Todd Rundgren in town...  

Posted by Agnes Regina

The rock singer Todd Rundgren dropped into St. Louis on tour last Friday, and Webster University's choir director was asked to provide a group of singers. Among the group was yours truly. I've already heard countless reactions on telling my friends, mostly summed up in: "Agnes did WHAT!?!!!?"

The theatre was packed, and we all had, as the Post-Dispatch article of the following day remarked, "the time of our lives." It was loud, it was wild, and it was a blast. Maybe not something I'll repeat often (to save my ears! We were right in front of the drums!) but certainly a night to remember, enlivened by some amusing repartee with the bass player who kept telling me not to smile (and as those who know me know, it's pretty hard for me not to smile!)

The full article is below.

Rundgren concert is magical

By Daniel Durchholz • Special to the Post-Dispatch | Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 8:00 pm |

What seemed like a fairly esoteric pursuit for Todd Rundgren turned into a magical musical night on Friday at Roberts Orpheum Theater, where the veteran recording artist played two complete albums from his distant past: 1974's "Todd" and 1981's "Healing."

Both are regarded as being among Rundgren's more insular works. Despite a few lush ballads and straight-ahead rockers, "Todd" is rife with sonic experimentation and studio tomfoolery; "Healing" is a synthesizer-driven concept album about spirituality.

But in concert, Rundgren brought them springing back to life by turning the stage into a time capsule. Psychedelic costumes as well as period lighting — vintage lasers and a primitive video screen — recalled the eras in which the music originated.

More modern contrivances — wireless instruments, headset microphones — as well as rollaway carts for the drum kit and keyboards allowed Rundgren and his five-piece band to come and go as was necessary, giving the stage a constantly evolving look that added to the presentation's theatricality.

The show's first half — the "Todd" portion — was a potent reminder of that album's eclectic nature. As it unfolded, Rundgren embodied the smooth, soulful balladeer on "A Dream Goes On Forever" and "The Last Ride"; the bold but trippy guitar hero on "Everybody's Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae" and "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator"; and the willful nut who thought it would be a great idea to insert Gilbert and Sullivan's "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" into the middle of a rock album. Despite an early vocal flub, he eventually mastered the song's machine-gun verbosity.

True to the album's spirit, Rundgren even brought out a tap dancer for a few rudimentary steps during "Useless Begging." But he judiciously excised the tedious synth workout "In and Out the Chakras We Go" from the proceedings, and the first set ended with the gorgeous, downbeat "Don't You Ever Learn?"

For "Healing," Rundgren and his band were occasionally joined by some singers recruited from Webster University. Not only were they terrific, they seemed to be having the time of their lives.

As Rundgren sang the album's probing lyrics, he paced back and forth and gestured significantly, as if he was rethinking anew issues addressed in songs such as "Flesh," "Compassion" and "Time Heals."

Out of sequence though it was, "Sons of 1984" — actually the finale of "Todd" — served as the show's encore. As the curtain came down and the band dropped out, the audience continued singing its chorus for some time — a remarkable ending to a remarkable show.


This entry was posted on September 13, 2010 at Monday, September 13, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


that must have been so fun! and btw why can't you smile??

September 13, 2010 at 1:46 PM

LOL... he was kidding, silly. Which was what made it so amusing.

September 13, 2010 at 2:02 PM

i was there!! what an amazing show and you were all looked so happy to be there! what an experience. i have listened to tr since i was literally a fetus and it was so awesome to see other people my age singing his tunes. were any of you guys fans?

September 13, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I'd never heard his music before but it was a lot of fun to sing. As I mentioned in the post, this is not my sort of music typically, but I did enjoy it.

September 13, 2010 at 8:45 PM

who was the guy with the scarf on his head? my sisters and i were talking to him before the show, he was cracking us up!

September 14, 2010 at 4:00 PM

He's one of the freshmen, so I haven't gotten to know him very well. He is pretty funny though!

September 16, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Which lyrics did he sing?

September 16, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Well, as the article says, they performed the pieces from the albums "Todd" and "Healing."

September 16, 2010 at 11:33 PM

"As the article says" - sorry for a stupid question ... at least you got the collection of his lyrics with the link.

September 17, 2010 at 4:37 AM

I do feel some concern about content in "Healing". I think he is using or abusing the techniques of hypnosis.

Or, at best, ridiculing. Only, ridicule won't kill it.

September 17, 2010 at 5:08 AM

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