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!)