Review by Matthew Beaghen (Switch to

Having witnessed the "Todd and Joe Show" earlier in the week at Bristol when I'd had to sneek out before the end to catch a train back to London, I was really keen to see what had been added to the set tonight, after reading with growing jealousy all the reviews of York and Leicester. Ethel and Joe stuck pretty close to the same set lists with Joe adding the sublime "Drowning" from his wonderful and woefully neglected Lp "Laughter and Lust", where he was joined by the cellist from Ethel.

The less than capacity crowd loved him and gave a rapturous reception and deservedly so.

Todd strode on stage in his black and yellow polka dot jacket and looked really good. No sign of thrift shop chic about it. He bashed straight into Lysistrata and though the voice suffered on some notes he carried it well and played that guitar into submission. The rest of the set was composed in no particular order, of Cliche, LOTCM, ISTL(semi-twisted) Beloved Infidel (really tight) Viking, HIM (with comedy winking after the line 'Stay the night if you think I should' and much extemporising vocal at the end followed by Hawking which fell a bit flat unfortunately after Todd had to stop and start having fluffed some chords. He apologised but didn't try to excuse the mistake. Up on guitar again we had Afterlife which was superb but I think it really needs a back up singer as it leaves him rushing the words too often. Still a great version. Bang on the drum was refreshingly mental (even more so than usual) and caused quite a lot of tittering (laughter) round me. I think he then did Lord Chancellor with Ethel who were faultless after only two days playing it. Todd never slipped up and I could hear every word for the first time. Clearly Todd thinks all London crowds are experts on Gilbert and Sullivan and really tried his best. It was fabulously entertaining. At some point Stood Up was played which took some doing what with Ethel and Joe back on doubling up on backing vox, piano and shaker. It's such a dense arrangement it all got a bit lost in the mix but Todd was in fine voice throughout and it came together remarkably considering the few performances it's had and the fact that as an ensemble piece it is essential that all the parts gell throughout unlike the solo spots where Todd especially seems increasingly to play with the tempo here and there and drop beats on a whim. Next up was I think, Pretending to Care which was sublime and Todd really nailed the last few falsetto phrases which I felt he'd fluffed in Bristol. That was it for Todd. He left out Tiny Demons and there was no Soul Brother nor Hide Your Love Away, which though a great Beatles tune, is really a waste when he could play any number of his own in it's place.

Joe returned for a perfect reading of Real Men and then Todd joined in for Got The Time and finally WMGGW topped it all off with Ethel going for it in a way you had to see to believe. Pages of music were falling like autumn leaves under the heavy footstomping.

A great show and a fitting London performance given the crowd were pretty placid. At one point Todd said we were like a Japanese crowd. Awestruck is probably the explanation. We have to savour every last drop of this man's genius since we've seen so little of it in person. A great idea for a tour and the reality was better than could have been expected. Roll on next time.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson and Ethel 2005
06/05/2005 - Hammersmith Apollo - London, England

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

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