Just need to get this off my chest.
I am not into the whole Todd is Godd thing. I believe TR is a wonderful musician, vocalist, composer, producer, innovator -- a real renaissance man, and for many years I have been drawn to the compassion often found in his music. I have seen many versions of live TR -- each one wonderfully unique. Such was the Joe Jackson collaboration (despite the fact that I was wary from all of the negative reviews).
I am dumbfounded by most of the criticism. First, it seems that they did not consider the type of tour this is. This is not your typical TR concert crowd. A large portion of the audience was Joe Jackson fans and another large portion was casual fans of either Joe, Todd, or both artists. Seeing TR in person was a new thing for many of the concertgoers. Thus, Todd performing some his commonly known songs was rather mandatory. And I must admit that Bang the Ukulele worked far better in this crowd than I have ever seen it before (I was surrounded J.J. fans who got a big kick out of it). Todd did as he should; he considered whom the audience was composed of. Jeez, the place would have gone silent if he broke into Mammon, Fascist Christ, or something else that they would have been dumbfounded by.
Todd has always been an evolving/changing artist. He is not the same artist he was back in the 70s. And THANK GODD FOR THAT! I mean, I LOVED the 70s Todd, but I go to his concerts to see him express himself musically as he is at that moment. THAT'S WHAT ARTISTS DO. The TR who performed on the incredible Liars tour is not the same man who performed on your Back to the Bars records. I believe Todd Rundgren fans who GET him understand and appreciate his need to evolve and play in the moment -- believing each performance is, and should be, unique. I have enjoyed watching him transform over the years. Hey, he's no 20-something-year-old wiz kid anymore. He is a musical icon than cannot stand still and cannot not evolve. How sad it would be if he didn't grow!
And, low and behold, I am not a blind follower of Todd. I have not always fallen in love with each of his experiments, but I have loved that he follows a different drum. He does not let the marketplace dictate his next musical venture. Very few artists can confidently say as much.
So, you don't like his changing meter or rhythmic variations on the guitar, or you don't like his current approach to some of his vocals. (Hmm, this version of TR worked great for the Liars tour. Go figure!) Do serious Todd fans go to see him expecting him to duplicate his old polished records? No, we want to see today's version of Todd. And today's version of Todd is fantastic - even if he doesn't sound like your Back to the Bars records.
Oh, one more thing. I dragged my teenager to the concert. He is not a TR fan (he has his own unique tastes). He felt that Joe Jackson was boring (despite the fact that I loved Joe's performance -- very poignant at times). However, this teen volunteered that TR "rocked" and "saved" the show for him. He loved the gutsy version of Black and White, and was quite pleased that "Todd didn't just rehash his songs like some cheesy pop star." I consider my son's fresh perspective as a sort of musical litmus test. And it's a positive sign that a fresh set of very critical ears approves of today's TR. So, as far as I am concerned, all of those "destroyers and criticizers" can just go lock themselves in a sound booth and listen to endless loops of Barry Gibb. Hopefully, Todd will continue to be himself and play in the moment. If so, I will keep coming to see him live. If he were to ever succumb to those who "only live to criticize" and started performing by some whorish, formulaic, play-it-just-like-the-record rote, then that would be a sad, sad day.
And to Todd, thank you for everything from the Nazz to this wonderful tour with Joe Jackson. Most of us "get" you and appreciate your creative needs and expressions. That is why we have been here for the long haul.
Kern in Escondido (San Diego)