Naperville - Power of sound, vitamin of the soul

Review by Thomas A. Smith (Switch to

Having witnessed and reviewed the first Arena appearance ( Oshkosh ) back in June of 2008, it's fitting that I close the loop and comment on the last performance. A year made a world of difference. Heading out from Wisconsin I spotted the dark clouds to the south, and then driving through Chicago in the rain, I began to wonder what I had set myself up for; envisioning a festival attended by wet drunken beer sloshing dudes screaming "rock and roll" ( the reason I no longer attend Milwaukee's Summerfest ). What came in to being, was a charming, bucolic, hamlet offering up a family festival with courteous staff. Todd's devout following was generally made up of well mannered 50 something's and their influenced children and teens.

Once positioned close up in front of Kasim and the rain subsided I was really glad I had made the trip when the anticipation gave way to joy. As Todd and his musical family took the stage and launched in to 'Love in Action', the bass was on high volume and set so low that the ground seemed to rumble and shake and my vision, watching Todd, actually wobbled and seem to vibrate. Kind of like the old days, but sans the psychotropic enhancement. The stage had large monitors set down low to the ground and this managed to send the music straight into the solar plexus. They tuned in the bass correctly and never had a technical glitch for the rest of the show. Gone were the cover songs, and the first six older songs ( set list mentioned on a prior review ) were loved by all. Todd and band mates were in great spirits and you could tell they were savoring the moments and music. It was great watching them interact together: Jessie the consummate guitarist's guitarist, Prairie the backbone, Rachel the bass angel, and Kasim able to play and take pictures at the same time, adding powerful complimentary harmony ( M.I.A on the first part of the tour ). Todd exuded such a sincere non-pretentious presence, bringing his ideals, and interpretations on life and spirit, that for me borders on a religious experience. His guitar stayed in tune the entire evening. The sound that he emits with that guitar touches me in a way like no other. I have never seen him sing so loud, projecting, and clear as I did that evening. The Arena portion was flawless and well received by the crowd now that the music was familiarly ingrained. The showmanship and the banter amongst the band was infectious as they got all of us involved in the show. The encore with the added tidbit of 'Love of the Common Man' was magical and emotional for us. When I walked away, once the bows and goodbyes were made, I couldn't shake the sober high that I was bestowed with. Realizing that this man so in tune with the ways of the world, brings to us a powerful lesson in love and right action. His light actually shines to those who observe and listen and in turn benefits our time here on the planet. We are very lucky, privileged, and better people for having shared Todd's world. Without getting heavy, the performance was simply fun. Thanks for a memorable evening.

p.s. ... Akron with kiddies in tow. Irony or synchronicity - my hometown and the venue I first saw Todd, performing RA in '77.

Until then, Persistence of Vision.

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

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