Todd Rundgren at Tempe, AZ 'LIARS' Review

Review by John Stuart Crompton (Switch to

Powerful. That's what comes to mind when I think back at that night at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ. Having only seen Todd Rundgren once before in concert (the excellent 1998 'With A Twist' Tour here in Scottsdale), I already had a high standard for which to compare this performance. But, to state it bluntly, Todd and his band exceeded any expectations I may have had.

I was simply blown away, with both the new material from 'Liars' and with the passion and excellence of the performance. Todd uses his voice more creatively than any singer I can think of. An immense talent, he is a consummate improviser with his voice, and when he wants to really say something in his music, he surely does. LIARS is probably the most intelligent album he's ever made. And, it could be the most memorable, and that's something to say for a guy who has created an immense amount of great music in his career.

I dragged 4 friends with me who did not know much about him, and everyone's mind was blown. I occasionally looked around at the audience around me and most jaws were dropped!!! The guy has energy, creative inspiration, passion and technical musical excellence that just has to be experienced first hand to fully appreciate... Its really something to witness this being expressed.

Highlights of the night? Well, the opener... 'Truth', when he comes out and sends that voice soaring, 'I gotta find the truth...' over and energetic synth rythmna.... Damn... I got goosebumps! I loved the acoustic solo 'Beloved Infidels', and also 'Buffalo Grass', a recent song from the 'One Long Year' collection, that oddly got a lot of criticism online. My answer to that is: well, I dare you to hear that song live! Awesome. So many others.... A wonderful rendition of 'My Guitar Gently Sleeps'. Probably, "God Says' moved me the most. That is such a rich song. And a very bold, yet honest personal statement. The ending encores.... 'Hello its Me', and 'Just One Victory' were just incredible. Full of life, feeling, nostalgia, yet also very much in this moment. The latter carrying obvious political overtones, and a great closer for the 'Liars' set of material. Although he never actually comes out and says the obvious, there's no mistaken where his values are. I say BRAVO to that!!!

Well, a concert just doesn't get better than this. My hats off to all the great musicians up there. They were great. And to Todd, simply, you are amazing...may you live forever.

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9/20/2004 - Marquee Theatre - Tempe, AZ

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