Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee

Review by Lani Hanson (LA) & Anna Toberman (Chicago) (Switch to

The Pabst Theater is a historic and classy hall, with busts of Beethoven and Wagner in the Royalty box, a huge crystal chandelier in the third balcony ceiling, and cozy, sumptuous seating. Several bars offered a fine selection of drinks and Pabst beer, which we were allowed to bring to our seats. The ushers were very accommodating, escorting us to our seats, and not checking our bags, thank you. An usher told us the hall holds about 1300; there were about 900 in attendance tonight.

Opening artist, Gary Jules, of Los Angeles, treated us with about forty minutes of heartfelt, fun and relaxing acoustic guitar tunes. He thanked long-time "Rundgren Junkie", Weavil, for inviting him to post something on, which resulted in several kind responses from fans. He said "You can’t miss Weavil; he wears these glasses with one lens this way and one lens that way!"

Mr. Jules laced his witty performance with audience choices: "Do you want a cussing song or a cover song of my favorite local area band?" We got them both, including Cheap Trick’s "Surrender." He was frustrated with the sound, as he’d bought a very expensive tuning instrument in Denver which wasn’t working, but we didn’t mind him hand tuning. Jules has a clear, strong voice, and a full guitar sound. Both his CD’s were available for sale in the lobby. He closed the night with a number he sang for a movie and said, "Thanks for listening to me, but I know you all are here for Todd Rundgren."

The stage for Todd was set up with a Steinway piano, two guitars on stands, and a small table with ukulele, tiki shakers, and his MP3. Todd walked on stage wearing his requisite black outfit and a smile. Here’s the song list with a few comments we remember:

1. Lysistrata
2. Cliché
3. Black & White (broke a guitar string)

Tonight was Todd’s first time at the Pabst Theatre, to which he sang, "We’ve only just begun… to live… white lace and promises…" Oh, boy, he’s on tonight!

4. I Don’t Want to Tie You Down
5. Beloved Infidel (broke another string --- "Pussy guitar!")
6. Lunatic Fringe ("Who’s your messiah?")
7. Viking Song ("Some people say my piano playing is mistake-prone. I’d prefer to call it rollicking!")

When someone called out "The Wheel" Todd said if you know how his shows go, he usually plays "The Wheel" at the end, so: "Do you want me to wrap it up already?!"

8. Compassion
9. Free Male & 21 ("Yes, you have not heard every song I have written")
10. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference ("Come away with me…")

As Todd headed for the ukulele table, we ran up the aisle. Anna offered two leis from Kaua’I, one, a good luck ti leaf lei with a plastic Wisconsin cheese charm attached, the other, a purple/pink orchid lei. In Lani’s haste, she’d thrown together a yellow marigold and petunia lei plucked from the Wyndham hotel’s flower bed – ha! Todd cried, "Oh, the props have arrived!" We lei’d him, he explained "UUUUkulele" means flea or common head louse, and he went into:

11. "Bang the Ukukele All Day"

Todd put the leis on the piano, and said, "Don’t worry, we’ll use them again later. We don’t waste props around here. Remember The Pod? We turned it into the Tiki Lounge --try to figure that one out!"

12. Hammer in My Heart
13. Tiny Demons
14. Hide Your Love Away
15. I Just Seen a Face

Todd started to plunk his guitar and sing, "Endless Prairie" a Lorne Green song. He urged us, "Come away with me… to the endless prairie of the mind…" and segued into:

16. Born to Synthesize / Jetson theme (George Jeston, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rastro, and the Mechanical Maid. "What happened to our Future Past anyway? and my Mechanical Maid? and what can I make her do, hmm?")
17. I Saw the Light
18. Influenza
19. Can We Still Be Friends
20. I Want You
21. One World

Encore 1:

22. The Wheel (I wasn’t going to play this… but since you asked…")
23. What’ s Going On?"

Encore 2:

24. Hello It’s Me
25. A Dream Goes on Forever

After the show, a local radio station offered a Meet & Greet in the lobby bar for fans to take the opportunity to collect autographs, photos, a moment with Todd, and to schmooze with other "Rundgren Junkies."

Other reviews for Miscellaneous Dates 2003
7/23/2003 - Pabst Theatre - Milwaukee, WI

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