Not much has changed in the last 25 years or so since I last saw Todd Rundgren. Oh sure, things like the social media, internet and cell phones are the daily norm now but not much has changed with Todd Rundgren‘s music. The sounds that you hear coming from the stage may not exactly mimic what was heard in years past but the genius is still there, and was there Saturday June 13, 2015 at The Crocodile in Seattle.
What Rundgren brought to sold out Crocodile was an energetic, visually stimulating, mind-blowing performance that should leave other 66 year old musicians(he’ll be 67 in about a week) wondering what they have to do to keep up with him. That answer is actually easy, there is no keeping up with Todd Rundgren, he has always done his own thing. When I saw him that night in St. Louis it was more like a trip to the theater to take in a play and not because it was at Fox Theater but it was because of the stage set up and the roles that band played. Theatrics have always been part of his arsenal.
Missing but not really missing from this current Seattle show were jukebox renditions of “Hello It’s Me”, I Saw The Light” and “Can We Still Be Friends” but he did do these songs, it’s just that they were turned into modern dance numbers. It was kind of like going to see a musical that covers the music of Todd Rundgren and that’s just what I expected. Oh sure there were certainly a few )heavily out-numbered) people that probably were disappointed that he didn’t play the songs the same way they’ve heard them 6,000 times on the radio and that is certainly their prerogative but if they truly expected that then they A: Don’t know Todd, or B: have not been reading any of the show reviews covering the current tour. This particular tour largely covers the music from Todd’s 25th album aptly named ‘Global’ that came out earlier this year.
The Crocodile stage was bathed in array of vibrant colors, brilliant imagery and LED based lights that was more like a EDM show than a classic rock show. I have to admit that it was pretty awesome seeing people that have been on this planet for a half century or more, “bangin” to some pretty outrageous electronically created, pulsating music. The sound was off the hook and this musical genius pulled out all the stops. Built in the back of the stage was a DJ booth, just like you’d find at an EDM show with DJ/keyboardist Dam Funk, who got the crowd going from the beginning and never let up.
Throughout the night Rundgren danced, entertained and sang with the voice he has always had and trust me, he still has that voice. Even though on this tour the music is EDM flavored, the music still gives Todd plenty of opportunities to show off his still extremely strong voice and when he pulled out his guitar, he ripped and shredded like always. Flanked on either side for most of the show by a pair of dazzlingly dressed and greatly talented backup singers, Rundgren had just as much energy as people half his age. You really have to hand it to the guy, he is doing exactly what he wants and like I mentioned earlier, there may have been a few that expected this to be a “greatest hits” show but by and large the crowd loved every second of it. They were packed in tight to witness the spectacle.
Another thing about Todd Rundgren that a vast amount of people don’t seem to know about him is the vast amount of hits that he has had his hand in and his ears on. So he has had his big hits as an artist but as a producer he has worked with Badfinger, The Band, New York Dolls, Cheap Trick and Meatloaf to name just a few. That resume teamed with his own material, in my book, has earned him the right to do whatever he wishes on stage, however he wants to do it and how he did it in Seattle on June 13 was spectacular.