GAMH 7/6/08

Review by Roger Linder (Switch to

I have a love/hate relationship with SF shows. Many's the time I've purposely not gone to a TR show in San Francisco because of what I'll call the San Francisco Experience (unrelated to the Pier 39 feature.)

But first, let's get into the show itself.

The opening act was the Roger Steen Band, who ran through a 45 minute set starting at 8 PM and rocked the crowd. Roger is guitarist for the Tubes, who I had coincidentally seen the night before. Good stuff.

TR and band took the stage to a SRO full house, standing being the only option, and despite his statement that he's only had three hours of sleep in the past 24 hours, was in a good mood. The crowd was excited to hear the opening six tunes, and enjoyed the two covers (The Walls Came Down and Lunatic Fringe) as well as TR staples "Love in Action" (with Can't Stop break), "Black Maria," "Open My Eyes" and "I Saw The Light" (a palate-cleansing tune).

TR fell backwards over an amp during Black Maria, but kept going without missing a beat. He mentioned Toddstock and noted a few Toddstockers in the audience.

The new material was well-received by the crowd, and the band was much improved over the "dress rehearsal" at Toddstock. Having heard the songs for the second time, it was nice to be able to start to recognize them. I really need to hear the studio versions. Can't be soon enough. After "Mad" he listed off the song titles, with some help from the crowd. He also repeated the title when doing "Mercenary" because he said that was the only song that didn't have the title in the lyrics. We were given "double your money back" and "triple your money back" songs, although he did advise the club to lock the doors so no one would take him up on the offer.

I'm liking "Pissin", "Bardo" and "Mountaintop."

A short break before the encores of "Couldn't I Just Tell You" and "Just One Victory," much appreciated by the crowd.

Overall, the crowd really like all the new stuff.

Prairie was really working the crowd. Helps to be an SF guy. Rachel was subdued, although she occasionally would break out in to a big smile at the crowd. Jesse held up his guitar wizard end and Matt was a great presence on stage as well.

Todd went shirtless during JOV.

Now, why I'm not keen on SF shows. OK to stop if you don't like whining.

Traffic : Usually, a weeknight show meand bad traffic getting into the City. This time, it was the opposite. Two hours + from Sacramento to Fairfield on I-80. Normally a 1 hour trip. Likely due to July 4th weekend homecomings. Surprisingly, once we approached SF, the traffic was lighter and getting into town was a breeze. My plans to arrive about 6 PM were smashed and we were lucky to get there at 7:15. The doors had not yet opened, but the line to get in for general admission was a block long.

Sleaze: The GAMH is in the middle of what appears to be an adult entertainment district. Thankfully, we didn't have to spend that much time outside.

Crowd: the GAMH is revered, but I'm not that keen on it. It certainly is a beautiful place inside, but sardine central to see a show. The stage is low, fantastic (I suppose) for folks standing in the first couple of rows, but sucks a bit to be an average height man (or more so for those even shorter) 7 rows back. My wife was uncomfortable with the packed crowd and moved back even further, so I didn't even get to spend time with her at the show. I enjoy seeing shows, but really prefer to sit while enjoying them. A full house certainly had to please Todd and the club.

Security: Actually, they were pretty cool. But one stopped be from taking pictures after Black Maria. He tapped me and said "If you put it away now, I'll forget I saw it." He then hung around a bit to be sure I did (which I did). Before going away he asked if he could trust me. I ensured him he could and that I was OK with it. I didn't take any more pictures. I suspect the issue wasn't taking pictures, but perhaps he thought I was shooting video, because I was using my video camera to take still shots.

Aftershow: OK, this wasn't bad, so it helped to take off the edge for some of the above. Once the crowd cleared, I was finally able to hook up with friends, both Toddstockers and non-Toddstockers, for a bit of conversation. Frankly, it's one of the only reasons I endure the above. Todd and band did not come out for a meet and greet, although folks that had an aftershow pass did get to go in. I did not have such a pass. But before they went in, I got to chat with Larry Tagg and Bobby Strickland.

The drive home at midnight was a breeze.

Beforeshow and duringshow: OK, it was not all negative. A number of folks recognized the Toddstock red shirt I was wearing and asked me about the event. A few folks even recognized me from my picture on the web site (that's actually a first.) One told me he was going to send me a donation.

Will I go to SF shows in the future? Yeah, when there's no other alternative. But I'd much rather go to North Bay or South Bay venues, and would really like to see TR in Sacramento again someday.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
7/06/2008 - Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA

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