However, the weather wasn't so nice for Todd's visit to Colorado. Tuesday was cool and very windy - and despite the wind (it was so windy that the theater had to take the letters off the marquee), Todd Rundgren was greeted by a fairly good crowd on a weeknight, nearly packed except for the balcony, which I only visited during intermission, so it was more crowded than I saw it. The fans were enthusiastic to see Todd return to Colorado after a three year drought. Maybe I shouldn't use that word, it's been very dry here.
I picked up my tickets in time to get reserved seating, so I knew that I didn't have to wait outside with the general admission crowd. But since I work in Boulder, I found myself at the theater long before my friend Michael (for whom I had picked up a ticket) would show up at 6pm. I went to the theater, and found only one fan waiting to get in. After some small talk, I introduced myself and found out that Jean had seen Todd in concert since the '70s. We talked for a little while, but I got cold and tired of waiting and went to see if Michael had made it in yet.
After some time, Michael arrived at the Cheesecake Factory a few doors down from the theater, where we had planned to meet for dinner. We ate, talked to another couple that was seated at the table next to us, and they were going to see the show too. I always love the chance to hear from other Todd fans, or even just to get an acknowledging nod as I pass someone who knows what it's like to be a Todd fan. It's our secret society.
After dinner, we entered the theater and found our seats. It wasn't very full yet, and I walked around looking for some Todd friends that I only see at shows. I met some great people, mostly thanks to my RUNDGREN JUNKIES t-shirt that Wisconsin's #1 fan sent to me. I met and talked to Jim and Rochelle, John and Joann and their daughter (east coast transplants like me!), Bill and Kathy K., and Steve A. came up and said hello to me. Donna also said hello, and showed a gift she had for Todd later. Meeting Todd fans is one of the highlights of my evening.
The evening started out well and on-time, with the opening act beginning at 7:30 sharp. Nick & Tom of local Boulder band Devotchka played a short set, with Nick on vocals and guitar and Tom alternating between violin, piano and accordion. Their style is intriguing, with a European sound yet Brian Ferry-like vocals. A unique and exhilarating performance, with guest singer Laura Lynn (sp) providing quality background vocals and a breathtaking lead vocal on one song.
After their short set, we had another intermission, and it wasn't long before Todd came out at 8:40pm. He quickly jumped on acoustic guitar, and went into the first song. If you're looking to be surprised, you won't be - this is a very similar set to what he played on tour earlier this year. It's just that now he's able to play it on the west coast.
The setlist -
Lysistrata Love Of The Common Man I Don't Want To Tie You Down Beloved Infidel Lunatic Fringe (after which he made it a loving TRibute to John Ashcroft, yeah right)On piano:
The Viking Song Compassion Free Male & 21 (with some funny banter about the Gov of Calif.) It Wouldn't Have Made Any DifferenceTodd then got up and accepted some flowers from Joann and her young daughter, after which he pulled out the ever-popular ukulele effect for: Bang The Drum
The natives got restless at this point, yelling out requests like "Jesse", to which Todd commented that he would just say the F word several times and we could get it out of our systems, though the young lady that just gave him flowers would be scarred for life, or words to that effect.
On guitar, Todd tells us that being the first show of the tour, we'd get to hear songs that he'd have no possibility of singing later, and went into There Goes My Inspiration.
By now, many of us realized that Todd had grown a little "patch" on his chin. He told us a story about being in Florida this year, and finding some Nair for Men - and thinking it was to use instead of shaving, he applied some on his face. He noticed that it had a certain smell, and waited for it to take the hair off his chin. About an hour later, Todd saw that it had become white and cakey, and it soon developed into something akin to diaper rash, which lasted three or four days. Todd prophesied that this story would soon be on the internet...and now it is.
Next up on guitar: You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (HEY! It's everyone's favorite singalong, no?)
Todd mentioned Johnny Cash, and although his catalog of country music is small, his vast knowledge of all things country led him into his own countrified version of I've Just Seen A Face. He segued it into Lorne Greene's 2nd biggest hit - again, we'll all be on the net looking to download it - "Endless Prairie" - and back to "Face."
Next up, on the stool singing the .mp3 versions of: I Saw The Light - during Jesse's solo, Todd reaches toward one of his guitars, plucking imaginary strings and saying it was a trick he got from Neo. I knew that Matrix T-shirt I got in 2000 meant something.
Influenza Can We Still Be Friends I Want YouHe then ended the set with One World.
First Encore: Todd talks to us about how his music is headed in a different direction. He's going more into composition for symphony, he tells us, for a symphonic ensemble. He plays something classical on piano, and after his hand cramps up (from the altitude, y'know), he goes into "Hello It's Me" - is it a song that he's finally comfortable playing, or is it something that, now well rehearsed from Letterman, he's going to get out of our systems. Follow that up with "A Dream Goes On Forever."
He signs some autographs, shakes some hands, and off he goes. The house lights remain dim, so we know there's one more song. Michael turns to me and guesses it. The Wheel. Todd comes out, tells us we're an "obstinate bunch" and sure enough...The Wheel it is.
After this second encore, he shakes a few more hands, gives a few more autographs, and off he goes. I waited to see if Todd would meet with any fans, and I even passed a note to the security guard at the backstage entrance. I wrote, "Todd - can you spare a few minutes for a patron? I promise not to hit the Backspace. Z-man" You either get it or you don't. (Hint: It's about the Auditorium on his Patronet site)
Some time passes, some people are sent back, several of us wait patiently. After some time, one of the fans that had been backstage mentions that Todd would meet the fans out back - something that sounded unusual, as windy as it was. But the van did come back, they loaded it up, and after some time...we were told that Todd had already left.
Thanks to all the fans that make this more than just a concert - it's a family reunion! Forgive me if I misspelled someone's name.
Better luck in Tempe? Todd only knows. I'll be there - say hello if you see me.