Concert Review: Todd Rundgren, Powerstation2comments
By Graham Reid 5:30 AM Monday Sep 27, 2010
Before an audience charitably described as modest in number, American singer-guitarist Todd Rundgren delivered a show on Friday which veered between the peculiar and the perfunctory, the briefly soaring and mostly stolid.
In interviews before this brief tour, his first visit here, he insisted his most recent album, Todd Rundgren's Johnson (interpretations of songs by the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson), was a contractual obligation so he could release another album.
That Johnson isn't in stores (and none at the gig that I could see) indicates how detached Rundgren is from it, and on the night the Johnson songs were mostly truncated and almost felt obligatory also.
A shame, because his gritty Love in Vain and Last Fair Deal Gone Down sounded ready to burst apart in incendiary guitar work which punters might reasonably have expected.
But then they were all over.
With a slimmer, doppelganger second guitarist and a pedestrian pick-up rhythm section, Rundgren lurched through some ambling originals (among them a worthwhile Open My Eyes from his band Nazz of over 40 years ago) but after one of those noodling duels with his sideman - falsetto singing, mimicked on guitar - things went awry and Rundgren laughed, "jetlag".
That summed it up. And while it was possible to applaud the guitar solos - and many did - by the end it was hard to argue any of them had been especially memorable.
After a leaden Crossroads came his crowd-pleasing classic I Saw the Light (which proved what a soulful voice he still possesses) and the user-friendly boogie of Hamburger Hell to send people happily into the night.
The most telling moment, however, came in I Saw the Light. After the line "It's not something I say in jest", his wilfully dismissive "Hah!" spoke volumes.
By Graham Reid