I must admit that I don't know a whole lot about Robert Johnson's music. I know he influenced basically every guitar player I admire, but I don't know most of this songs specifically. So for me, this show was somewhat like seeing the Arena tour for the first time because I sat in a theater and had the extreme pleasure of having Todd Rundgren unfold his upcoming album for me live. That, to me, is the ultimate way to hear a new album.
The set is basically 2 Johnson songs, 2 Todd songs, 2 Johnson songs, etc. for over two hours. Todd seemed to be having a blast. He rocked and smiled and goofed around on stage for 2+ hours. I believe his guitar playing is as good as it has ever been. Honestly, as good as it has ever been. He positively shredded his guitar throughout the performance.
The best part was how deep he dug into his own catalog. He didn't just pepper the set with his usual fair. He played "Bleeding" from Ballad. He played "Boogies" off Faithful. He played "Kitty Boy" off Nazz Nazz. He played "I Went to the Mirror" off S/A!!! He played the best version of "Number One Lowest Common Denominator" I have ever heard. It was an unforgettable show.
Jesse was the perfect compliment yet again. Prairie is a human metronome. Kasim seemed sullen and moody, as he has for the last several shows I've seen. (Hey Kasim, you get to play music for a living. And you get to do it alongside a musical genius. Even if you're bored and think you're the one who's supposed to be the star, at least put on the performance that you like what you're doing and who you're doing it with.)
Todd, THANK YOU for digging so deep into your own stuff. It was stupendous to hear those songs after so many years.
If you're looking for a Todd Rundgren greatest hits tour, this isn't the show for you. If you want to make the connection of the influence the blues had on Todd's music, and you appreciate his amazing musical capabilities, you don't want to miss this show.