Todd 23APR, NYC, BB King's

Review by Andre' Cholmondeley (Switch to

SET: buffalo grass ISP black maria (oops what were those lyrics?)
soul brother
mammon (these next two preceded by a funny comment abt "offending religious sensibilities..")
fascist christ
i saw the light (like the SA version, beautiful..)
black & white
lunatic fringe (cover - by 'red rider')
#1 LCD
tiny demons (with jesse NAILING that weirdo feedback/spacy guitar solo thing!)
mystified/broke down (and he nailed the bridge in 'mystified'!!)
walls came down (cover - by 'the call')
one world

Well it's great to have TR back on the road, he's really been working the last cpl years, love it. When this lineup played in CANADA ONLY , it was heartbreaking to see.....NO usa dates!! So this was extra special to find out about. I'm a huge fan of Tony Levin's sound, energy and stage presence from all the King Crimson, Gabriel and solo tours - and together with Marotta, here was the classic Gabriel rhythm section. And Jesse...say no more. ..

But NYC was kinda early in this tour -- (show #2) and there was a little rust for sure . It's always cool (I think) to see a band early in the run, see them sweat and reach for some stuff, etc...but there were just a touch too much looseness and the odd bad chord to strain the ear. Yet -- the energy was there, Todd especially brought his game. The new rhythm section killed on the newer stuff, but didn't always 'dig in' for the older stuff. 2nd show blues, i think. Good to see Jerry Marotta adding his style, it felt like he was still getting comfortable with some of the stuff. But - he covers all the hammering rock stuff like "Mammon/Christ", yet could bring it down to finessed cymbal work for "tiny demons"..his backup vocal work was cool too..

It was a weird show - i TOTALLY loved the setlist and the fact that Todd didn't come out and 'rest on laurels', he really pulled out some great, off the beaten track stuff... i have only been seeing Todd live since 1994, but NEVER have i seen "Slut" and maybe only once "Drive" falling back on 'wouldn't have made any diff'.', 'cliche' or 'LOTCM', all of which i LOVE but have seen 100 times...

So - -I'm looking fwd to tonite here in NJ-- these guys tend to tighten up real fast, i love seeing a couple shows on a run for that exact reason. All in all - I had a great time at the show -- when you see Todd play a lot you know there are rough shows. Another great nod to the priceless 80s music with "the walls came down". I'm sorry - it was just A BETTER TIME for music, i think we can't hide behind "well every generation says that" - 'cso in the 80s there was respect and attention paid to the 50s-70s music...and it was woven in. A band like Stray Cats could make it..and a band like the Clash could also integrate rockabilly, punk, latin music, funk, disco...and we dug it all. Or Talking Heads etc. More hybridization, yet radio would play ALL of that and Judas Priest too. The whole "marketing genius" approach has KILLED new music. But -- that's another rant for another time.

Incidentally- Todd himself was at the top of his game -- looked great, fit and NOWHERE near 59-ish..his voice was KILLIN' -- he had all the high range stuff, no cracking, and the power to belt stuff out...only really forgot words once, heh heh, just having a great time, still unafraid to take a shot at the power-hungry religio-fascist nuts running our an artistic way...and he was tearing it up on Foamy, some great leads indeed. The new UTOPIA album cover guitar was very cool....all in all Todd guitar coulda been a LITTLE louder. I am still not sure about that modeling-amp , Line 6 thing he is using..sometimes it sounds great....sometimes it doesn't cut thru.But - some great bluesy shredding on 'mystified/broke' and 'maria'

On average - a flawed but Great show, great setlist, . Go see it!! Todd is in top gear and this band will only tighten up by the hour....

Gear nerd info:
Jesse -- a couple strats, including the paisley, a Fender amp, astt;d pedals, including BBE sonic maximizer, EHX flanger hoax, Snarling Dogs Mold Spore, some MXR
Todd - Line 6 modeling amp (presumably with FX built in. wasn't he playing Johnson modeling amps?? they seem to be way better - I think that what he had on the trio tour/dvd and it rocks.)
Tony - Ampeg head with 8x10 stack
Jerry -- unknown... yamaha???

The only other thing i'd comment on is -- WHERE"S YOUR MERCH !!?... there was just the LIARS CD..and a new (to me) LIARS t shirt (plus the old, black, sleeveless one). But -- I was all set to get the LIARS-DVD...!! No go. Maybe it's being shipped in mid tour, i hopE. i really think he misses a huge opportunity NOT having "the best of Todd Rundgren" on sale every night. I know -- that makes us hard-core cringe, but let;s face it, 40-60% of the people at every show are casual listeners...who remember a couple hits, maybe they have an "odd" album or two so they know it could be a maverick show.... but ALL of them would pick up a best of, maybe Todd needs to put one out on his own, a well priced 2 cd set that comes ALL THE WAY to the current stuff, but has the hits. It would kill at gigs. CD sales are down AGAIN this month from last year, as much as 32% !! But Todd has the LAST demographic that is buying CDs in america .....boomers and the 35-60 yr old set... I know it's not all about the money but as someone who manages tours, I hate to see that get ignored. PLUS -- even better, it seeds the market for future tours - some of this music is STILL very new and fresh, and I think younger fans would jump at getting a cool, all encompassing cd set, like that old RHINO best of. just updated. In 2007 you have to make this stuff available. People just aren't going to record/cd stores and poring over stuff like we did in the 80s, discovering, taking chances, following up on cool singles. Artists -especially ones with an incredible catalog like Todd -gotta use the tour more.

BUt -- this is just me spouting . I know TR could care less abt some of this stuff and I respect him for that. He seems happy and is playing a lot this year - that's the bottom line!!!! Catch a show!!

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
4/23/2007 - B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY

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