This review was originally going to be entitled "Rundgren Rocks Coma Country" for reasons I'll explain later. Todd and longtime bandmates Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress, and Prairie Prince, accompanied by the brilliant John Firenzik, blazed a musical trail through Our Hero's catalog, which as most readers know, span almost half a century and 8.8 million light years in the time space continuum. It started with "I Saw the Light" and ended with "A Dream Goes on Forever ", with the highly publicized 22 songs between selected on a nightly basis from a pool of his fan's favorites. Tonight's highlights for me included a searing version of "Number 1 Lowest Common Denominator (compelling with the background vocals and blistering guitar work), the always welcome "Open My Eyes", and a mind bending "Black and White". A poignant and much appreciated little twinkle came when the band finished "A Dream Goes On..." with the bossa nova ending from "With a Twist." My friend (and former lead guitarist of Runt River, Maine's most popular Rundgren impersonation act) Jime Racine particularly enjoyed "Determination", "Fascist Christ", and "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference "... We both have heard "Hello, It's Me" and "Bang the Drum" enough to last a lifetime, which is the segue to my conclusion. Todd greeted us early on with a mild rant about wanting to call this the "Coma Tour"... something about folks coming out of a 45 year coma to request the songs on this tour's playlist. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been enthusiastically going to see Todd-Utopia since 10/30/1980, including the Sessions Tour (1990), and the Utopia Redux (both the Santa Clara Rehearsal Show and the first 3 nights in Tokyo, 1992)... and over 100 others; Jime started going to shows around "Nearly Human", and his shows number in the dozens...So we haven't exactly been in a coma, we've been out supporting Todd for decades. We will be honest: 2 years ago, we drove 5 hours to northwest Connecticut to see the State Tour. Didn't really know why the website suggested sunglasses and dancing shoes... Anyway, though we respect Todd's super creativity to keep pushing the envelope, we prefer his guitar based songs and guitar playing. At one point in that show, it appeared as though Jesse and Kasim were cardboard cutouts, watching Mr. Rundgren fiddling with his computer. Alternatively, the entire band was locked in, cohesive, engaged. If Todd truly hates playing this stuff, he is a heck of an actor, as he seemed like he was ok with the huge applause punctuating the end of literally every song.
We assume Todd is too busy to worry about what is written here on "the TR Connection" ... but if he did, our humble opinion is that Bang Drum and Hello It's Me could have been scratched for "Play this Game" and "The Very Last Time"... speaking of, how about this particular line-up going on the road and exclusively playing Utopia songs.
Thank you, Todd and Friends, for accomodating us old geezers by playing the music that changed my life.