Review from Tulsa, 3/31/2003

Review by Mike Ransom (Switch to

TR played the Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa ("the house that Bob Wills built") on 3/31/2003.

The Cain's has been an institution here since the 1930s. My father and uncle remember going there with my grandparents on Saturday night to dance to Bob and Johnnie Lee Wills.

They also enjoyed watching the fights in the parking lot. In those days, a good fight was part of the entertainment package for both onlookers and the drunked-up participants.

My great uncle, Smokey Bowles, a working man, was also a cheerful weekend pugilist at the Cain's.

(Here is a joke he once told: A man with bad teeth went to the dentist to get them all pulled. After the job was done, the dentist said, "Let's get you fitted for some false teeth." The thrifty fellow declined, exclaiming "Hell, no, I know an undertaker that has a whole barrel full of them!")

The side walls of the Cain's are lined with sepia-toned portraits of Western Swing and country stars of the past. It has looked the same for many decades.

The wooden floor is spring-loaded for dancing, though most shows are sit-down concerts (one of the exceptions was the Ladies' Mud Wrestling that Cain's hosted in the early 80s).

There is currently a disco ball, which prompted a smartass comment from the stage when it was switched on during TR's show.

The song list closely matched what has been reported here previously. He played acoustic guitar (occasionally fuzzed), piano and uke.

His voice was in fine form.

Once, between songs, he stopped to say that he liked to find out what kind of people were in the audience. During this rap, he was presented with a dozen roses by fan Lori Wilson (who collected a hug from the star after the encore). We hope her action answered his question about Tulsa. The roses remained on his piano during the show.

Lori is a co-worker of mine. When I hailed her, she made sure we moved to her table upfront. She had been first in line and staked it our much earlier in the evening. What a fantastic vantage point to hear a solo TR. It was a constant delight to hear him toss off those vocal filigrees that seem to come so instinctively.

There is a curious duality to Todd Rundgren. His stage persona is a bit cynical and detached, but his voice seems to effortlessly channel a different personality, one that is nakedly emotional, existential, and cuts to the quick. Maybe this quality embarrasses him, and he compensates with with flippancy.

There's not much more to say...TR got a warm response from the Tulsa crowd. We were privileged to experience a great and original talent.

Other reviews for Miscellaneous Dates 2003
3/31/2003 - Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa, OK

Other reviews for overall Solo dates 2003

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