Review by Ron Hromoko (Switch to

LA has a unique ambiance for TR-i shows, as does chicago, san francisco, new york, and reportedly, cleveland. i thought it was just coincidence after a few tours, but last night the pattern again manifested itself, though not as pronounced.

it's always been this writer's opinion that the time TR spent here in the early seventies left an impression on the way he feels about the area. add to that his disdain for record companies and the entertainment industry throughout the years, and you get some interesting shows here.

i think Todd Rundgren tries a little harder when performing in LA.

the roxy is small, perhaps even smaller than club bene down the shore or even the firehouse in ballard. it's a squared diamond room with the stage facing diagonal to a standing pit with a few tables up toward the back only around 15 feet from the stage. bottled water? $3.50.

though a soundcheck was heard just after 8pm, they loaded us in and started set one just after 9pm. of note are the silence breaks in 'fix', where you can hear the band's footsteps on stage. other numbers like 'drive' and 'trapped' are getting cleaner as TR is directing band members real-time on when and what to play.

challenges with the crew remain, as the runt frequently yells commands redundantly to the monitor mixer. tonight, TR feels the need to make eye contact, so he takes his WaT shades off half way through the 'Half' set. here's where i can really get into TR's space. the shades take away a lot of what's going on inside of his head.

need i mention the energy is still there? and, because this is LA, TR tries a little harder to stick it to the industry in a more tangible way than well-paying production jobs or a 'direct delivery model'. the two-dozen fans and LA-style UFL totally rocking down front row didn't seem to hurt either.

'hit me like a train' is again absent from the Half set.

set two starts early, around 11:05pm. hooray! TR's wearing black pants and jacket, and a white polo shirt with royal blue hawaiian trim on sleeves, collar and bottom. the voice of kasim sulton sounds like it's echoing through the grand canyon.

a unique addition tonight is introductions. after gress' & ferenzik's solo spot in 'synthesize', TR introduces them, then introduces kas and prairie, citing he's not worthy among royalty of sultons and princes.

believe it or not, the venture capitalist's wife from santa barbara drove down to LA for this gig and apparently thinks she really is part of the show. she again scales the stage twice in set two for some harmless, but selfish time with TR. "what do you think this is? Midnight at the Apollo?" that chick needs a good head-surfing.

no 'lost horizon' tonight. the winners with the crowd are 'nnl' [as the disco ball from 2nd Wind 'lotcm' makes an appearance], 'LitA', and the motown medley. 'espresso' falls flat, as there's no room to dance. hopefully, sunday night's show won't be as crowded.

who put water in my water?

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6/12/1999 - Roxy - West Hollywood, CA

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