The Strathmore, Bethesda, MD, 9/10/09

Review by Kleingeld (Switch to

I'm just starting to come out the stunned state I've been in since Thursday night, and here's the first thing I can think of to describe the AWATS show: WOW.

Brian Leonard hit the nail on the head when he said that the reason the reviews are so short is because everyone has had their minds blown. Listen, people, this is an incredible Todd Rundgren show. It will go on your short list of the greatest TR shows you've ever seen. I promise. I've easily seen Todd over 50 times and, with the possible exception of the Oops tour, this might have been the best show I've ever seen.

I'll never listen to AWATS the same way again. You know, when you sit back and listen to AWATS it's a fairly disjointed album that covers an incredible amount of musical ground. Seeing it all performed together as one long continuous suite make all of the musical twists and turns make sense. Todd and the band transform the album into an opera complete with costumes, stage choreography, and acting. Todd also added clarity to the meaning of the songs through his demeanor during each. Todd sometimes just sings, sometimes he also plays guitar. Kasim takes a lead vocal, as does Bobby Strickland. Todd, who has added rainbow-colored streaks to his hair to complete the AWATS effect, was in excellent voice, and he and the band faithful recreated -- even enhanced -- the album.

As others have said, the Utopia set was a bit rough, but a total blast. I felt a bit bad for Prairie as he gamely made his way through the material, that he obviously hasn't had much time to learn. Just seeing Roger Powell walk out on stage and put his hands to a Prophet 5 made it worthwhile, though. Todd and Kasim were right on. The song selection was great, and I hope this is just a taste of a dedicated Utopia tour we'll see in the future.

The trip from Philly to Bethesda took about 2 1/2 hours each way and I would so happily do that drive again. After seeing this show I will never think of AWATS as anything but a psychedelic opera. That this incredible album came from the mind of a 24-year-old-kid and can be so brilliantly reinterpreted by a 61-year-old-man is just mind blowing. I will be making the trip to London and Amsterdam to see this again.

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9/10/2009 - The Strathmore - Bethesda, MD

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