February 02, 2003
TODD RUNDGREN: NOSTALGIA ACT. I went to see Rundgren last night at the historic Tennessee Theater. It was a solo show -- not "unplugged" as he had a lot of tapes, sequenced stuff, etc. going, but no other musicians. I had a front-row seat. He's not one of my favorites, but I've always respected him. Not last night. He very obviously didn't care about the audience, barely went through the motions (he hit wrong notes on every song on which he played instruments) and generally put on the worst show I've ever seen by a professional musician.
And most people didn't care. The crowd was a bunch of aging boomers, around ten years older than me on average. They were on an obvious nostalgia trip, and rushed the stage for autographs afterward (he gave out one or two, shook a couple of hands, then fled). I'm glad they had a good time, but I regarded it as a wasted evening. I sat with two other musicians -- one of whom had seen Rundgren play the same venue 30 years ago along with Free, Montrose, and Alice Cooper (it was a better show, he said) -- and they were equally disappointed. Still, with around 1,000 people there, and tickets at 25 bucks a piece, he probably walked away with $10-15,000 for about an hour's work.
Nice for him, but I won't go to see him again. And it's sad to see someone perform when they'd clearly rather be doing anything else.
Posted by Glenn Reynolds at February 02, 2003 10:17 AM