Having been to the previous night's show, I wasn't so concerned with arriving on time knowing full well this show would begin late. I sat at a cafe with two men named John and Ruby Tuesday while I sewed up a 'pulsar pink' book of memoires. The color xerox/paste-up pictures inside spanned at least a decade of my photos of the early Rundgren concerts (starting in 1973) that I attended, as well as pictures of the opening of the Utopia Video studio in Woodstock, N.Y. 18 years ago. The rest of the book is filled with pictures of my lovers, chums, and buddies (late 70's to early 80's) in Philadelphia who lived out different aspects of Rundgren's early roots and career.
There were lots of pictures of Donald Lee Van Winkle, band member of 'The American Dream' (Todd's first production), pictures of Artie Heller, drummer of 'Woody's Truckstop' (Todd's first band / pre-Nazz), a picture of Paul E.Fishkin (The Bearsville Lable King, and rumored 'Leroy Boy'), pictures of techno wizard 'Bob Lampel' a name behind the scene of Todd's early vinyl productions... pictures of many other earlier Philly Rundgren friends, pictures of many Utopia concerts in PA., N.Y., & N.J.. Pictures of my fanfare art work that ended up in Liv Rundgren Tyler's nursery as a toddler. Pictures of Bebe, ooh la la. Ain't rock-n-roll great? Especially back in the days when rockers were icons and techie mixes were genuinely new to our ears.
The nostalgia was thick, and I couldn't help but stir the pot! ...And I'm not afraid to drop names cause I miss all those people and I loved those days! And I wonder now if all my privileged moments with them was really just a dream...'so long ago, and so far away'. Thank Todd! You are still here for us, even this very month to satiate the karmic desire to 'look back' with a tour (this 'little' tour) that reaches into some choice tunes of the past. The 'memoire book' was finished just ten minutes before I arrived at the scene of this night's concert and wouldn't you know it - we (John, John, Ruby & Bones) were 10 minutes late.
The hall was filled more thickly with perhaps a hundred more people than last night's show. Todd was dressed for the occasion - the black gortex top sported a youthful vigor and the bright orange cotton wrap around Polynesian skirt tickled the hearts of all present. "It takes a REAL MAN to wear a skirt" Todd quips to the thick crowd of this small hall. Genuine laughter ensues.
This was yet another night of persistent foibles. A crack in the aether springs forth rain leakage on stage, Seattle is living up to its reputation, Todd deals with it well. Again a night of guitar strings breaking and again the so called 'Channel Surfin' factor of the show ain't workin' either! Despite it all, the man was putting a lot of heart into his performance this night. Contrary to the Friday-the-13th show, there was a great deal more music than dialog. People giggled through 'Viking Song', swayed in unison to 'Never Never Land', and la la la-ed through 'Can We Still Be Friends'. Todd's rendition of the Beatles tune, 'You've Got to Hide Your Love Away' was exellent! For me the highlight of the show was the hush of a mesmerized audience as Todd enchanted us with his hypnotic voice through the encore performance of 'Hawking'. For the first time ever I saw tears on the faces of men at a pop concert; Hawking was beautifully sung and the two Johns that Ruby and I brought with us, two guys who had never seen Todd before, were surprised how well the guy could sing, and draw his audience in with hypnotic fervor under all those stumbling blocks of a damp, poorly lit, dive atmosphere.
With our senses fully buzzed we drifted out into the night rain and stood in a circle on the street. A round of cigars came out as we celebrated the close of Todd's Seattle performances. Just as we'd suspected Todd emerged from the alley exit and sat in his chariot while he graced the rain soaked fans with several minutes of autograph signing and individual hellos. The memoire book I made him was already in the front seat and he placed it in his lap while he signed autographs. I approached his van window after a patient wait and told him the 'memoires' were from me. I then handed him one of my favorite talismans, a button which reads: "IT'S HARD TO BE HUMBLE WHEN YOUR FROM PENNSYLVANIA". His nose wrinkled up like a kid as he looked up at me and chuckled. I smiled and winked. Then I simply thanked him, "thank you for everything!", I said. I am ever so happy to have had that opportunity (so many years later) to thank him once again.
Along with the picture book I also gave him copies of November and December's issues of my 'Astrology Meditations' monthly publication in which I dedicated December's issue to Todd. Website: http://www.metaphysical.bc.ca (the posting of Dec.'s issue pending). On this night, the connection was made and it felt good. Unlike the old days there wasn't the repeat of the hallucinating spinning ball (oh how I loved that!), or the immensity of technical equipment, or any of those spectacular expensive props, pyramids or a circular stage. No, this show and tour is rich in its warm-heartedness, and the repeat of the old songs still have the punch. This show was worthy of my own song of praises. In the presence of such a well preserved star there is a higher glory among fans alone, only to be found in the imagination.
The perilous path of Rundgren's career was planted like Blake's 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell', (may we all join hands) there will always be critics and there will always be fans, and I believe that this prolific songwriter will touch many more folks to come. I pray there will not always be those people here in North America that say, "Todd Who?" Please Godd, give the man more hits, JUST ONE MORE VICTORY, we know that's what he wants, and he deserves to have more money. We're all tired of explaining to people who Todd Rundgren is and being left with the recourse of having to say; 'you had to be there', or 'didn't you see that Toyota commercial with the yuppies throwing off their business suit ties to "Bang the Drum"'? Or how about, 'Can We Still Be Friends' on the 'Dumb and Dumber' soundtrack. This is NOT a claim to fame. Nonetheless, hydrogen and stupidity are still the two most common forces in the universe.
The magic is still there. There are still so many of us supporting his 30 + years of creating, and as far as many of us are concerned, the tides of a New Aeon reflect the works of one such 'Runt' of the music industry with undaunted success. That which TR has actually contributed is perpetually spawning in the futile commercial environment of the western music business world. It will always be true; "LOVE IS THE ANSWER". We're here to live by that motto.