Portland show review

Review by Andy Brown (Switch to

Tuesday's Portland show got started late. Todd was clearly miffed about several issues. I've never seen him lose his cool, but he did tonight. His oratory between the first few songs seemed to indicate his dissatisfaction with the promotion of the show (venue looked pretty full, about the same as his other two shows at this particular venue here in Portland). The underlying issue seemed to be some kind of problem with the stage monitor mix and in particular the person responsible for that. Apparently it had been a tough afternoon at sound check, but I'm going on what I could gleen above the din of the crowd as Todd spoke quite unprofessionally. That was upsetting and disappointing.

As a result, Todd's performance suffered for at least the first half of the show, possibly the whole show. Fortunately, the band carried many of the songs putting in a stellar performance even with Todd acting like a little kid for a while. Prairie Prince gave the best work I've ever seen him do my first Tubes show way back when. Rachel was precise and in rhythm, but stuck pretty much to her basic parts. Jesse Gress tore it up. Ever since I saw Jesse with Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta and Larry Fast at a club downtown, I've never failed to totally enjoy whatever music he's playing. He clearly was the reason tonight's show was halfway decent. I never heard much from Matt except an occasional chord.

Halfway decent. That's about the best I can rate it. The first Liars show was immensely better. The show in the late 80's at then Starry Night is still the high bar for Todd shows I've seen in Portland since I moved here in 76. The few times I saw Todd in the early 70's in Allentown/Philly were too long ago to remember qualitatively. The band did their part tonight. Todd didn't. Period.

Todd continued to break strings, although only three (I think). The new material has a few songs that clearly are modeled after songs on Liars. Too much screaming from a guy who can sing when he wants to, and some of the more lyrically astute songs forced Todd to get to work, which he did. Overall, the new material has a few new interesting sounds, which is usually what I expect from a new Todd CD. Todd's playing was not his usual fluent style. He is playing angry these days and I, for one, think that is why he is breaking strings at all these shows. His soft touch on guitar was barely visible all performance. I don't know, but I think Todd might have some off stage issues that are creeping in to this tour. I've read twenty reviews previously posted, and that's the only thing that makes sense.

Hey Todd, if you're reading this, you're 60. Act it. Rise above others faults. You've been to this venue twice before. Fix problems, don't whine. You're lucky to have these other great musicians to play with. My woman was about to bolt after a few of your unsavory comments. Doubt I'll ever get her to go to another show. Way to go.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
7/08/2008 - Aladdin Theater - Portland, OR

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