In spite of the bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving Beantown, we arrived at the venue about 20 minutes before doors, and decided to spend some time chowing down at the pizza joint a few doors up on York Street.
That was a Good Thing, because during our brief stint in the booth, several luminaries from the show made their way through the place, all smiles and friendly hellos. Kasim was especially gracious and charming, but then he always is. Whatever vitamins that guy is on, "I gotta get me some of those!"
The show started about 20 minutes late, but when it got going it was firing on all cylinders. I picked a spot in the back, dead center, not blocking anyone else's sight line (I'm a tall guy), right up against the FOH mix position, and had great sound for most of the night (more on this later).
I can't think of a better place in New England for a leg of a TouR to end than Toad's Place. There's something about this venue that makes me think that The House of Blues copied Toad's when they figured out how to decorate. . . the pantheon of musical artists that have performed here over the years is honored with their names and show posters emblazoned on the walls, and TODD RUNDGREN is prominently placed. Many are the Toad's Place memories that Todd fans retell, and among the other named artists, it feels, well, like a temple of sorts. But not really, 'cause that would be too much like a religion, and that wouldn't be fittin'. Just ain't fittin'!
I think Todd may feel a bit more comfortable here, as well, because the performance was a little looser than the New Orleans show or the Northampton show. However, While the music may have slipped a little in the precision department it gained in the "heft" and emotion departments, making this show a "keeper".
It's interesting that the set-list for this tour hasn't changed from night to night (other than the addition of "Trapped" in the later shows), so TR has been keeping the shows fresh with changes in his between-song banter. For instance, tonight he referred to the Red Rider song as 'A hitchhiker on the road, abandoned by it's band, that still has important things to say.' 'Picked up by another band 'til it's abandoned again.' 'I'll betcha I know where it'll end up. . . Rhino Records!'
Later, TR told us about a young girl in a pink parka he remembers who was looking at him in horror. . . and then he shouted to us, "There are no Fucking children in here are there?!?" When we answered, "NO!", he replied, 'I so hate that your children's first sex talk comes from me!' 'You know why. . . no follow up!'
I had to abandon my great spot for good sound just before Mystified/Broke Down & Busted, when some guy walked up to me and said, "How 'bout I spell you in this space for while?" At first I didn't understand, but it seems that he felt that it was OK to "cut in" on my space, like cutting in on the dance floor. I was so surprised, and, well, taken aback, that I gave up the space and moved over near the bar. It turned out to be a good move, as I was parched and really needed a cup of sparkly water with lime, and by the time I finished it, my space was free again, just in time for Kasim's amazing "Trapped" performance. MAN it's great to hear that song again. . . The last time I heard that live was in California, in the 'dry-run' show Utopia did back in '92 for the UTOPIA REDUX tour of Japan and the CD that followed. I can see him writing another verse or two to it, maybe one about a soldier drafted to go to Iraq, or maybe one about Katrina victims. . . there are SO MANY present-day situations crying out for lyrics to this song! But the situations that ARE described in the song are so universal that nothing really needs to be added. For those of you who aren't familiar with the lyrics, check them out here:
The last verse is a "call to action" that is more urgent today than ever.
And all-too-soon, Worldwide Epiphany brought the show, and this tour leg, to a close. Now we all go home for the holidaze, reflect on the brevity of life and the things that are _really_ important, and then meet up again in January to actually _DO_ more of the really important stuff. . . SUPPORTING OUR COMPOSERS, ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS of choice, to KEEP THE MUSIC WE LOVE COMING! And THESE GUYS are at the TOP of my list!
The trip back to "the Hub" was just as much fun as the trip to New Haven, listening to a boot of the Northampton show that we had recently received and talking about "the guys" and "the music" and "our memories".
I meant to ask Dan's "Brother John" if _HE_ has visions, but that'll have to wait for the next TRoadtrip !!