We arrive at the Park West and I find 2 seats in front of Rachel. Yup – right in front of what seems like the largest speaker in the world. My husband asks “are you sure you want to sit here?” I remind him these are almost the exact seats we had in January, and he says “I know”. He finds us seats farther away from the Mondo speaker – but I am not budging. The waitress beams me my Captain & Cokes and I am more than anxious. It seems like f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Todd to take the stage. No opening act to politely listen to.
'Love in Action’ is good, and the first few songs Prairie seemed to be distracted at something over to the left of him, but from my table I could not see what was going on. Todd seemed to be in on what the deal was, but seemed to be taking it all in stride. During “Walls Come Down” I admit I felt anxious to move on to’ Arena’ tunes. My mind is thinking about Kasim, and how odd it seems to have him in back instead of up front where Rachel is (no disrespect – just saying’). People are enjoying ‘Open My Eyes’ and bopping along. It is potty break time for me during ‘Lunatic Fringe’. Todd mentions kicking some covers to the curb or bus or out of the car or something. ‘I Saw the Light’ also gets people singing along, but because I read the playlist - I sat ready and hoping to have our faces blown off.
Arena – Mad. Mad. MAD. Everyone seemed to rev up. The band, the audience maybe next the WORLD. What a great song! The lights in the place seemed to pulse along. Afraid - and one of the greatest guitar solos by OH. His vocals were right on that night. I am thinking how wonderful it is to hear Kasim and Todd singing especially during ‘Afraid’ and ‘Weakness’, and ‘Courage’. The guitar solos bleed into my soul at times, and bulldozes through ‘Mercenary’, ‘Gun’, and ‘Strike’. No more bopping, but more head banging and fist pumping. ‘Gun’ sounds so much fuller live. ‘Courage’ vocals are perfect. I think this Is my favorite song so far. This is classic and timeless Todd - vocals, lyrics, and melodic guitar riffs. ‘Weakness’ and ‘Bardo’ sound bluesy to me. As Arena evolves the night goes by so quickly.
Random things - Todd says he forgot to give us our instructions to punch up in ‘Strike’, but gave us another chance to get involved with ‘Mountaintop’ and how this is the next big sports anthem. I was surprised to not have heard more political speak – but maybe no time for that – a lot of music to play. There seemed to be a bit of a snafu with the playback intro for ‘Today’ (which reminds me so much of Utopia) but it worked itself out, and that song seemed to be a big crowd favorite.
At one point, Todd says something about ‘Old Farts”. (He may have actually called us ones), but he gave us a chance to get rid of our “Old Fart-ness”. As I sat at the Park West, on Monday (yes a school night), I smiled at my husband thinking ‘Today’s the Day.’ I hope I’m still rocking at 60. No one is going to call Todd Rundgren an Old Fart! His music is vital and alive. Guitar wizard, and musical craftsman. Todd IS Godd.
Arena and this show was GREAT. To hear it Live even better. Go See it! Bring a friend. I can only hope ARENA comes back to Chicago. I am glad that Chicago loves Todd - Monday or in freezing weather, or in snow. I will be there.