Fillmore Theater

Review by Donn Deniston (Switch to

It's hard to keep surprises in the day of social media. I thought I had a pretty good idea what I was going to see and hear last night at The Fillmore but there were some surprises after all. I was surprised at the crowd. I expected it to be a greying boomer-fest (and it was) but I was happy to see so many people at the show. I got to the show 30 minutes after the doors opened and there weren't that many people in the venue or hanging around outside which is very unusual for a show in Detroit. I thought "Uh-oh this is going to be a half empty hall tonight" but soon afterwards they started pouring in and by the time the house lights went down it looked full or nearly full. I think the geezer hours early show time made it difficult for a lot of people to get to the show early and mingle and dealing with Detroit traffic and Foxtown construction doesn't help. On the other hand, we saw a great 2.5 hour show and still made it home before 11pm!

My second surprise was some of the material covered. A complete Utopian Retrospective could last all night so selecting songs for a 2 hour show has to be difficult but there were some song selections that seemed odd. "Lysistrata", "I Just Want to Touch You" and "Crybaby" seemed like no brainers for a live show instead of some of the more obscure tunes they performed, but that's me getting picky . . . maybe next tour. ;)

The first half of the show seemed a bit bumpy. The sound was very "tubby" (I was just in front of FOH), the band seemed a bit unsteady and Todd's vocals were hit and miss which I figured was due to the cold he's been battling. By the time they got to "Do Ya" things seemed to settle down and settle in. I'm not sure I understood the two stage set up routine. Those big, tall risers made the stage look cramped and cluttered and physically interfered with the video wall.

Ah, but then came Act 2 with a cleaner, simpler looking stage which made the video wall much more effective and an entirely new band on that stage. The "Pop Half" of the show was as good as any Todd/Utopia show I've seen and I've seen a lot of them since 1974. The sound was better (Hey, there's the bass drum!), the vocals were clearer and the band just seemed much tighter and confident. Todd's singing was really strong, Kasim reminded me of what a great player/singer he is, Willie kept his head down and played great and Gil should get a MVP award at the end of this tour.

All in all a really fun show and if it turns out to be the last hurrah for Utopia, it's certainly a hell of a way to ride off into the sunset.

Thanks to Todd, Kasim, Willie and Gil for a fun evening and thanks to Todd for so many years of great music and WTF head scratching moments. I'm sure there's "always more".

Other reviews for Todd Rundgren Dates
5/17/2018 - the Fillmore - Detroit, MI

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