and vocals. (Except for the “HEY” part.) Audience was extremely appreciative of this one, including Todd’s trademark free-forming vocals at end. Basically the same as when he did this last year in the Power Tour. This was the only solo song of the night except for Blackbird.
Maybe I’m Amazed: Ann Wilson on lead vocals, sounded like she forcing the end of the song a bit. Townshend played electric piano on this and Pack the lead guitar part. Alan Parsons introduced the song by telling a story of when he was working at the studio doing production, and scheduled for studio time was “Sam Brown”. Someone asked him to stick around to help, and who should show up to record but Paul McCartney! Before starting the song Ann said “I always wanted to do a song by Sam Brown!”
Rain: Todd on lead vocal and black Rickenbacker
Blackbird: Alan Parsons by himself on acoustic guitar, introducing himself and saying he “never expected to ever be playing a guitar solo in front of a crowd in his life!” Anyone else notice he looks like a king-size version of “Mr. Bean”?
Everybody’s got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey: Ann and David shared the lead vocal, Townshend on lead guitar, Todd playing the Rickenbacker.
Revolution: Todd on lead vocal, still playing the Rickenbacker. Townshend on lead guitar.
Day Tripper: Todd and David on vocals, Todd, David and Townshend on guitar
Ticket to Ride: Same as Day Tripper, with Ann and Alan also singing.
I Want to Hold Your Hand: Same as Day Tripper.
Hey Jude: Ann Wilson on lead vocal, John Beck doing piano and organ keyboard parts. Big sing-along at end, though not quite like McC’s live album version in response.
Birthday: Everyone singing and playing.
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End: Ann singing on Golden Slumbers, everyone on Carry That Weight. Townshend, Pack and Todd trading the leads off during The End. Todd on the SG.
Everyone lined up for bows at the end, very responsive crowd, hopefully the rest of the tour had equal audience response.