It was Phantom of The Opera/Pink Floyd/Mahalia Jackson - all mish mashed into one magnificent mulligan stew of multi-media. It was drama. It was Vaudeville. There were laser beams. Guitars were shredded. Don't forget the pinch of blue-eyed soul. And, it was a spiritual anointing - complete with a choir, to boot. Hallelujah!
Yes, Todd Rundgren brought the fourth of six performances of the Todd/Healing show to Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis. Clowes is a 2,000-seat performing arts center located on the campus of Butler University.
The performance commenced at approximately 9:30pm with the "Todd" album being played in its entirety. Or, at least it was customized to suit the live setting. Each performer was outfitted with a set of those wireless air traffic controller microphone headsets. Any combination of up to five keyboards were seamlessly rolled either onto or off the stage, depending on what was called for in each song. Todd bounded the stage dressed like the Emperor Ming on LSD (with better hair). If you're too young to remember Flash Gordon, try to imagine Todd donning a wildly emblazoned designer Snuggie.
There was an old-school video screen which employed miniature light bulbs as pixels, displaying various patterns to accompany the music. I noticed an interesting side effect of this video display: If you were to peer at Prarie Prince or Jessie Gress or Kasim Sulton through a set of binoculars, you would swear they were performing against the backdrop of The Larry King Live Show.
Rundgren's guitar of choice for the entire concert was that psychedelic-colored Gibson SG (the one that looked like it was painted by George Harrison).
When you play the "Todd" album on your record player (i-pod, CD player, whatever), it sounds like a gigantic mumbo-jumbo of every style of music you can imagine. But, when Rundgren performs it live, it sounds incredibly cohesive. I now see what opera artists are up against when they try to make a record.
There was a 30 minute intermission after the "Todd" segment of the show. I was surprised they sold booze at this joint. The line was long, but it went fast. Clowes employs the best bartenders this side of the Mississippi.
The "Healing" album was then played in its entirety. "Healing" is a pretty cohesive album. Although the song "Golden Goose" breaks up the spiritual momentum with, what sounds like, Todd channeling the ghost of Spike Jones.
"Healing Parts I, II and III" were so uplifting, I almost started speaking in tongues. And I'm not even a Charismatic Christian!
At the end of the performance, the audience was spent.