Todd Rundgren Concert Review

Review by Eric Middlebrook (Switch to

Todd Rundgren Concert Review

The morning after a GTD concert experience is full of blurred, slow-motion satisfaction. Waking-up on my old couch - now in Mark Stucker's living room - gives me a sense of familiar comfort as I peruse my personal articles on the floor and table. While getting ready to go out for some bagels, I consider that all-too-familiar question:

"Hmmm. What happened to all my cash?"

Well, a good time was certainly had by all. But before I detail the pre and post-concert activities, Todd Rundgren's latest additions to his longstanding career deserve primary review.

Venue for the event was Sycamore Gardens - an updated club that holds about a thousand patrons. Approximately 600 fans showed up last night - a crowd that allowed us to easily make our way to front row. We stood about 10 feet from Todd & Company throughout the evening.

Rundgren opened the show with a high-voltage, high-energy rock session that included a mix of his old and new offerings. Even before the first song ended, fans were assured he still has the pipes to sing through a full, vigorous show. Standing about two feet from the mike, Todd belted-out full-volume vocals that reminded us of his vocal strength.

The opening rock session also highlighted Rundgren's solid guitar skills with high-speed riffs accentuated by heavy synthesizing that is one of his trademarks. After an hour of heavy jamming, the aging rockers (Todd and us) were ready for a break. He broke the stage for the next motif.


After intermission, The Tiki Lounge emerged on stage and the band brought a dozen patrons forward to sit on bamboo stools at leopard-skin-covered tables. The band took their places on bamboo director's chairs. Palm trees, grass backdrops and Tiki masks adorned the stage.

Rundgren's music took an acoustic shift and he played several of his old favorites - a change from several of his prior concerts where he did not play some of his trademark songs. Todd's vocal strength continued through the end of the show, and it was further accentuated by the acoustic style of The Tiki Lounge.

Despite not returning for an encore, Todd Rundgren celebrated his 51st birthday by giving us his best concert of the four I've seen. His vigorous rock show was balanced with a lighter session that featured the welcomed return of his old favorites. This aspect especially spotlighted an element of his work that was notably lacking in Todd's last two shows. A Rundgren concert ends wanting without a serious presentation of songs like "Hello, it's me." Correcting this situation was a good change .

With his mix of high-energy rock and old favorites, Todd Rundgren gave his fans a concert he can be proud of. At age 51, he presents great vitality, with enduring instrumental and vocal skills that any young rocker would love to have.

After the show . . .

. . . Greg, Walt, Mark and I waited for about a half-hour and met Todd at the backstage door. Several autographs and photos were taken. Then we joined Todd & Company at The Diner restaurant, where we celebrated his birthday. The last sip occurred about 1:30 a.m. The band and family members left in vans and a big Caddy. Walt and Greg started their two-hour ride home while Mark and I did the short run to the University of Cincinnati area.

A GTD time was had by all.

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6/22/1999 - Electra - Cincinnati, OH

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