Review by Peter Risby Hansen (Switch to

"I love You guys!" Todd shouted to us before starting out with "Love of the Common Man" on this "rare acoustic evening". Well not quite acoustic as it turned out. Todd played an electric guitar, that I haven't seen before (maybe not his own?). He played semi-loud which was ok, but the sound might have been considerably sweeter had he used his acoustic Babicz Spider guitar. Oslo's Parkteatret was filled to capacity (we were around 300 I guess) -- and Todd even had to play an extra concert the day after. "This is an evening of firsts," Todd said: "It's the first time in eight years I play a show like this (referring, I assume, to the somewhat similar Todd & Joe Tour back in 2005 with Todd performing a solo set) and it's the first time I use this," (referring to the iPad -- or some other tablet pc -- on a stand that was standing in for his usual array of guitar pedals. This became fiddly at times and Todd said: "Normally I would be doing this with my foot -- but my foot won't reach this high (laughs)! Todd's disarming self deprecating humour was working overtime this night, and he warned us that this show might not be too "polished". As it were Todd regaled us with some pretty unorthodox chords and bridges in his songs -- but fine by me. Strumming a bit on the guitar Todd said: "I have a tune in my head, I just have to convey it all the way to my fingers." He had to give it up -- "It only got down to my elbow," he stated (laughs). Then he turned to the grand piano, and admitted "I dread the piano -- my piano playing is designed to make my guitar playing look good." Initially everything went without a hitch. "The Viking Song" was well received by the descendants of the horn helmeted barbarians (actually the vikings didn't wear horns, but who cares?). "I'm such a whore Todd said, I have to write a song about every country I visit at this point". Later, after a pretty spotless rendition of "Compassion," he said to his audience "As a matter of fact You are compassioned". Not having a fixed set list, Todd around an hour into the show admitted that he had forgotten which songs he had already played. Then, despite his announcement of not taking requests, because among other things "There's a good possibility I might not remember the song", he played "Hawking" on the piano -- in response to Jill Mingo's (she's the girl with the cool Todd-tattoo - a Todd stalwart if ever there was one) suggestion of playing something spiritual. "I want to be to you guys what Victor Borge was to me -- lots of jokes, but without all the accomplished musicianship involved." Later Todd said that He wasn't joking about Borge (the musical entertainer who was a Danish national, like myself), and unfortunately we got to hear exactly what he meant when Todd almost totally gummed up the works on his second and last encore, "A Dream goes on Forever". Todd simply couldn't remember the tune to this song, one of his all time greatest classics. If I hadn't just witnessed Todd deliver virtuoso performances in Amsterdam (the challenging orchestral show) and in London (the An Evening with Todd Rundgren show with solid backing from Jesse, Kasim, Prairie and Ferenzik) I would frankly be a bit worried. Summing it up this was a show that certainly had its share of ups and downs, but it was good fun. Even on a bit of an off night Todd is pretty good!

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2/19/2012 - Parkteatret - Oslo, Norway

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