June 26th 2008 - Oshkosh, WI

Review by Thomas A. Smith (Switch to

Oshkosh? Huh? Well perhaps it was chosen as a starting point because Todd's son plays for a Wisconsin minor league baseball team. Or perhaps it was just an obscure enough location to be "under the radar", and a good place to sort out the kinks. Of which there were quite a few. I don't mind, this is typically the fashion I recall most of his shows from the past 30 years....something always goes awry. This is part of the beauty, flaws and all. I was spoiled the last few times with the "Freeze Your Ass Off" tour where not a single technical glitch was witnessed. Not to mention the money thrown at the stage set for the Cars tour where the sound was impeccable. But the venue here was real casual: an out door amphitheater of sorts with nice grounds, nice staff and, well mannered attendees, right off the river, and there couldn't have been more than 1500 people in attendance (my guess), and ten times as many flying insects...especially on stage. Anyway back to the show....Todd was a bit late hitting the stage around 9:15 PM ...should have been 9:00 PM. The band looked in good spirits, Todd appeared as lithe as ever; Prairie all smiles; Jessie fine tuned his instrument and laid out his cheat notes early before the show; Rachel...a nice addition, intriguing and easy on the eyes; and Matt who stayed mostly in the background. Todd of course fiddled with his guitar checked the sound and realized something was missing or "dropped" from the sound, decided to make a go of it...launched into "Love in Action" then promptly stopped the song, more fiddling with the sound, and restarted. Todd then breaks a string...changes out the guitar, Prairie missed the stopped section on the "Can't stop" part. It just went on like this for the first few songs. Three broken strings and three guitars during the first two songs. A footnote here: the beloved P-Project guitar "Foamy" is sporting a wicked gouge. Todd seemed to be ahead or behind the music on "Open My Eyes" played with a furious pace, could have sworn the lyrics were not quite correct. We were up front dead center leaning on the stage, my 11 year old daughter and I, and we had to do a bit of lip reading as the sound on the vocals was projected from the suspended speakers on the sides of the stage. After the obligatory covers to warm up, the band launched into the new album "Arena". I liked most of the songs....couldn't help but notice that many were culled from and sounded a bit similar in sound and structure to some of his more recent songs. Todd's voice seemed in great shape and a few of his big cat roaring screams reached impressive sustaining pitch. Todd had to stop midstream again during "Courage"....but this was due to an insect that flew down his throat while singing, once he regrouped, spewed out the intruder, he commenced back into the fold. A few songs are ferocious ( "Mercenary", "Strike", and "Manup" ) and some were hauntingly ethereal ( "Weakness", "Today", and "Bardo" ). Unfortunately, with the technical tweaks, the start and stop on a couple of songs, and the late stage walk on, Todd and group had run out of time. Close to 11:00 PM a roadie walked on stage and informed him that his time was drawing to a close. In order to abide by the venue's rules, Todd had to cut short the show and passed on playing "Mountaintop" and "Panic" finishing up with "Manup" as the final song. And really unfortunate, his planned encore of "Just One Victory" was eliminated altogether. Personally, I have never dismissed a show - good or bad, and I lost count somewhere after 60 concerts. This one for me: a one and half hour road trip one way, eight dollars entry to "Waterfest", being front row with my daughter, Todd still being able to gracefully pull off a spinning scissor kick, having Todd's guitar a foot away from our heads as he bent strings with searing velocity on Foamy, the look on my daughter's face: Priceless!

Courtesy of Todd's set list:



I started to add comments to the above songs but pulled them back. Everyone needs to cultivate there own interpretations to the messages and music.

Hi...to my fanatic compadres in Cleveland.

Be patient and enjoy the show.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
6/26/2008 - Leach Amphitheater @ Riverside Park - Oshkosh, WI

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