Broke down and busted in L.A....

Review by Brian T. (Switch to

Ethel - fun, interesting, good change of pace

Joe - - graceful, appreciative, professional

Todd - lacked any sort of soul-- a sloppy, choppy, out of time (seemingly drunk) former wizard who gave people a horrible memory--if this is the last time we ever see him (and for my money it might be my last) it's not a good way to go out.

the snarky attitude between songs all but robbed any special moment that might have developed--you just plain did not really like the guy (I swear this was like a different performer from the one I've watched and enjoyed for 30 years--this was charmless--no wit, no smarts, no class--no TODD! I've been at some of the decade's rougher solo shows but even those always had a little something redeeming--I get the whole "off-night" excuse--but this was different--this felt like a total bust from note one--so excuses won't wash this time--at the HOB a couple of years ago, the attitude was sloshy, but the playing was beautiful, so it saved it)

he was smirky, smug and obnoxious--a total self-parody act.

what did we get? a lecture about acoustic amps and their sonic properties, going to "11" (there's a timely reference) - mumbled "Domo Oregato" greetings, a meandering, icky, dandruff rap ("maybe I just FUCKED WITH MY HAIR TOO MANY TIMES!") that was met with (at least around us) grimaces and winces.

and we got "clever"

as he picks up the ukelele--"This folks, is *irony*, get it?? You people here are all in film school, right?--parody, satire, irony...get it?"

Thanks, Todd. We get it. Reduce the crowd to a bunch of 20-something film school geeks because you're in L.A. Real funny. (Average age of the crowd--I'd guess--52)

what else did we get?

Todd (to girl near front): "Hey, if you're gonna jerk your boyfriend off, at least wait til the chorus to make him come, okay?"

Oookay, Todd.

(on that one, the guy near us who'd brought his teenagers to obviously have a "Todd moment" instead had a Maalox moment--last I saw him he had his head in his hands before dragging his brood out of the theater.

what else did we get?

a silly, careless, "homeless chic" wardrobe that made him look like a squalid lunatic

I'm sorry to vent. i love this guy. I hated this show. At least his part of it. He sucked the life out of the room. From the buzzing, bumbled Black and White to the brutal beat down of I Saw the Light, this may have been the least inspired performance I have seen by anyone, ever. The playing seemed rushed, out of time and woefully amateurish.

What a disturbing night this was--on what should have been a home run evening. A few nights off to rest the vocals, a seemingly sold out art deco theater with a crowd that WANTED TO LOVE IT--but instead was deflated for most (if not all of) Todd's set.

When Joe returned to play his piece with Ethel, there was palpable relief in the theater--thank you Joe for rescuing the night and bringing it back to some order--a tasteful musical interlude at last.

Once you got to Pretending to Care, which others here have gushed about, I'm sorry--it was just just okay--stilted, rushed and phoned in. Because at this point in the show, you really weren't with him. it was too late. Nothing he did seemed serious or real. Just bloated self-parody.

Like I said, i've seen him for 30 years. Even off nights left you with a little something special; some chill up your spine or redeeming peek into the soul. Not this. And judging from the newspaper (objective) reviews, this is how most shows play out. Joe = prepared pro. Todd = careless wreck. Read them, folks. It's not a conspiracy. Those reviewers saw what they saw. Like me. And it pains--this was the guy I watched in wonder in the summer of '75? At the Roxy in 1978? At the Greek in '80? On the Liars tour last year?? No. This was an impostor.

Todd-apologists seem like a forgiving lot--so stateside he'll stumble through all this mess unscathed, I guess. But overseas it will be interesting to see how they greet the crazed cynic is his rumpled Chinese smoking jacket and purple silk shirt, telling them to "pretend you're surrounded by bananas and coconuts" before he strangles a throwaway novelty like Bang the Drum.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson and Ethel 2005
05/17/2005 - Wilshire - Los Angeles, CA

Other reviews for overall Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson and Ethel 2005

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