Ribfest - Naperville -July 4th

Review by Suzie Richardson (Switch to

July 4th turned into a rainy day. At about 4:00 I decided to push my luck and take the drive to Ribfest not knowing if we’d be rained out or not. Because this was the last leg of Arena, I really wanted to go, and the outdoor ‘fest’ would allow me to take my kids to see a show. I could only convince my 11 year old daughter to go in the rain. On the 1 and ½ hour drive there, we listened to ‘Arena’. Her favorite songs are ‘Mountaintop’ and ‘Strike’ but she says once she hears ‘Today’ and ‘Courage’ she can’t get the songs out of her head. I tried to get her into AWATS, and the ‘Todd’ albums, but she thinks some songs like ‘Zen Archer’, ‘Onionhead’, and ‘The Spark of Life’ are just “too weird’.

We made it, found a place to park, and it was still drizzling as we walked to the park. We located a red umbrella, and a ‘Tinkerbelle’ umbrella . The show was to begin at 5:30 but did not start until after 6:00, as the rain stopped. Todd thanked us for staying, and said they were late due to rain. I think there would have been more people if the weather was better, but it seemed there were a lot of fans to see Todd.

I briefed my daughter that the band would play some older songs, then the full ‘Arena’ album. She asked if that meant that Todd was going to “go into the weirdness”, but I said no. I took her attention span into account, and after the first few songs, we left the stage area to get some food and agreed to return when they kicked off Arena. We got some Ribs (what else?) and could still hear the music.

The band was tight, and I thought Todd’s voice was good. My last show was Oct, 2008, and that was early in the tour. Since that show, the band seems to really be ‘on’. I think Rachel really seems 100 percent more comfortable and she and Kasim were goofing it up a lot on stage (wink wink). Arena is great LIVE. Afraid, and Manup are especially great live songs. Jesse, Prairie, Kasim, Rachel and Todd are as tight as it gets. I was glad they did not have to shorten the set list.

They had this crazy ‘in-your-face’ camera guy on stage shooting video that displayed on the large screen. Every now and then he would pan the crowd. At the beginning he would shoot videos of the audience and impose hats and stuff on their heads. So it was cool to also take in the large screen shots. Especially when the camera did a close up of the hands for the guitar solos. Prairie is quite the showman!

Todd was ‘chatty’ to my enjoyment. He acknowledged it was the last leg of the Arena tour, but made no mention of the upcoming Ohio/AWATS show. He made some comments about Sara Palin quitting and getting a network job. He quipped about her not being as popular as Michael Jackson because she couldn’t moon walk (or something like that). He made some jokes about getting some ribs, and getting some loving, and getting some rib MEAT. He talked about nothing better than ribs and the blues, and pretended he was crying because the blues makes him so sad. He said they had a special song for us because it was the last leg of the tour, then was kidding with someone up in front of the stage to ‘not get all freaked out about it” or something like that. It was a great time!

As poor as timing could possibly be, my daughter had to go to the bathroom at the beginning of the encore! Yes, the encore! So, we rushed out and got back in time to catch the songs. Listening to ‘Just One Victory’, she gave me an individual hug, like the big group hug I feel when I hear that song with the Todd fans.

During the final applause, I raised the ‘Tinkerbelle’ umbrella high into the air. My daughter thought that Todd smiled at it, but who really knows. She let me know that I TOTALLY EMBARRASSED her by doing so! But, all in all it was a great show. She really was intrigued with Rachel and wanted to know if her mom and family tours with her, but I assured her she is old enough to go by herself. So on the way home, we listened to ‘Arena’ on ‘Random’ (which I hate btw). On our drive home, we got to see all the fireworks explode as we drove past all the different cities. A very good night! See you in September!

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
7/04/2009 - Ribfest - Naperville, IL

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