Boston, MA 11/15/11

Review by Mark Dumais (Switch to

WOW!!! I've been to all three Boston area shows this year and I must say that this was by far my favorite since the Arena tour. I enjoyed the Todd/Healing show, thought the Hits show was pretty good (except for the Todd's cold) but this one left me grinning ear to ear for the entire night, ride home and still this morning while I write this review. A lot has been said about the song selection and quality of the performance with this tour, both good and bad. I guess you could say I'm the kind of Todd fan who loves it when he plays the more obscure material. I love the hits, don't get me wrong, but he's been touring for so long that I just don't have the need to hear them anymore. I guess that makes me a hard core fan. In fact, I never go to any concert expecting to hear specific set lists or songs and with Todd, I guess I hope he goes off the beat and path as much as possible. My theory is that you paid the price of admission for a quality show, not a specific song list. So I have no sympathy for those who didn't get to hear the songs they wanted to hear. If you want the kind of show that's predictable and never changes, go to Vegas or catch a Broadway show, you'll never be disappointed. My wife goes to every Todd show with me and she doesn't care for his music. She actually likes his banter in between songs and enjoys his story telling. This was her least favorite show because he didn't say much between songs....go figure. Sometimes there's just no pleasing people.

This brings me to the quality of the show. They have clearly worked out most of the arrangements for this material. Kasim and Jessie are both manning keyboards throughout the show. There were a few bad notes or chords from time to time and only slight transition problems. I have a new found respect for Moogy after this show. For those who witnessed the January concerts where they tore through this material with little more than a few hours rehearsal, it's clear that his talents were a massive piece of this band and clearly the glue that bound this particular lineup together. Kasim and Jessie are coming along nicely to fill in but Moogy's influence on this material is massive and is sorely missed. The unfortunate part in all this is that the first week of shows are where they have had to work out the kinks because of Moogy's last minute absence. The quality of the show, which is what we all paid for was not at the level it could have or should have been. Back during the Individualist tour, Todd had a few shows in NH and ME that were called warm up shows. That may have worked here but at this point, the shows have come and gone. I for one would like to say thank you to those who attended the earlier shows for braving through these great songs while they tried to make up for the absence of one hell of a keyboard player. You are troopers and I appreciate it and for those who were just flat out pissed off at having to witness the lower than expected quality of these shows, I completely understand and want you to know it wasn't for nothing. The Boston show was spectacular and I'm sure the webcast will blow you're mind.

I became a Todd fan at the age of 9 with a mixed tape from an older brother. The first song on that tape was Freak Parade. Also on that tape was The Wheel. In 1980 I received Adventures in Utopia for my 11th birthday and wore it out....I was hooked. Over the next few years I began collecting all things Todd and Utopia. I remember stories from another brother about buying the first Todd Rundgren's Utopia album and listening to it with his friends. I recall seeing Utopia shows in the 80's and people yelling out any number of songs from the first 2 Utopia records hoping they would be played but never having those hopes realized. I remember hearing legendary tales of this band and their 3 hour shows. Last night ended all of this wanting for Boston area Todd Rundgren's Utopia fans. The Wilbur Theatre is part of the theatre district in Boston and sits next door to the Wang Theatre. This venue was served up some old time prog rock and the crowd ate up every bit of it. From the Utopia Theme to Just One Victory. It just left a permanent smile on a lot of peoples faces. Many of these fans seemed to know every bit of the Ikon (my favorite of the night) and were happy to sing along, air drum, air guitar or just start doing that creepy Grateful Dead hippy kind of dancing in their seats. As I mentioned earlier, Kasim and Jessie really did a great job trying to fill in for Moogy and but for a few small mistakes or a wrong chord here or there, everyone shined tonight. Todd's voice was absolutely superb, Kevin and John were spot on and let's not forget Ralph who had to take up a good chunk of the keyboard material to make this all happen. Standing ovations for the Ikon and lot's of crowd participation with clapping throughout the show. All in all, a great experience for all who attended and my hats off to the band and Todd for giving me a show that I never thought I would experience in this lifetime (maybe in Another Life...sorry, I couldn't resist one). I just can't say enough about this experience. This one will stay with me for quite a while. One final note, Todd nailed the Freak Parade lyrics. I was quite pleased at this after watching the January show.

PS Todd, my wife thinks you should go on a speaking tour, telling stories of your career.

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11/15/2011 - Wilbur Theater - Boston, MA

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