As for the second set, well, I like Bossa Nova, as much as anyone else. I'm sure Todd takes this latest direction seriously. But as I listen closely, what I hear is some of his strongest pop writing with a Bossa Nova rhythm grafted onto it and Todd singing the lyrics 'around' the original melody. I am a trained professional musician with a background in many different styles. True Bossa Nova is more than just the Latin percussion; the chords and melodies are written to interweave with the rhythm. The great thing about the original renditions of the songs now covered on WAT was the very catchy, hook-laden, we-can-all-sing-along melodies that made these songs great pop writing. I kept hearing the audience desperately trying to sing along with the new versions, which is a big part of the fun of hearing these older songs performed again. The hook in CWSBF was totally eliminated. About the only exception I heard was the Motown stuff; Todd pretty much stayed with the original melody on these.
My companion, who has seen just as many of the past shows as me, offered that it seems Todd's new drugs of choice are gin and sand and maybe he's just getting older (I thought he actually looked like he was in better shape physically than I've seen him for a long time). However my mate, who is fairly new to Rundgren and not very familiar with his work, liked the energy and uniqueness of the songs in the first set. None of us were greatly moved by the second set.
In trying to end on an optimistic note, I'm hoping that the point of this tour was to give his fan base a little something to tide them over while he puts together another mind-boggling, ground-breaking, something-new-under-the-sun offering. All these years he's been one of the few who could consistently be counted on to truly innovate. I'm betting he's still got a few more left in him.