What I heard in Indy

Review by Ed Fliege (Switch to

Hey all,
I've seen nearly every tour and just about every Utopian configuration since '73 and for me the show in Indy was closer to the bottom of the list. I'm not saying it was a lame concert in it's own right, but if compared to several of the Todd shows I've seen in the last 25 years (and it's impossible not to, 'RA' comes immediately to mind) this was kind of a snoozer. The vocals sounded great and the musicianship was excellent (especially Prairie), but there was nothing new here at all. We've all heard 'The Surf Talks' by now and one new song isn't enough to keep me purchasing/supporting the ever-much-slower-growing Rundgren catalog. Very disappointing was Todd's guitar playing. I've heard him hit it dead on in the past, and when he does it makes a lot of those "who's the best guitarist ever" debates a mute discussion. This was not one of those nights. Anymore you don't get the feeling that he's giving the best guitar performance he can; not like someone who's devoted to playing guitar (and we know he's not). It's too bad he doesn't take that particular gift of his a little more seriously.

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.

Ed Fliege

Other reviews for Half Twisted
6/21/1999 - The Vogue - Indianapolis, IN

Other reviews for overall Half Twisted

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