There's a saying that goes something like "It's not the destination, it's the journey that matters." When my destination or "the shore that I land on" is Todd Rundgren, there are always friendships made and adventures had along the way.
In 1994 I saw Todd in London and Manchester – what a blast! Merf had put me in touch with LuLu & Dave, Michael & Veronica, and Tony. I wondered if I'd see any of them in Glasgow this year... (Check out Todd's video or the CD "Live at the Forum, London '94" at www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.com )
My long-time gal pal, Lea, lives in Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh. Last time I saw her was in 1993 when my job took me to Glasgow. Hard to believe (and I'm embarrassed to admit), but all this time I hadn't shared with Lea my passion for Todd Rundgren's music and lyrics. To make up for it, I grabbed some TR CD's and invited myself to stay with her a few days. Todd was playing in Scotland for the first time in over twenty years and I'll use any excuse to see him outside the U.S
I flew on KLM's red-eye all night, from Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Edinburgh, and Lea drove us to her home in Bonnyrigg. After a short night of wine and catching-up, I had to crash. Fourteen hours later I woke up, had a cup of tea out in the garden, then drove to Sainsbury's and Tesco for groceries, Tetley's tea and cut flowers. I cranked on my Todd CD's for a "Liars" preview, Lea and Andy prepared a roast with mashed 'tatties, Yorkshire pudding and a glass of yummy Pimm's on ice, then we drove west one hour on the M8 to the Carling Academy in Glasgow. FYI, this long stretch of highway in the Scottish countryside is chock-full of mounted cameras that catch you speeding on film! That would never work in California.
We found the Carling, grabbed our £pound;18.50 tickets and waited in line with about fifty other die-hard fans. The tickets stated a 7:00 show, but that's when the doors opened. The Carling was much like the Pageant in St. Louis, big enough for the whole Liars stage and lighting set-up. We ordered drinks and hung out with George and Ben, who'd seen all the UK shows so far.
I saw some of the band members had family or friends on tour with them. Just minutes before show time long-lost, and now married, Michael and Veronica Brown came up to say hi and catch-up. They, too, had been to all UK shows and would go to Manchester tomorrow. It's a small world, indeed. Veronica wore Michele Rundgren's pink Venus Envy Productions t-shirt; the back says RUNDGREN 69. She said there's another that says "Men Are Stupid; Women Are Evil - - Bad Combination". Check out www.MicheleRundgren.com and buy one for yourself.
When we heard the Indian music on a loop, it was obvious the show was delayed, but when the first notes of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" played I new it was "show time!" A few smokers in the crowd made it distracting to enjoy the show at times, and my jacket still reeks. I'm spoiled living in California where there's no smoking in any public establishment.
As several fans have written, the show was awesome and well-received by the packed house. The Liars looked sharp and were ready for the hungry crowd. Jesse actually wore a tie with his suit! I almost drooled over Todd's long, carwash-like woven Asian warrior skirt. What can I say? I'm weak for long-haired men in skirts, sarongs or kilts --- and I enjoy lei'ing Todd when he's far from home. Bummer that the stage was high and had a crowd control divider so Todd couldn't shake hands during "Hello It's Me." But this UK crowd sang along loud and strong, stadium-style, waving their hands high.
Despite a few glitches in the sound, the Liars gave a powerful performance. We are so blessed to have such incredible, seasoned musicians go on tour with Todd. John, Prairie, Jesse and Kasim are at the top of the heap in talent. Kasim threw a few picks and Lea grabbed one. Until yesterday she hadn't a clue who Todd was, let alone Kasim and the boys. Darn, we didn't see Randolph the Valet tonight as earlier there was some sort of 'costume malfunction'. What a great summer vacation he must be having, going on tour with his dad.
It was fun to meet everyone after the show and take photos. Sorry, we didn't wait long enough to meet Todd, as we had a long midnight drive back to Bonnyrigg. I was surprised to see the sky was still light with dusk; must be the far northern location. We even saw a shooting star in the sky ahead and - - - a photo flash behind us. Oops, the camera-police got us!
Two days later I had a 6:00 a.m. flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam. At duty free I bought bottles of Pimm's, The Balvenie and Glenfarclas single Highland malt scotch whisky. It was a beautiful morning flight over the green rolling Scottish fields, the glistening Firth of Forth, over the vast North Sea and past the long beaches, fields and waterways of Holland.
After seeing Todd, my trip went down hill. Traveling as an airline employee on stand-by on an oversold flight to LAX, and being in transit in Amsterdam's Schiphol airport during the summer holiday is a complex experience. I had to exit through Arrivals, pick up my luggage, go through AMS Customs and Immigration, back up to the KLM counter, re-check my luggage, show my passport and boarding pass several times, beep and get felt-up at security, buy some Dutch tulips and a sandwich, find the gate, and pray for one window seat for desperately needed sleep during the 10-1/2 hour flight. I was the last one called and put on a flight attendant jump seat. The Purser said I couldn't sleep, drink alcohol, or watch the movies and would have last choice of meals, if available. Story of my life as a stand by! I admire any fan who travels long and far to see Todd; it's not easy.
Oh, what a relief when I looked out the window and saw California from 30,000 feet high (Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Park, Central Valley, Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, the Hollywood Sign and Dodger Stadium). Home! Bed! Sleep!
And I'd do it all again just to see Todd Rundgren in person. Let's see, there's New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, Las Vegas, California --- and Japan. Hmmmm.........