An Evening with Todd Rundgren

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Since Todd’s on tour this year (and dropping by Carrboro in May!), i thought i’d dust off an old review i wrote last year that was posted on a Rundgren fan site. i’m pretty sure the show will be much better this time around since he’s got a band with him. anyway - enjoy reading my *honest* review. :)

Todd Rundgren at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC

I went into the show thinking that since this was the last official stop on his winter mini tour-of-the-south that I’d have a better chance in seeing a more polished Todd show this time around (you know, Todd had the whole tour to “practice” the piano ;) Well, better luck next time I guess. The show was pretty much typical Todd in terms of piano flubs, forgotten lyrics and technical difficulties. Todd started out well performing Love of the Common Man but had to stop mid-way through due to breaking THREE guitar strings. He had this “oh no not again!” look on his face since something similar to this happened the night before in charlotte. It seemed that Todd had a rough time recovering from this initial incident the rest of the night which may explain the shorter set list compared to other stops on this tour. some notable songs MIA this night:
Love In Action, Black and White, Hawking, It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference and There Goes My Inspiration.
I didn’t get a good read on Todd tonight. Couldn’t tell if he was glad this was the last stop on this leg of the tour and was eager to move on or if he felt this was an “off night” and decided not to push his luck by playing more than he had to. Todd wasn’t that chatty tonight which was kind of a bummer as well. The show was over by 10:30pm which was just TOO early. I was waiting for him to play on….. at least to hear him sing Hawking. But just my luck,it wasn’t meant to be this night. Even with all the flubs and mind farts, I still enjoyed the show (yes, i know it surprised me too). There were several moments of pure bliss where Todd would sing a line so sweet and perfect, it’d take you to another place and time. Those moments really made the show for me.
highlights for me include: the night’s version of compassion (spine tingling), the mp3-backed bossa nova set (although the abrupt way the “with a twist” instrumentals end is kinda jarring…..I wish he’d modify the tracks…), a sweet version of I Don’t Want to Tie you Down, Love of the Common Man (in the second run through of the song, Todd seems real determined to get it right this time and he definitely came through!), a solid performance of Cliche and the Wheel, and a surprisingly enjoyable version of Bang on the Ukelele Daily (personally I think I was more receptive to it tonight mainly b/c it came after the crash and burn of Hello It’s Me on piano.)
Overall Todd’s voice sounded great. And at times he seemed to really get into it.
lowlights: in addition to the cring-worthy performance of Hello It’s Me, Todd barely made it through A Dream Goes On Forever. Afterwards Todd remarked that he couldn’t let the night end like that so he strapped on the guitar one last time to send us home with One World. I was pleasantly surprised that he sang “Chapel Hill to Tokyo!!” in the song since I live there. cool!
As for the venue: kudos to whoever booked this tour. they picked some great places for Todd to play and the Carolina Theatre is definitely one of them. pretty intimate and great sound. And I was real glad to see such a great turnout. The place was packed. A big thanks to the management of the Carolina Theatre, STAR-FM and the News and Observer for getting the word out about Todd’s show. I think it made a big difference in terms of the size of the crowd. Another highlight of the evening came early on: the opening act (an acapella group from NC State) ended their set with a great version of Todd’s Hodja.
To sum up: even though the show wasn’t as polished as I had hoped, I still came out of the theatre with a big smile on my face. Thanks Todd. Come back and visit soon!!! (actually that just might be the case since Todd announced last night that Rex, his son, will be playing with the Greensboro Bats, a minor league baseball team associated with the Florida Marlins, this season which is about an hour away from Chapel Hill! cool!)

Liars Tour

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OK, guess who’s playin’ at the Cat’s Cradle May 11th? our hero, Todd Rundgren.

so, who’s comin’ with me?
here’s more info on the new album which i’m really looking forward to:
After dedicating the past 25 years to constructing a bridge between
music and multimedia, Todd Rundgren announces the release of a new
album that is a work of sophisticated songwriting and musical
brilliance. Liars, released in the U.K. on April 5th (Sanctuary
Records), is an orchestral, complex, and cleverly witty collection of
songs all built around an ambitious central concept that weaves
seamlessly throughout the album. The album will be released in the U.S.
on April 6th.
From the frenetic opening track, “Truth,” to the blue-eyed soul in
“Sweet” and “Soul Brother,” to his signature guitar howling on “Liars,”
Rundgren exposes white lies, happy lies, lies with dire consequences,
and lies so woven into the fabric of our lives that we don’t even
notice them anymore.
“Most of my recent albums have been either collections from recent and
old recordings. Liars is an album of all brand new material that I’ve
been thinking about for about 10 years,” says Rundgren. “When I started
writing material for this record, I didn’t have a whole concept yet,
but the first song I did was ‘The Wondering.’ It was my reaction to the
2000 presidential election, and the completely surreal nature of it. It
really made me see that we go through life thinking certain things are
true, and then reality is thrust upon you and you realize you’ve been
living a lie, a complete lie. That you don’t seem to be able to count
on anything anymore.”

The album’s cover captures the concept in its simplest form - the
Easter Bunny. “It’s a myth and everyone knows it’s a myth. It doesn’t
even have the history like Santa Claus - there was never a giant bunny
that delivered Easter eggs and candy. But we’re asked to perpetuate
this myth.”
While Rundgren is renowned for his guitar performances, it’s his
dexterity as a multi-instrumentalist that shines through on Liars. The
keyboard and piano often take center stage, so much so that “Mammon” is
as much a piano concerto as it is a Gothic chant.
“I was going for a certain kind of sound,” describes Rundgren, who
played all the instruments on the album. “I did start to gravitate
toward a B3 and Fender Rhodes piano for the central element.
To me it’s old fashioned, and I wanted it to resemble all my
influences….some Mose Allison, semi-Beatles things. And there’s always
a bit of Marvin Gaye in there somewhere. But I’ll always make a point
of re-interpreting their sound, not imitating it.”
“All of these songs are about a paucity of truth. At first they may
seem to be about other things, but that is just a reflection of how
much dishonesty we have accepted in our daily lives. We are raised from
birth to believe things that cannot be proven or that are plainly not
true. People will often brag of their honesty, when there is so much
they have simply chosen to ignore or leave unexamined. The fact is, we
are terrified of the truth.”
-from the Sanctuary Records Press Release March 2004

family album updated

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boy, am i loving my new Sony DSC-P8. i’ve been taking digital photos like a madman. now, getting all the pix transferred to my laptop and then to this here website is unfortunately another story altogether. heh. anyway, it’s been a hectic week as you might have guess but surprisingly, i did get some time to upload some new photos of the family including of course our newborn, Christian.
click here to go to the album.

birth announcement

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It’s a boy!!
Christian Lee was born on March 8th at 4:50 pm at 6 pounds and 1 ounce. the baby and mom are doing well. they should be coming home wednesday. :)

house update

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hooray! our house is finally “under contract”!

so, now where are we supposed to go? =P

added some new photos

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quick update: just added some new photos to our photo album. i finally got a roll of film developed that had shots from last year. :P

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