review of Let's Eat -- A Tribute To Firesign Theater

Review by James R. Hinchman (Switch to

This is a review of Let's Eat: A Tribute To Firesign Theater. If you are not familiar with this comedy troupe, they were four individuals who broke ground in the late '60's/early '70's with their up-to-date versions of early radio and television programming; kinda like Walter Cronkite on acid or George Burns and Gracie Allen partaking in some rather potent green bud; all delivered with sharp wit, intellectualism and scathing political satire.

Months ago, I read that Todd would be partaking in a one- night, one-time only tribute to Firesign Theater and figured it was a perfect opportunity to visit my friends in L.A.

The show took place last night at Royce Hall on the U.C.L.A. campus. The stage was arranged so that a musical ensenmble of about 15 people occupied the far right side. To the left of that were 15 microphones and 15 chairs in an oval configuration facing the audience.

After an overture of ragtime, jazz and pop numbers, the actors took the stage, volumnous looking scripts in hand. The cast consisted of Howard Hessman, John Goodman, George Wendt, Loudon Wainwright III and others including Todd, who was earlier listed I believe as only a musical guest.

They proceeded to launch into entire pieces of Firesign madness, including Temporarily Humboldt County, Bozos, How Can You Be In Two Places At Once, Dear Friends, etc. It was truly an amazing feat to watch with near precision how these skits were delivered, considering that close to three hours of dialogue was delivered.

All took turns with lines, sounds effects and music. During "How Can You Be...", when the driver switches his climate control to tropical paradise, the band broke into a slow, hypnotic piece which lead Todd into singing Hello It's Me, With A Twist style. Actually, he had quite a number of lines in the show and did a fantastic job. You could tell that the cast were not only longtime admirers but that they truly were having an amazing time. To be asked to participate in something of this magnitude was indeed a great honor.

Later in the evening, Loudon Wainwright got a near standing ovation for a number about President's Day, and how we have had enough George's in the White House throughout history.

At shows end, to our delight, it was revealed that the four members of Firesign itself had been watching from the front section. They were brought up on stage for a well deserved standing ovation.

What an evening! I'm very happy that my instincts advised me not to miss out on this. I just hope they recorded this performance in some form or other.

Now, on with the Liar's tour!!

Other reviews for Let's Eat -- A Tribute To Firesign Theater
4/01/2004 - UCLA Royce Hall - Los Angeles, CA

Other reviews for overall Todd Rundgren and the Liars 2004

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