Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth
Apr 14, 2010 - 8:00am
I had the immense pleasure of attending Todd's Johnson Tour concert last night at the Birchmere, in Alexandria, Virginia.
See this show if you get the chance.
I have not seen Todd play guitar like that in a long, long time. It was a bit sloppy at times, but the man can still swing that ax with dexterity and vigor, coaxing out of a bevy of guitars some inspired and soaring solos. He never received the due he could have obtained as a guitar player had he not chosen to become the studio and tour magician intent upon pursuing the eclectic, song by song. There were flashes of that guitar talent on display last night before a music hall that, inexplicably, was not even 3/4 full. (Upon taking the stage, he bellowed "Welcome Sons of the Confederacy," a mischievous remark about Virginia's governor who recently put out a statement regarding the history of Confederacy and Virginia without even mentioning slavery. His quirky humor also was on display all night; easy banter)
As the name of the tour implies, it is a blues show. About 12 songs from the great blues man Robert Johnson interspersed with Todd songs that Todd referred to as his more "bluesy" songs. Among Todd songs played: Black Maria, No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator, Hamburger Hell, Tiny Demons, and I Saw The Light. Covers of RJ included Dust My Broom, Walkin' Blues, and, as the final encore, Crossroads.
His voice cannot really come close to matching the soul-piercing work of the plaintive and evocative Johnson, but it was interesting to see Todd's take on these songs even as they fell short of that high mark. Todd's adventuresome nature in terms of music has always been a hallmark.
It was his soaring guitar, though, that sent this night into the stratosphere for me.
here's some of the Cool Jerk that I shot from the front/side
Contagious, amazing energy for an incredibly ambitious show (I didn't get how ambitious until now). The costume changes reflected in the book are astounding. What a great way to start the day. I enjoyed this very much!
I bet it was! I got to see him at the Akron Civic Theater in..well...Akron Ohio back in the 70's. I had (collected) all his albums. For some inexplicable reason, I traded or sold them to a friend who was moving to Florida. Never saw him again.
Dan, I would love to go to something like that! I've been a Todd fan forever. (I missed him last time around, had a terminally ill family member)
I'm thinking I'll have to travel to catch a gig.
Earthquake in New York City, the Chrysler Building fell in my yard But when the shit hits the fan, I think I'll have to make my way back to Sunset Boulevard The IRA has just hit London, they blew up half of Scotland Yard But when the shit hits the fan, I guess I'll try to make my way back to Sunset Boulevard Cruisin' down a mountain highway, someone's cut the brakes on my car But when the shit hits the fan, I know I have to get my ass back to Sunset Boulevard
The opening act was Todd & three others of his band playing Robert Johnson blues tunes. "The world premiere of Todd Rundgren's Johnson." It was pretty boring.
Then, the whole AWATS album start to finish, rearranged slightly so that it's framed by International Feel and ends with La Feel Internationale. Just One Victory as the encore. Costume changes, some visual effects, and a very engaged Todd. I was worried that he was tired and bored, but I never thought that once during this show. Great.
Tomorrow: he's in San Jose. GO if you can. Even my wife, only a casual Todd fan, thoroughly enjoyed it.