live in cyberia review

Review by Jeff "weavil" Gauss (Switch to

"you can't miss it if you've never had it" is some old expression i have heard for years. well, this may not always be TRue as i guess i have always 'missed' this great video. after signing up to patronet years ago, the Live in Cyberia video was one of the goodies offered---some got 'em, some didn't. i never did but never really raised a stink about it as i was always of the mindset of 'helping todd's new endeavors'.

so, enter the next wave of video media, the oh-so-popular DVD...and a TRansfer that will please and delight all viewers. the clarity is fantastic, the apparent use of multi-cameras is everywhere, and the sound is mixed superbly like no other can.

i really enjoyed this interactive tour (for No World Order) and followed it around the midwest in late '93. the freshly-renamed TR-i stopped at several stereo equipment retail chains (best buy, tower records, etc.) along the way to demonstrate the new CD-i technology of interactive music

...and i also caught a few of those.

Live in Cyberia grabs the viewer right from the start with a very professional/sleek look and crisp music with the menu page. featuring a smoked-out shot of todd wearing cut-off flannel and mini-mic, the menu page features the rare Property (Lost Version) from the CD NWO (Version 1.01) and ten scene windows from which to pick...

so let's hit the inTRo-

a familiar NWO logo opens up this show and we are informed that this is london's forum on 10.7.94 as japanese subtitles scroll across the screen while TR-i and his dancers leave the backstage, strolling toward the 'pod' ...all the while some strange sci-fi narration carries us along.

"i don't know, i'm in a spooky mood tonight", are the first words uttered as TR-i somewhat reluctantly explains that this is an interactive tour. the rules (insTRuction manual) soon follow amongst some nice crowd shots and 6-split screen multi-camera shots. the red/yellow/green lights are then introduced along with the TR-i girls. i am immediately impressed with the number of cameras involved as todd passes out his toys. the crowd response is exciting as TR-i explains that the eve will be taped...further testing and...

"here we go"

Worldwide Epiphany opens up the set with the girls dancing wildly about as TR-i, in 'army boots', flannel, twisted shades, and 'skirt'(quite a sight, really), begins twisting and turning knobs bringing in more and more tracks over a wild barrage of shots ranging from the girls to 'produced' videos to japanese sci-fi shots of old. enter the first rap of the eve----i'll never forget the crowds' mixed reactions on this odd tour, watching this seeming mad scientist rap amongst his technical toys...captured very well here. as the music grows wilder so does the changing of images 'til he "can't stand it any longer" and turns on the green light for the first time of the evening, allowing the crowd to hit the pod stage. shots from grokgazer swell below the dancing negative images of the crazed crowd. was it really this wild every night??? well, yes, when things worked correctly and, so far, this night is on!

obviously skipping some bits of the show, an awkward fade takes us a little too directly into International Feel, the first (and really only) classic of the DVD as much of this focuses on post '83 material. yes, "there's always more" and this time the old fave has a newer techno flavor to it---a stripped down trek to the psychedelic wizard's dancefloor. he grabs the axe---foamy---and starts to tear it up with his patented wailing bent vibratos taking charge while dropping prisoners near its path. this welcome and killer 1-1/2 minute solo brings the humanness back into this futuristic production for a moment or two... TR-i then whammies his way out of the tune and into a segue...of a tune we don't see----

instead, we get the 'open audition' portion of secret society in which a few players get invited onto the stage to share their axe talents...much fun. there has been recent talk on the google ng as to who these people are so i will not go there but the first is quite good, the second is a "poser"-TR-i, third times a decent charm, the fourth seems to be an instructor with some great technical prowess, and the last whammies his way through the progression. are these GREAT performances? no. are they essential PROOF of the interactivity delivered on this fun tour...definitely! and i am sure that all of those that were onstage will cherish this video. the camera work throughout all of this is quite enjoyable as many different cameras are employed and mixed together well here... time for the master! beginning with his familiar funk riff from the opening of his POV solo, TR-i lays down the law on this one with awesome touch, flow, energy, and skillful displays of feel. abrupted a bit soon, although the entire chapter is long with all the 'guest appearences', he segues into Fever Broke...but we do not

instead we are launched into Property, one of my NWO faves due to it's great guitar work. TR-i passes out teabags after running out of condums and smoke fills the stage once again. with many crowd shots at hand, it seems that the crowd knows all the lyrics. the blend of background and live vocals is stellar here. ahhhhhhhh, enter the solo-beginning with great attack and tone, TR-i pretty much pulls the solo directly off the record at will...moving forward by ditching the axe and appearing solely as the individualist he has always been as the smoke clears

