Part II – September 7th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit and AWATS at Akron Civic Theatre.

Review by Jay Rubin (Switch to

After an extraordinary day on Sunday the 6th that ended about 3:00 AM, I woke up in my hotel room, safe, clothed, intact except for the sensory deprivation that resulted from the AWATS Premier and Pseudo Utopia Reunion witnessed the night before. My face hurt from smiling so much, but the hang over factor was far better that the morning before. I signed on to and immediately ordered Jay Bloomrosen’s photo book from the night before, did a little facebook action and went downstairs for some breakfast.

Plenty of folks downstairs at the buffet, still not enough waitresses, but no rush as long as there was coffee. I sat down with RR Doug and Bill Bicker, who has been a source of TR info and absolutely great artwork for so many years. It was a pleasure to meet him.. We started getting ready for the RRHOF trip. It was going to be a busy day in downtown Cleveland – all of us were going, there was a game at the stadium, a food festival and the air show. It was definitely recommended that people carpool – traffic was going to be a nightmare. I went up to my room, got my old TR Utopia Shirt circa Another Live (Bricker told me it was a UK version – regardless it was a reproduction because in the timeframe of the original I would have worn a Small instead of a XXXL) and came down to the lobby to see if I could give anyone a ride – I had room for 3 or 4.

Chuck Wiggins had his Odyssey with room for 1, so I hoped a ride with that Caravan. It consisted of Chuck, Mark Wooden, Ruth Ann Karch, Ann Kemp, and Ronnie Temple. Wonderfully diverse crowd of ToddStockers. So nice to talk to. Ann was a little under the weather, we made a CVS stop. Ronnie and Ruth bought candy for everyone, Mark encouraged us to eat more – it wasn’t until a little later did we realize Mark was a dentist and had alterior motives. Very Funny.

Took quite some time to get there, traffic was bad due to all the conflicting events in the same general area. Finally get to park. Walk in to the RRHOF and the ticket agents explain the line of what looked like 200 people against the wall were here for a meet in great with Todd Rundgren and that was free but the museum admission was 22.50. We bought tickets but moved over to the line. Todd wasn’t here yet, the line kept growing and you could tell that the facility staff was not expecting this crowd. They had a roped off section that could hold about 30, we were close to 10 times that. We showed up 500 strong (I think) and rumor is it was the biggest showing for a non-performance – breaking the record previously held by none other than KISS (Doug’s other favorite band ha). I stood online and spoke to a few people, and then realized I had nothing with me for him to sign and it wasn’t going to be too much fun to stand in this line to shake his and Kasim's hand so I decided to check out the event from the sidelines, take some photos, mingle with my friends, wave to the them a lot and see the museum.

Kasim showed up first with Carrie, Dave, and Alex. Alex was “thrilled” to be there…..not. It’s tough being a 9 year old road manager. Kasim seems extremely OK with the happening – big crowd waiting to see him – it was all good. He was in the lobby with the line taking pics, signing things, then went off to the “backstage” area. Finally, about 1 hour later than planned, he was joined by Todd, Roger, Michele, and Rebop. And they sat at a long table and people would come up and get whatever they had signed. TR music started getting played throughout the Museum. Todd was in extremely good spirits, wore a Wizard hat someone gave him, and looked like he was really enjoying this.

Roger not so much. Not sure what was wrong. (He did drive up to the museum in Pippi’s car – just sayin -----only kidding Pip) and he even left a little early. I just think the whole event may have been a little overwhelming..

The Museum itself was a little disappointing for me. I mean I spent 22.50 to see a pair of Keith Moon’s shoes.. I did enjoy seeing Jerry Garcia’s guitars, I called my wife when I found Mick Jagger’s pants, and then the Todd Rundgren/Utopia Exhibit was small but extremely powerful for us. Step in the right direction. I liked the God Said Lyrics on the memo pad, and the note from Laura Nyro. After the Meet and Great ended, Todd, Rebop, Kasim and Michele went down there to check it out and I stumbled upon it while it was happening, and you could tell they were all proud and the weekend was affecting them the same way it was affecting us.

So at about 3:30 we start back to Chuck Wiggin’s van. Sky is pretty dark. One minute into the walk back, the sky opens up and rain drops the size of buckets begin to fall on us. By the time we got to the van it literally looked like we all jumped in a pool with out clothes on. Ronnie taught us all what they mean by Pants on the other side of the pond, and though it was a wet and cold ride back to the hotel, the company was great. I would have to wear shorts and flip flops to dinner and the show because my pants and everything else would still be wet when I got home 24 hours later.

Grabbed a quick bite in the hotel, road the elevator down with Prairie and a friend of his, he hit the bar, I sat with Chuck, his wife Debbie, and a few others. Then off to see the wizard. Part Duex.

Got to my seat, this time K1 so 11th row. Not too shabby but not the same as the night before. Folks around me were not familiar – and I quickly found out that they were mostly folks that were all within driving distance and hadn’t been there the night before. They started asking me questions and I refused to answer anything except told them to be ready for a great show. I walked down a few rows to the front and saw all my peeps – plus the extra added guest “Pippi’s Mom”. How cool was that? What a nice lady too.

Lights go down, this time stay down during the Road to Utopia intro and don’t come up until Todd is already singing. The set was just a fun but not as overwhelming since it was no longer a surprise. Roger seemed way more comfortable, no need to duct tape his head and Caravan was put together far better. Crowd, which was not as large as the night before, still loved the set.

AWATS set started out and Todd did have more technical difficulties than the first night, head mic didn’t work on Never Never land and he had to switch to handheld. But the crowd was still very much into it. Since I was over the shock – I could really appreciate the set this time. Kasim really seemed to like singing “does anybody love you” Bobby again stole the show with the Zen Archer Solo and Cool Jerk. I don’t want to tie you down, really the highlight I think. When the show ended, made my way back up to where the people I knew were sitting and we all danced away to Gloria Gaynor – pretty odd way to end. Went back to the hotel bar, hung out with the usual suspects – Really enjoyed getting Mama Pips view on the whole thing, she loved it and us. As it crept past midnight, I realized I’m 46 years old and needed to get some rest before heading home in the AM so I went upstairs and crashed. 3 nights of 3-4 AM was taking it’s toll on me. Probably missed a lot more fun and band interaction, but I needed to prep for re-entry.

Now it’s thank you time. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rundgren for you did not disappoint. 32+ years of listening, buying records, going to shows, buying records that you produced, trying to explain to everyone who you are and what your talents were, all paid off on Labor Day weekend. Thank you Kasim, Jessie, Prairie – you guys have been terrific the past couple of years as we all stalk and hang out with you. You guys really nailed this thing and Kasim’s pajama show was just so nice. Thank you Mr. Hawkes and Mr. Strickland – great addition to the band – great to see you. Thank you Mr. Powell for not only being brave enough to come back, but for doing so in such a “man cock way” you rocked and still got it. It was great to see.

OK – Thanks to all my friends who took care of me while I was solo, you’ve all been mentioned throughout the last two reviews – special thanks to Mike Bender for calling me the next day just to say how great it was to hang out and a Cya soon. FINALLY – DOUG AND MEL-HOW ARE YOU EVER GOING TO TOP THIS. Let me know how I can help. Words can’t express the gratitude.

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9/07/2009 - Akron Civic Theater - Akron, OH

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