Roxy Theatre Atlanta, GA 5/3/2007

Review by Steve Kilbride (Switch to

On the Rundgren fan-o-meter (10 being "Todd is God"; 1 being "Todd who?") I guess I'm a 7.5. I was a huge fan in the 70s but lost touch with his recorded work after Hermit of Mink Hollow. Other than a cassette copy of No World Order, everything I have by him is on vinyl. While brilliant, I've never thought Todd quite reached the "even when he sucks he's fascinating" level of, say, Lou Reed or Neil Young. Still, it's always a treat to reconnect with the man in concert and he did not disapoint. This tour is similar to the one he did circa 1995 with Prarie Prince on drums and (I believe) Jerry Gress, of the current tour, on guitar - straight ahead rock attack, dueling guitars, no keyboards, few ballads. That tour benefitted from the mid-set inclusion of "Lucky Guy" from HoMH - a beautiful rendition with Todd accompanied only by the other guitarist. The rock crunch of the current tour would have been complemented by a similar moment of sweet simplicity. Enough whining though -Todd looked great - with his shaggy hair bleached white on top,oversized T-shirt and leg kicks, he looked like a kid rocking out in his parent's basement. He could have been channeling Mike Myers doing Waynes World! Voice has lost the nasal quality and gained maturity and range - never sounded better! He looked like he was having the time of his life - chatty, cracking jokes - still has the acerbic wit without the aloofness. He dropped the bomb that this would be bassist Tony Levin's last show with the band and "please don't gloat about being here to the other fans" (I won't!).

Where to start - the ubiquitous but always welcome chestnuts ("I saw the Light", "Black Maria) forgotten gems from the deep vault ("Lowest Common Denominator" - {makes me want to play the Todd album, first one I ever bought by him, in its entirety} "Broke Down and Busted" "Slut") cover versions of 80s one-hit-wonders ("Lunatic Fringe" by Red Ryder and "The Walls Came Down" by the Call). Also, "Tiny Demons" "Fascist Christ" , a stunning, gospel-tinged "Living Creatures" and an encore of "Worldwide Epiphany" where they played Levin off.

Not only the range, but the mastery of each form, of this band is astounding. They switched on a dime from blues to country to gospel to prog-rock.

I took my musician wife who is a 1.5 on the fan-o-meter (she knows him vaguely as the guy who did "Hello its Me" - I assured her she would not hearing that one). She was enthralled. After "I hate my ISP" she remarked: "I didn't know he did punk!"

He can do it all - rock on Runt!

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5/03/2007 - Roxy Theater - Atlanta, GA

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