Review of 6/2/12 show

Review by Toby Harris (Switch to

What a show! The added layers (esp the strings) a symphony orchestra can bring to TR tunes are amazing. They opened with "Flamingo" (listen to that and imagine an orchestra doing it) then T came out in a white tux and proceeded to knock it out of the park. Naturally, he did some of the old chestnuts ("I Saw the Light", "Can We Still Be Friends", "Hello It's Me") with some interesting musical riffs, but also did rousing versions of "Mammon" and "Fascist Christ". Some of the songs ("Soul Brother") featured extended orchestral solos and "Love of the Common Man" always sounds good.

Ever since "Only Human", I've thought one of TR's real strengths as a performer is the way he "delivers" a ballad (power, piano, pop) or torch song and he didn't disappoint with, "If I Have to Be Alone" and "Pretending to Care". "Bag Lady" was very moving and he did a version of "Wailing Wall" with the lights dimmed accompanied only by a piano player and a hushed audience that would have brought tears to your eyes.

On the drive up I surprised my wife with the recently released CD (Todd Rundgren's Utopia/Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75) and to hear "Open My Eyes" on that recording AND hear it live 40 years later was very cool. Listening to him transition from youthful exuberant to seasoned crooner is something to behold. Speaking of songs from the past, he also did the rarely performed "We Got To Get You a Woman". Had some fun with "Onomatopoeia" too.

The other tunes I remember are "godsaid", "Property", and a fun-filled "The Smell of Money" during which he pranced around the orchestra.

The Coronado Performing Arts Center was the perfect venue for the show. Also, if you happen to be in the Rockford area, don't miss the Anderson Japanese Gardens.

This was Todd's first performance with a symphony orchestra in North America and since we both played in symphony orchestras (albeit many years ago), this show was particularly fun for us. It was particularly fun for everyone.

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6/02/2012 - Coronado PAC - Rockford, IL

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