...chilling visuals indeed

a technical tour through the toys follows and it is really cool. i never saw him introduce the technical aspects of the pod on this tour so am very glad it's contained here----

(amidst blinking toaster smiles)

the process begins with available songs and section, script/loop/improv, sound effects, "the computer", a laptop for the message boards, lighting controls, green light, deejay station, gag box, drums, guitars, speakers.....

"girls, it's a yellow light. hit the stage!"

familiar seagulls wade into shore amidst a sea of silly string and fog as the title cut begins. there is a small gap here as it is from a laserdisc which was flipped at that point. lots of TR-i girls closeups here as the interactive fun continues. verse two features a great closeup of a female fan singing along and TR-i's voice is prime!

-------->>>>>>>GREEN LIGHT!

interaction abounds as fans begin to take over the stage with dancing delight, once again emphasizing the fun of this unique tour. one by one, people are invited onto the main stage of the podd to dance with todd all becomes a party over hugely looped backing vocals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fire engine sounds, bells clang, and strange sci-fi images re-appear. TR-i teases with the lost horizon bit for a second time-the crowd thinks its over...but it ain't as the outtro title theme continues and dances with the master heighten...smiles everywhere...and even an autograph. a fan gets nailed with silly string from TR-i...the first great fade of the disc.

Chant was pure essence of TR-i's message from this tour----world united, travelling to mecca, and sharing in each others magic. those quirky keyboards really shine here as they rise outta the mix like never before as the shooting shark flies about the room. once again, voice is prime! "time for the nightly excersize" TR-i begins his circular assemblage of fans moving as one about the pod...then he drops himself into this sTReam only to arise above again to scream and wail and jump and spin-----great stuff. it's like he's eight years old and is great to finally have such a high quality display of this.

the yellow lighted TR-i girls are requested again as Day Job flows in and out of Fever Broke for a bit and then slammmmmmmms into a high gear false start. verse one redux as multi-cameras dizzingly spin you around london's forum. "this is the land of opportunity" frantic drums are displayed before the twilight zone appears and foamy re-appears to scream over the industrial manicness below...excellent feel here as TR-i takes a couple chances. grokgazer, once again floats in for a bit and finally!, a real segue


Fascist Christ

bits of this haunting video are displayed amongst the live footage....this was really one wild video in which chances were taken and statements were made. scary at points. the christian cross twisting into the nazi symbol still freaks me out to this day.

"give me a break" is improved here to cackling delight amidst all the scratching one can handle.

......and foamy gets sTRapped on again, much to our delight. TR-i drops off the main elevated part of the pod to circle the wagons, interestingly enough in opposite direction of the earlier mecca walk. smoke flows about as the best riffs, screaming bends, and vibratos of the evening are displayed in an over two-minute solo over the looped main FC theme. this is my favorite part of this great vid--further KILLER proof as to his fabulous guitar talents i LOVE moments like these.

"somebody took our god away"---TR-i improvs with incredible soulful falsetto over the top of this as the FC vid closes (almost) over another sloppy fade into the closer, Bang the Drum All Day.

full of frantic drumming from TR-i and fans, the second verse gets a little 'miffed' but nobody seems to notice. the last selection of 'fan performers' is made and he's pretty bad so TR-i just cranks the chorus back in and then we're off to some great vocal delivery on the final verse amidst a sea of sTReaming party toys and silly strings.

"i could do this all night long"---TR-i. the perfect false ending brings 'em back on top of the pod again.

considering i saw some of the first shows on this challenging tour, the lack of technical problems during this performance is amazing. TR-i leaves the stage and allows the crazed fans to bang on drums and dance about as a camera takes us backstage along with TR-i and the girls. credits roll over the looped bang the drum while fans continue to dance and sing until the energizer bunny finally comes to a slow hault! TR-i combs the sweat of his head as TRansmission ends.

.....and such was the essence of this tour and such is the essence of this great DVD/VHS

interactive fun between performer and audience...a party that just wouldn't stop

...although the entire show could take one higher

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren - Live in Cyberia

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