Todd Rundgren and The Liars - Live at the Albany Empire Egg

Review by Brian Brennan (Switch to

"I think that's a take"

It's great to see Todd back in absolute top form after all these years. His performance with the Liars on Wednesday night was beyond superlatives. The set list followed the same sequence as in most of the other shows, but with the notable addition of Flaw. In less skilled hands, the sound of 800+ Boomers singing the "lyin' ass motherfucker" chorus might have sounded corny or trite, but with Todd at the helm, it really went over well and got louder each time. Good clean fun, I say!

Tonight's performance was particularly tight as 2 digital camera booms swung rapidly around the stage for the taping of what presumably will be a DVD release. There were 7 or 8 cameras in total so they captured the 2.5 hour performance from every conceivable stage angle. Todd likened it to a new type of football game where "the singer has to dodge flying cameras" before scoring in the end zone. Other funny TR comments, anecdotes, and audience interaction, particularly with a few good natured drunks, were peppered throughout the evening. The familiar Todd stage wit was back - nice to see again. As for sound, The Egg in Albany has magnificent acoustics, but given it's intimate setting, I hope it properly captures the power, warmth and technical brilliance of Todd's latest synth-trance tunes from the Liars CD. Hopefully, the right adjustments were made in the sound engineering mix for optimum recording of all instruments. And from where I sat near the front, this most certainly seemed to be the case! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

As for the show, the two most compelling achievements of the evening were Todd's astounding vocal performance and his ever confident stage charisma. The guy's 55 and is still belting out vocal-shredding tunes like Mammon and Liar with nearly manic ferocity. His carefully placed electric lead guitar work was also as jaw-dropping as ever. And later, singing his mellower, soulful ballads like "Past" or "Feel It" a la Marvin Gaye (a la Todd!), he demonstrated his dynamic vocal range and sang with an emotional depth few can equal. TR is still a consummate showman as well, dancing and bounding around the stage, all the while getting his underlying message of truth seeking across. All I can say is: Still AWATS that will forever defy demographic placement in the music industry. And thank Todd for that!

The other pleasant surprise was how great the new songs sounded augmented with a live backing band on top of the pre-recorded midi song sections from Liars. For example, when Todd first arrived on stage to belt out Truth alone with pre-recorded synths cranking, the band filed out after the first verse, fired up their instruments (go Prairie!) and kicked that song straight up into the balcony! A Live Liars CD would be terrific as the band adds a whole 3rd (4th?) dimensional layer to the tunes.

All in all, the show was a mindblower. One additional note: Todd's guitar soloing in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was note-for-note perfection.

Brian Brennan

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren and the Liars 2004
6/09/2004 - Empire Center at the Egg - Albany, NY

Other reviews for overall Todd Rundgren and the Liars 2004

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