Todd Rundgren - Unpredictable Tour comes to Denver

Review by Chris Zetterholm (Switch to

It's been several years since I saw Todd Rundgren live, last in support of his then-latest album Arena in 2009 in New York. I skipped the performance from his latest album, State. With no new album, and fresh off his tours with Ringo Starr's All-Starr band, Todd gathered up his entourage of Prairie Prince on Drums, Jessie Gress on Guitar and Kasim Sulton on bass, and has toured a collection of Toddities that still entertain after all these years. If you're going to tour, why not make it fun?

I arrived at the venue early enough to see some of the early fans gather, and I got to talk to several people I only see whenever Todd comes to town. It seems I always run into one friend Joanne at these shows, and it was good to reminisce about seeing Todd in Beaver Creek and Boulder several times...last time with her husband and daughter in attendance. The weather wasn't too cold, compared to the prior week when we had frigid temps.

On this Denver stop, Todd was in a great mood, relaxed but energetic even though he blamed some minor vocal flaws on the thin air of Colorado. The setlist is very similar to what other cities got to hear. The band opened up with a Cheap Trick song, 'Hello There'. We then heard some of his more familiar catalog - 'Love Of The Common Man' (after which he gave us banter about Colorado becoming like Amsterdam, after he visited a pot dispensary), 'I Don't Want To Tie You Down', a Russian(?) song called Mr. Trololo. There was another cover of a Big Bopper song called 'Running Bear'. Back to Todd's catalog with 'Cliche' and 'Black and White, followed by a strange cover of 'Muskrat Love' (yes, the 'Captain and Toenail' song, as Todd put it), after which Todd went on about writing a song about animals mating, and how awkward it was for the writer to choose the muskrat out of all animals. Jesse Gress played some interesting effects on guitar to emulate the muskrats.

The show continued with another song I wasn't familiar with, 'Are We Having Any Fun?' or something like that. One of Todd's bigger hits, 'I Saw The Light' was played with a slight bossa nova feel, not quite as sharp as the With A Twist tour of the late '90s. Then, on to the piano Todd went to play 'Song Of The Viking', 'Compassion', and 'Too Far Gone'. Strangely enough, he played two Lorne Greene songs: 'Endless Prairie' and (playing the recording) 'I'm A Gun'. The set pressed on with 'There Goes My Inspiration', another clever cover - Clarence Carter's 'Patches', and ending with 'Love In Action'.

After the shortest break, the band returned for three songs: the lovely ballad 'It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference'; yet another cover, this time Arthur Brown's 'Fire'; and wrapping it up with the classic Utopia song, 'One World'.

The crowd enjoyed the show, for the most part. Except for the State tour last year, it's been some time since TR visited Denver or Boulder for a show. I hope we'll get more Todd shows in the future. Maybe now that he says we resemble Amsterdam, he just might come a little more often.

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
11/18/2014 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO

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