Belly Up

Review by Steve Skinner (Switch to

A SUPERB performance from OH and his band at the Belly Up. The venue is what I like to call "Top of the food chain." Michael Goldberg, who transformed the place from a crusty club into a sparkling, high-tech, super comfy place, has done wonders. The place doesn't seem much bigger than the living rooms in these local mansions but Goldberg manages to bring in everyone from Jonny Lang to BB King to Green Day ... to Todd. The sound and lights are state of the art and all the beautiful people are there. There's plenty of cushy seating above the dance floor but I certainly didn't go to sit on my butt.

There was really no competition for getting right up against the stage. Photographer Lynn Goldsmith (look her up) was shooting with her big lens right in front of me. The good news for my fellow Todd friends is that I managed to get a photo pass (Thanks Mary Lou and David) for my friend Dave Shinn, who is one of the best photographers I have ever met. I think he shot about 900 photos last night and some are world class. Check the photos for a couple now and I'll figure out a way to post more soon.

I was up front with my posse and TR instantly acknowledged the Toddstockers in front. I was expecting the band to be totally worked after the two previous shows but they got a second wind and had a very good time. The stage is small compared to many of the recent venues and that pushed the band together and they were bouncing off each other like a pinball game. Todd nearly toppled over his guitar amp which he quickly discovered was pretty much right behind him. This was not a stage stunt (like I believe the other tumbles were.) Also - Foamy has a deep scratch on the front that I never noticed before. The guitar strap connector on Foamy was acting up and at one point TR was cradling it like a baby and playing it without the strap. During "Couldn't I just Tell You" TR broke a string on "Limey" the light green Stratocaster and he threw the axe to the floor. When a replacement guitar came out from backstage Todd waved it off, gave a swift contemptuous kick to the Strat on the floor and finished the song, kicks and all, with just his voice. I think Todd needs at least two Foamies.

Matt and Rachel had a very good time. Rachel showed up at the venue like a true Hawaiian: She had a winter coat and hat. The locals were all running around in T-Shirts but the thin mountain air can feel cold to a girl in the tropics. Rachel was fooling about on stage and popping about with TR much more than before. Now that the kids have been on the road and seen and felt the thunder and appreciation they are starting to get it and enjoy it. It's the School of Rock and last night they earned an A.

Prairie was enjoying himself and talked with me for a bit. He has designed a new T-Shirt for the tour that people are going to love. As always, his playing was powerful and effortless. I know he's working hard but he makes it look very easy and fun. A nice guy.

I really hope someone recorded the show because the sound off the board was delicious. They pump a feed into the bathrooms and I almost wanted to hang out in there because you could hear every single word!

Arena was delivered with minimum banter, just one ripper after another. Mountaintop is a sticky song. Weakness is a blues piece with a bridge that drops it into ballad territory ala "Only Human." Love it. Gun, Mercenary, Mad all stood out and the crowd was quickly used to the idea that they were going to hear new stuff. Great! My friends really enjoyed the show, especially Rachel, and there were lots of thumbs up going down on the dance floor.

We hung out to say thanks after the show. John Oates (Hall and Oates) walked up to me and said, "I didn't know you were such a big Todd fan." I've talked to John about TR before and he said, "He's a really gifted guitarist." So I guess John is somewhat of a TR fan, too. I'm sure he picked up a few pointers at the show last night.

Other reviews for Belly Up
Other reviews for overall Todd Rundgren

The Todd Rundgren Connection is brought to you by Roger D. Linder & The Linder Logo Rocemabra Web Services.