I told her that since I wasn't a Todd fanatic like the folks who follow his career closely and express their opinions on a regular basis, I wasn't really qualified to give them my opinion.
Then I realized that maybe the very fact that I don't have an emotional tie to the subject matter might make me an eligible candidate for a comment after all. So, here goes.
I have seen Todd Rundgren perform five times in my life, all of them at my wife's request and all of them in the last couple of years. One previous solo acoustic show, Liars three different times on two different sides of the Atlantic (don't ask) and last night in Melbourne. I think he is one heck of a talent and a very good live performer. Of the five shows I have seen, last night's effort was the weakest..........BUT (and it's a mighty big but)............he still did a darn good job.
The reviews that EJ read to me all seemed to be focused on the fact that Todd made some errors and seemed to be straining. Gee. He ain't perfect. Excuse the hell out of him. I'm not perfect either, and I can vividly remember some first stabs at new situations which didn't exactly shine. Lucky for me there weren't 2500 people watching, huh?
There are two things that I think everyone is forgetting....the show, until Todd came out, had been crisp from a musical perspective but very limp in the audience relations department. I think he knew that and he was doing his damndest to get everybody involved. His method was to actually talk to the crowd about what he was doing, warts and all. Each of the five shows I have seen Todd do has had a flaw or two....and he almost always points them out because he's a perfectionist and isn't satisfied with himself until he gets it right. Last night was no exception. In his efforts to get the crowd into the act, he pointed out every slip that occurred. I'm not a big gambler, but I would bet the 95% of the crowd would not have noticed almost all (okay, Hello It's Me was a bit over the "fairly obvious" line) of the miscues if Todd hadn't announced it every time he felt he screwed up. I don't think a person in a hundred mile radius, let alone the room, would know if he played that darn Viking song backwards. But, he didn't like it, so he announced it. He could have blown off the aborted preludes by simply segueing into something else...but again, in his efforts to involve and be honest with the audience, he stopped, announced that he blew it, and started something else.
Here's my point.....it was the first night of an important new tour. Everybody was nervous. Everybody made mistakes. Todd was the one who chose to put a spotlight on his mistakes in order to try to involve the audience. Unfortunately, instead of appreciating the candor, a lot of people chose to focus on the flaws. Maybe that approach wasn't Todd best decision ever. Maybe he was pushing a little too hard. But cut the man some slack. He was trying to make us a part of the show. End of sermon. We now return you to your regularly scheduled postings.