Todd Rundgren sets tour dates, will perform two complete albums

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Photo from Todd Rundgren’s MySpace page

by Something Else Reviews

Todd Rundgren has announced five spring concerts, during which he will perform a pair of albums in their entirety, Todd and Healing. The first-ever live stagings of these two releases, held in September of last year, found Rundgren on stage with Greg Hawkes of the Cars, Kasim Sulton of Utopia, Prairie Prince of the Tubes, Jesse Gress and Bobby Strickland.

Local area choirs joining them for parts of the Healing set, adding a unique flavor to each date. Rundgren, in advance press materials, said others soon requested a chance to share in the experience: “These shows are proposed and promoted by the fans. I’m lucky to have a very loyal audience.”

Rundgren’s initial spring 2011 concert is scheduled for March 25 in Hartford, Connecticut; followed by stops in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 27; Red Bank, New Jersey on March 28; Toledo, Ohio on March 30; and Columbus, Ohio on April 1.

To get you ready, here’s a look back at some of our thoughts on Rundgren from the Something Else! Reviews archives. Click on the titles for more …

“WE GOTTA GET YOU A WOMAN,” RUST (1970): A straightforward tale about the narrator coaxing his buddy to remedy his blues by scoring some tail, Rundgren already had much of the pieces in place that led to his Something/Anything? breakout album a couple of years later, and yet “Woman” still reached the top 20 on the Hot 100 chart. It never attained the staying power of “Hello It’s Me” or “I Saw The Light,” though, as you don’t hear this song on classic rock radio stations like those two hits from Something/Anything?. Maybe in a way, that’s not so bad; hearing it infrequently keeps it fresh.

“OPEN MY EYES,” with the Nazz (1968): Already his compositions were revealing some of his legendary knack for melody and gut-socking raw emotion neatly wrapped in a three minute package. Rundgren could also add his crunching electric guitar and imaginative arrangements to the mix. Never did he pull it all together better in the Nazz years than he did for his psychedelic rave-up “Eyes,” based on a riff from the Who’s “Can’t Explain.”

IT’S ALIVE, with the New Cars (2006): A mostly live compilation that features a couple of Rundgren’s more familiar tunes, including the Carole King-like “I Saw The Light” and the aforementioned “Open My Eyes” — as well as most of the Cars’ big hits, of course. Overall, Todd is playing the fill-in guy, even if he’s a very well known fill-in guy. This may be the first time in his forty year career he’s not the main creative force behind a band and surprisingly, Rundgren seems quite comfortable in that role. There are also three fresh studio originals thrown in at the end; the best of the bunch is “Not Tonight,” a song that would have fit nicely in the Cars’ debut album or Candy-O.

“LOVE IN ACTION,” BACK TO THE BARS (1978): What struck me about this recording was the power and flexibility of Rundgren’s voice. If you consider the sequence of “The Verb ‘To Love'” into “Love In Action,” you’ll first hear Rundgren at his most soulful, followed by the full-on roar of “Love In Action.” I noticed this contrast only this morning, though the arena rock of “Love In Action” resonated on first listen many years ago.

ARENA, solo recording (2008): True to its title, Arena is unabashed, hook-filled power rock ideal for arena-sized venues. It’s also a throwback to that time when such music was popular enough to regularly fill those large venues. Nearly every single-named track will remind you of a major act whose heydey was in the mid-seventies to early-eighties time frame.

“HELLO IT’S ME,” SOMETHING/ANYTHING? (1972): With its pull-you-in opening stanza, comfy McCartney-esque ambiance, and soaring chorus, “Hello It’s Me” doesn’t define this album so much as it sets the stage for Rundgren to begin furiously shoving the boundaries of music making. “Hello” was actually tucked into a fourth-side mock pop operetta reportedly done live with whomever happened to be in the studio. The song right before it? “Piss Aaron.” Right after it? “Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me.” The album ends with a delicately shaded lament over contracting VD. Wow.

For ticket information and to learn more about the new tour, visit Todd Rundgren’s Web site. Fans can also hear more at www.RundgrenRadio.com, which broadcasts online every Tuesday night at 8:30 ET.

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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