Bristol Colston Hall review

Review by Matthew Beaghen (Switch to

I travelled down to the gig from London and I arrived at the rear of the venue at 5.30 pm or so, where I was one of only three guys waiting for a glimpse of out hero. Sound checking was coming from the open stage door so in I went and caught several glimpses of both Joe and Todd warming up for the sound boys. Todd played snatches of Drunken Blue Rooster and A Dream Goes on Forever before the two of them plus Ethel started to rehearse Joe's Got The Time with Todd busking on electric. At this point a security guard asked us to leave and shut the door. So I and another, Pete from Devon wandered around to the main entrance. Several minutes later, a casual Todd strolled into the road and almost escaped unnoticed. Almost. I shouted "Mr Rundgren" and he turned on his heal and marched over. We shook hands and several people had their picture taken with him including a fellow called Greg with a reproduction of the Fool guitar which he'd hand painted. Todd signed it and I had Pete take a photo of me with Todd and guitar. After that he wandered off presumably to post some letters.

Todd's section of the show started inauspiciously when he began Love Of The Common Man with the distortion pedal on and almost immediately following the restart, broke a string. This led to a female audience member in the front going off on one about the curse of Bristol and the ghost of the Colston Hall which was just the beginning of her contribution to the evening. Todd got into his stride and despite the loud and clearly irritating woman, knocked off some stunning versions of Cliche, Black And White, Hello It's Me, Tiny Demons, Song Of The Viking, Hawking, Beloved Infidel, Bang On The Ukalele Daily, Lysistrita (?) and Pretending To Care (with Ethel) which was, quite frankly gobsmacking. Unencumbered by an instrument here his voice and performance was breathtaking.

All in all a fine show. He and JJ seem to compliment each other well and there is no feeling that one is second on the bill so to speak. I missed the encore as I had to catch the last train back to London but I was more than satisfied. His voice was in fine shape with many falsetto moments that I thought him no longer capable of along with some real bravura playing especially at the end of Viking where he went amazingly fast. Great to hear him play acoustic guitar and grand piano again. Can't wait till Sunday.

Oops. I forgot to mention that Todd did a stonking version of The Beatles' Hey,You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.

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05/31/2005 - Colston Hall - Bristol, England

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