Review by Virginia Carey (Switch to

Do you remember Todd Rundgren's Utopia shows back in the day? Remember how tight the band (Todd, Ralph, Moogy, John...) was, and how crisp the concept? And remember Utopia's tour when the band covered Maurice Ravel and Marvin Gaye, and Kaz sang "Love Alone" as a bouncing heart highlighted the lyrics beneath quaint images on a screen? Well, "It's Alive" is aptly named, because this band is as alive as can be...much like the good-old-days. I say this now, but on the morning of June 3rd I would not have imagined being this thrilled.

First of all, I was never much of a Cars fan. (No offense intended to anyone; I simply did not care one way or the other.) Be that as it may, as most people who listen to the radio I am more than familiar with Cars hits, and as an avid TR fan I purchased good pavilion seats without giving it a second thought. Not until the afternoon of the show did it occurred to me that the evening might turn out to be banal.

But alas, banality was nowhere to be found. The Road Rage show at Ravinia was as enjoyable as any. The band was as tight as can be, and truly professional. Cars fans of all ages surrounded us. There were teenage girls (perhaps not yet born until after The Cars had disbanded) dancing their hearts out, completely satisfied with the menu of Cars hits they came to hear. As for me, I was immediately swept up by the rockin' music of The Cars, rolling with every beat. Experiencing the full platter of non-TR music was unexpectedly fresh and fun, a true surprise and a real revelation.

To begin with, the set was great, engaging enough to catch your eye and gravitate your focus from the band to the set. It truly does its job...sets the stage. It is one of those sets that is so well incorporated into the theme that it not only provides visual stimulation, but will undoubtedly accompany future auditory memories.

Kaz's solo was phenomenal; he was born to sing "Drive" and did so with alacrity. Black Maria was awesome; the performance was stellar and its placement in the set was sublime. When the band started playing "Bang on the Drum," I was glad that at least it was being performed with a fresh execution... and then Prairie kicked the song into high gear, breathing new life into it and driving it to new heights.

And last but certainly not least, I was elated to learn that Elliott E. is one hell of a guitarist, and Greg H. is a very talented and diverse musician. Surely legions of Cars fans have been well aware of this for decades. On Saturday, I saw the light.

As fate would have it, The Cars reunion was not meant to be. Fortunately, and gratefully to those who brought the band to fruition, The New Cars is alive and well.

All in all, it was an exquisite show. The Liars tour was as captivating as those from the days of yore, and the TR & Joe Jackson tour was new and different. The Road Rage tour is nearly an amalgam of the two, resulting in a riveting performance that is not to be missed.

Todd is on a roll. Thank goodness he has vision and perseverance, and moved forward with this tour. Perhaps these are attributes that have kept many of us faithful all these years. Todd has proved once again that he is indeed a wizard, a true star.

Other reviews for The New Cars
6/03/2006 - Ravinia Pavilion - Highland Park, IL

Other reviews for overall The New Cars

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