Marquee Theatre - Tempe, AZ Review

Review by Michael Harkins (Switch to

What an amazing show... and wonderful night! The evening began for Karen (my fiance) and I with a nice hour and a half drive up from Tucson... listening the to August 24th Joe Jackson/TR Delacorte Theater show (thanks to Shelle). We met Karen (toddgrl), Scott (TR Bazaar) and ArizonaLarry at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. Located less than a mile away from the venue, this turned out to be an excellent gathering place for pre and post show getogethers at the Marquee Theatre (they are open daily until 1AM).

When we arrived at the venue (around 6:15PM), there were very few people at the theatre.

Starting at that time, Scott handed out Toddcards to quite a few eager TR fans. This was for Bill Bricker(a.k.a. Wib)'s outstanding campaign ( which he has created to honor the 30 year anniversay of the "Todd" album with the noble objective being to place as large a fan-tribute Ad as possible in the Year-End issue of Rolling Stone Magazine (BTW- nice design and great effort Bill).

I happy to discover that the Prairie Prince designed Liars shirts (which had been reportedly unavailable at a number of previous tour stops were available at the concession booth right as we entered the venue. I decided to purchase three of them (for Karen & I and a 3rd shirt for Tom Palmer - they sold out of Tom's size while has was at the Cerritos show this past Saturday) on the spot rather than risk having them run out of these shirts again.

There was no VIP pass-holder meet-and-greet pre-show fan gathering with Todd, so we located the VIP section (center - first three rows) and picked aisle seats in the third row (nice balance between close proximity to the stage while still getting a good audio mix during the show. Is was great talking with a number of very cool long-time TR fans about their most memorable past TR/Utopia concert experiences as well as those of several other progressive music artists.

Ultimately, by the time the opening MP3-sequences of "Truth" began cascading around the Marquee Theatre, there were approximately 400-450 hard core TR fans (and that is a generous estimate) in attendance (which was about half the turnout that witnessed last year's solo show fiasco). Clearly, Todd's sloppy performance and his aloof, angry-artist antics at last year's show adversely impacted Liars ticket sales in the 3.5 million resident Phoenix MSA... and that is really unfortunate, considering how extraordinary this show turned out to be.

Buffalo Grass 
Fascist Christ 
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
God Said

- TR Solo Segment - Beloved Infidel Lunatic Fringe

Green Onion Soul Brother Flaw Sweet Past Born To Synthesize Feel It The Want Of A Nail

- Encore - Hello It's Me Just One Victory

Over the past 31 years, I have been blessed to be able to attend more than 60 Todd Rundgren/Utopia performances dating back to 1973 when (as a 13 year old teenager) I witnessed 25 year old Todd (with his young, awkward voice) perform to reel to reel tapes and with the amazing full Utopia line-up during the second part of the concert... delivering the most magical live performance I had ever experienced in my young life. Monday night's show easily measured up to each and every one of the rave reviews I have read since April and greatly exceeded the impact I felt when listening to recordings from a number of Liars tour shows that several kind fans sent to me over the summer.

The distinctive staging with the LED cluster lighting, vibrant costumes, microprocessor-based synching and digital audio processing makes this a Todd Rundgren show for the ages. The band was spot-on tight (except for some really loose pockets of musical interplay during the extended "Green Onions" and "Born To Synthesize" jams). I can't recall ever hearing Todd's voice sound so rich, warm and strong throughout an entire concert as it was during Monday night's show. Todd was in perpetual motion throughout the show.... so it wasn't a big surpise when (after the show) he scampered past his patiently waiting die-hard Arizona-based fans and rushed onto his tour bus to decompress from his exhausting performance. Unlike last year, Todd clearly poured everything he had into Monday night's show leaving nothing in his tank to give to his fans after the show. Suffice to say, I would gladly trade a meet and greet opportunity with Todd after a less amazing performance for a performance of Monday night's caliber... each and every time! Kasim was really great after the show. He was personable with everyone who sought him out... posing for pictures and signing autographs up until the very last request.

Thanks for wonderful show guys...

The Truth is... Todd still has the magic!

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

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