Sat 9/10/11 Zoellner Arts Center - Bethlehem, PA

Review by JJ Monicelli (Switch to

The Zoellner Arts Center was a very nice venue for this sold out show celebrating its opening night for the season and 15th anniversary packing in almost 1000 attendees. I had the luxury of first row and was treated with a very clean stage set. The band was tight and the set list included songs ranging from early 70's to the current album. They were not flamboyantly dressed although Todd did sport a tee shirt under a dark navy coat saying "Brave New World, Aldous Huxley", probably something worth a look into. Todd mentioned as he sometimes does that he would not take requests and that songs he selected were based on what he thought his audience wanted to hear -- he wasn't far off the mark. Jesse received some attention and a nice greeting from the audience as Bethlehem, this night's venue, is his hometown. Prairie was on all night and Kasim looked "exceptional". The event lasted approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. Someone I met said they were in Newtown the previous night and the show lasted almost 3 ½ hours. From my seating perspective it was clearly evident from the beginning that Todd was not looking or feeling that well and all things considered I'm calling this a very, very gutsy performance. The audience was appreciative of the effort. One of the greatest screams I have ever seen him belt out or ever belted out anywhere else for that matter came at the end of Soul Brother. The more I hear Buffalo Grass the more it grows on me. Hawking was quite emotional. Todd featured a new guitar he said was given to him as a birthday present by fans. After popping a string, he picked up the lime green "foamy" which was seen sporadically throughout the remainder of the show. The general theme overall was on the lighter side of heavier guitar related material and strong on vocal arrangements. Todd was very cordial with the audience setting up many intimate exchanges throughout the evening. It was a good show with a good concerted effort lending no reasons to be critical. For Rundgren purists, there was a lot to like and well worth the price of admission. Todd, Kass, and their associated musicians have been entertaining me for the better part 35 years and did so again tonight. Todd is getting older and so is his audience, thus is life - but we have all been in this together for quite a while following the maturation of this outstanding, legendary, visionary artist. If I had the time I would go see this show again.

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9/10/2011 - Zoellner Arts Center - Bethlehem, PA

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