TR's concert in Paris - an evening full of good surprises!

Review by Helios Marzal (Switch to

Initially, a month ago, I wasn't really willing to go to this TR's show : it takes four hours from where I live to get to Paris and the next day at 8H30 I had to be at work. So having to drive back in the middle of the night and finally go to sleep at 3AM...Well, you can do that sort of things when you're young. But young, I'm not anymore. Or not enough, at any rate.

So here I am, thinking I wouldn't go.

But then I read on the tour section of the forums that Kleingeld, an american member was going to fly from Philadelphia to Paris just for the show... Made me think that my reasons for being reluctant were bullshit and decided I would go. So thanks to Kleingeld who made me change my mind and make the "effort".

I bought my ticket and contacted with all my fellow french TR fans ( Etsuko, Emilie, Florence, Thierry, jean-Luc, Dominique and Patrick ) who already had theirs to tell them I finally would be joining them for the pre concert meet up at 18H at the "Cafe de la Musique", in the "Parc de la Villette", the place where is located the venue called "Le Trabendo".

You have to know that "Le parc de la Villette" is a very extended park with many buildings and that "le Trabendo" is a small, completely hidden and hard to find place : it's surrounded by trees so you literally have to seek it. You'll soon understand why I had to explain that before hand.

I arrived at the cafe de la Villette maybe 45 minutes before our meeting hour so I decided to hang around to try and find the venue. I finally got there and had the pleasure to see Jean-Luc and Thierry who were already waiting at the venue door. They wanted to be there when the musicians would come for the balance. We talked about the last time we had been together and our memories of meeting TR backstage thanks to Etsuko. We also were wondering what would be the audience figures tonight cause we knew they had been disappointing to say the least in the nordical countries and germany. On a side note, the fact is I really wasn't optimistic. Well, I'm glad to say I was wrong since, although it wasn't a complete sold out, more than 410 french TR fans ( and for sure kleingeld lost in the middle of us all ) made the place seem packed. Very pleasant surprise.

But back to what I was saying. At 17H 45, I said to Jean-luc and thierry that maybe we should go back to the meeting place in order to see whether the others had arrived. Thierry convinced us to stay a little more and at 17H50 we saw a car and recognized through the glasses Kasim, Prairie, Rachel and Jesse. We were happy and disappointed at the same time : No Todd. Jean-Luc took pictures. He sure will post them. Kasim very gracious as always.

Now we had to go back and meet the other guys. But Thierry still wanted to stay, whishing he would see Todd.

So JL and myself got back to the cafe de la Musique and started to wait there. Not even 5 minutes had past when JL told me "Hey look !". I turned round : there was Todd ! He was with another guy, both were walking quite fast as if they were in a hurry. I screamed "Hey Todd !" He turned round and watched us as we were reaching them. We said hello and I asked him if we could take a picture. But the other guy, an english one I guess, from his accent, but maybe I'm wrong, told us they didn't have time to waste.

Then he asked us "does any of you speak english ?". I said "yes, a little bit". He asked "Do you know where is the Trabendo ?". Me : "Of course I know. You just follow me, I'll show you." So here we are JL and I, heading to the Trabendo with TR and the english guy. JL asked me to tell TR that he had been waiting 30 years for such a moment... As for me, I wish I was a little less "cold blooded" : I was just happy when I should have been thrilled with what was happening. Todd thanked us but I replied it was a priviledge !

As we were arriving, I shouted without even seeing him :"Thierry ! Take a look at whom is with us !". The english guy told me they would have liked to keep low profile. But I didn't care and shouted again "Thierry!". But he wasn't there. Too bad. The situation was funny : he had wanted to stay there to see Todd and it was we who were "bringing him on a plate" to Thierry. A few other fans shook Todd's hand and JL took pictures. Then OH got into the Trabendo and we got back to the cafe de la musique. Got a meet up there, remember ?

There we finally got to meet Florence, a soon to be fan, shall we say, since she only knew TR through his work with Meat Loaf. I had contacted her through TR's Myspace where she had written a few messages saying she would go to the Trabendo. Then came Etsuko and we got into the cafe to have a drink. Then came Emilie, Patrick and Dominique. We told them what had just happened with TR. Then came Thierry. "So, where were you ?" I asked. "I got into the venue and watched Todd doing the balance" he replied ! And he showed us the 5 minutes footage of it he had taken with his camera before a guy had come to tell him to get out !

A little time after that, while we were having a drink, Prairie and Rachel came into the cafe and sat at the table next to ours and had a diner...Another round of pictures for Thierry an Jean-Luc.

Finally came the time to go to the show. But Dominique's friends hadn't come yet so he had to stay in front of the cafe, waiting for them while the others were heading to the Trabendo. I decided to stay with him but as we weren't seeing them after a good ten minutes, we decided to go.

On our way to the venue, I hear a voice asking to somebody :"Please, do you have any idea where is the Trabendo ?" so I think to myself, I'm gonna help the good man. So I tell Dominique to wait a second. The guy who's looking for the venue is a very dignified man in a grey suit and tie. He also wears a grey hat. Very smart. Mmmh, not really the kind of guy you're used to meet at a rock show. I ask him "are you going to the Todd Rundgren concert. He looks at me and says "yes". That's when I recognized him. "Hey, you're the guy who used to have green hair, aren't you ?". He smiles and looks a little surprised :"Yes, I am". Some of you may have already guessed who he was. Yes, Jean-Yves Labat. Mister Frog. I'm pretty sure I was the only people out there who could have recognized him, no question. "But how come you know me ?" he says. So I explained him how Wendy, a fan of his and american member of the TR connection had got me to translate a 50 minutes footage interview of him that happened to be essentially a spoken autobiography. So for a few hours I had been watching and listening to him. I introduced him to Dominique and we had a little talk while heading to the venue. He told us he had met TR that very afternoon for the first time in the last 25 years. That they had stayed for a moment looking at each other, that it had been a moving moment. I introduced him to Patrick who happened to be at the trabendo's door when we got into the building. I would have liked to introduce him to my other friends but the venue was already packed and he told me he had to go see Todd backstage, and also Mary Lou Arnold, Kasim and Prairie.

Well, I really could tell a few other interesting things but I'm tired and wanna go to bed. What ? The concert? Oh the show was excellent, really great, Todd was in good mood and I think I know some of the reasons why he was.

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11/20/2008 - Paris, France - Trabendo

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