The grand folks at Rundgren Radio (the illustrious Doug Ford and iridescent “Cruiser Mel”) are doing it again, only this time, we’re on the inside, blogites!!! You’re going to get a regal preview to what is GUARANTEED to be as entertaining as previous Peter Gabriel tours (his latest being of little interest to me as I prefer Gabriel to rock and power through grandiose shows, not just him, a piano and orchestra, it does NOT top he and his daughter singing suspended upside down and being able to circle above the circular stage for his previous UP tour).
Rundgren and company will entertain the hell out of you for less than half the price of a Gabriel show OR EVEN LESS!
Hey, the folks at Rundgren Radio know cash flow is tight. But since these two forces, (Rundgren Radio and Rundgren himself) have joined, they have produced some of the more spectacular shows of Rundgren’s career. Yes, they do come close to the Utopia Ra Pyramid shows, and they ARE comparable to the high tech video-laden Adventures In Utopia tour. You can get tons of information at www.sonsof1984.com. This blog is about POSSIBILITIES! Our possibilities are off to a great start as this blogger has plans to get the best possible seats for the Keswick Theater in Glenside PA show. I am not ruling out the possibilities that I may attend more of the east coast shows. All the dates and particulars can be found at the previously mentioned site.
I would rather talk about what this show might entail.
This is preview, there will (of course) be a color photo full blog (maybe a three parter this time, some of my affiliate sites crash at a certain word count) this show entails what amounted to three 12” albums and one 7” 2 song ep. The song count alone is worth the money.
You can refer to my previous blog about the A Wizard A True Star (AWATS) tour for the level of showmanship you are going to get for your dollar.
But it is really about the music. Rundgren is recreating a double album from 1974, Todd and another from 1981 called Healing live before your eyes!
Healing is the album which contained the extra 7” with “Time Heals” (the 7th video played on MTV) and “Tiny Demons”. Knowing the albums as I do, it would be to Rundgren’s maximum benefit to invert the order of the albums. If he has to change instrument setups in-between, I could totally see them removing things behind Rundgren while he does “Tiny Demons” on a solo electric guitar with effects as he has done soooooooo many times live (I’ve seen it, take it from me). Then the massive instrumentation would be finally positioned for the recreation of a much over-looked album for its time, Todd. It was the album that followed AWATS from 1973.
While there may be some easy listening portions during the title track to Healing, hang in there, people. Because there will be some out of this world rock and roll and some progressive experimentation, and even some pop to reward your efforts.
The problem is, with the Todd album, there are so many beautiful snippets interwoven between the tape effects, hard hock and not to forget the wondrous power-ballad “Don’t You Ever Learn”. I refer you to the version on Rundgren’s Back To The Bars double-live disc for verification of its power-balladry. Whose proceeds, I might add, were given to the Indochinese refugee effort going on at the time (1978-1979).
You may want to head to that afore mentioned website sonsof1984.com, and print out the lyrics to the song “Sons Of 1984”. He is going to ask that we participate, as was a technological achievement on the album. He recorded two separate audiences, West coast audience on the left channel, East on the right, and dubbed them into the same performance and the results are seamless.
The critics had given up on Rundgren by this time. They wanted more of his Something/Anything exercises. That’s what he called the songs on his “critical masterpiece”. This “critic” agrees with Rundgren. There was much better stuff to come.
Several tracks from the album Healing were pulled off beautifully by the four-member Utopia as they were also touring Utopia’s Swing To The Right album at the time. Both albums were released relatively close to one another.
Bearsville wanted to dump them (Utopia) from the record label, he had to save costs somehow. So for these shows I suspect the first half would be the smaller assemblage of musicians unless he pulls a “I’m gonna sing it live with a midi backing band” (I’ve seen that too). The bootleg video “TR at the Phily Be-In 1988 Am I President Yet” is a concert (I attended) where Rundgren played a FREE SHOW in back of the Fairmount Park museum and attempted to use midi devices to promote his catalog coming out on Rhino CDs.
But seeing as how he was out in the heat, and so were his electronics throughout the opening acts, the band-in-a-box hardware crapped out on him! Ever resourceful, Rundgren whips out the acoustic guitar and actually plays the keyboards (that haven’t gone on heat-strike) manually!
This is the sort of “show-must-go-on” showmanship you can expect at these shows.
I have been touting the works of Rundgren for years now, as I truly feel that YOU, the CONSUMER, are the ones missing out. Firstly, some of the most brilliantly conceived, produced and performed music is not reaching your ears! He really does have something for everyone, and if you pay attention to him long enough, you get to see how much of a pioneer this guy is! He has been farting around with a Ukulele since 1994-ish (when he moved to Hawaii) and all of the sudden, there are chicks playing Ukulele on TV shows, commercials, and comedy acts…
Don’t get me started about his computer programming work.
I am not going to go into the dissection of the albums, that will come in the review after the Keswick Theater show.
You know, you can’t be too confident in this life. But I can be confident in this to you, faithful blogereenos, get your tickets, and you will be humming these tunes for days. Hey, if you like the songs enough, get to your local indie record store and pick them up because you won’t find them in a chain store (maybe that lame-ass greatest hits collection, but not the MEATY Rundgren songs you will hear at this show). You’ll go up to the dink working at the chain counter and ask for Todd Rundgren and you’ll hear “Who’s Tod Rubrin?”
Only the greatest rock performer/producer to grace our ears with some of the most delightful melodies we’ve heard. YOU’VE HEARD THEM, ADMIT IT!!! So what you are saying is you NEVER saw a Carnival Cruise ad with “Bang On The Drum” in the background, or seen the guy longing over a cheesesteak he can’t have because of his heartburn but Tums comes to the rescue all to the exercise of “Hello It’s Me”?
Yeah, THAT’S Todd Rundgren. And I suggest you get to see him while the getting is good. And with a Rundgren Radio production, it don’t get much better than that!