Todd/Joe 5/21 Fox theater

Review by Jerry S Michaud (Switch to

I am a Todd fan going back some thirty years since the Something/Anything album changed my perception of what recorded music could be back when I was an impressionable teen. I have never written a review although I have attended about a dozen Todd and/or Utopia shows over the thirty years. I am a little annoyed by a lot of the nitpicking of those whom may be more familiar with Todd's recordings than his live performances. Todd has never tried to serve up his recordings like packaged foods. He is truly the artist on the edge, a music/songwriting genius, comparable only to music geniuses of the past such as John Lennon, (dont smirk know you two had a lot in common), or maybe Bob Dylan or even Elvis Presley, none of whom were particulary known for giving polished, cookie cutter, whitebread type of performances. I don't think it is appropriate to compare a Todd performance to a polished performing artist like Joe Jackson, whom is a flawless musician, classically trained. Todd obviously plays neither the piano nor the guitar flawlessly. I remember seeing Todd playing with Cristopher Cross during a beatles tribute performance, and when Cris introduced Todd he said he was one of the most prolifigate music writers and producers of our time. Todd winced noticably since all of the other performers had been introduced as musicians. So just to recap in plain English, most of us Todd fans go to see this musical genius whom has had so much impact on the recording industry, and to celebrate with him and revel in the music and the vibes and WE DONT CARE if he doesn't play flawlessly.

So for the review... Joe Jackson was brilliant, my wife whom is a piano player from China couldn't stop remarking what a wonderful piano player he was and how comfortable he was at the keyboards. I was particulary struck by a number I never heard before called "Drowning" that he played accompanied by the Ethel quartet. I hope Joe comes back soon, and with some acoustic accompanyment like Ethel, it really lends another dimension to the music.

I thought Todd seemed more determined and serious than usual last nite. I even heard someone in the audience yell out "Are you angry?. His performance was uneven as is customary but some songs were simply stunning this time...such as Hawking, Cliche and Pretending to Care. I would love to see Todd drop Black and White from his sets since the song never translated well to acoustic guitar, even with effects. I saw him play it on a Stratocaster once with no backup, and it sounded much better but still really needs a full band backup to make it truly enjoyable. I liked the rendition of "Saw the Light" from the "With A Twist" cd and I certainly agree with Todd that being compared with Jose Feliciano is no insult since Jose was a consummate classical guitarist, but really the only similarity is that the flavor is spanish, but I don't think Jose ever played "bossa nova style" which this rendition was meant to be. I would say I rank this really high among Todd performances because of his determination and extra effort although I do miss the goof-off Todd that sometimes shows up. By the way, does anybody know what the acoustic guitar was that Todd was playing, I was too far back to see it but it sounded so great I would like to get one? Email me at

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson and Ethel 2005
05/21/2005 - Fox Theatre - Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts - Redwood City, CA

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

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