LIVE: Todd Rundgren @ The Egg, 07/19/2022

Not even the most ardent Toddie could have possibly predicted the set list for Todd Rundgren‘s show at The Egg on Tuesday night, the latest stop on his aptly named Unpredictable Tour: Melanie’s “Brand New Key”,  The Big Bopper’s “Running Bear and Little White Dove” with a snippet of “Chantilly Lace, The Proclaimer’s “(I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles)”,  ? and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears”, The Call’s “The Walls Came Down”, Little Feat’s “Don’t Bogart That Joint” and even Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”.  Unfortunately, a crazed mix was marred by Todd’s rough voice, which he attributed to being in too many air-conditioned rooms.  The 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer pushed through for almost two hours, adeptly backed by longtime band members Jesse Gress, Kasim Sulton, Prairie Prince, and Gil Assayas.

Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen

Rundgren has followed his instincts in his over 50 years in music as a singer, songwriter, engineer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, video pioneer, and computer software developer.  From his psychedelic garage band The Nazz to his early “male Carole King” solo success to his pioneering work with prog-rockers Utopia, Todd has mastered everything from pop balladry to experimental electronic synth-rock.  He has said, “…after achieving commercial success…I threw out all the rules of record-making and decided I would try to imprint the chaos in my head onto a record without trying to clean it up for everyone else’s benefit.  The result was a complete loss of about half of my audience…This became a model for my life after that.”  His impressive producing credits include such varied artists as Badfinger, The New York Dolls, Hall & Oates, Meat Loaf, The Tubes, The Psychedelic Furs, Cheap Trick, XTC, Patti Smith, and Sparks.

Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen

Rundgren delivered a substantial portion of the show perched on a stool and taking sips from a martini while delivering a lengthy between-song patter.  And he got political, “Vote, vote angry!  I’m angry every day.  You have to cultivate that anger until you vote.  Turn that anger into a vote!  Wake the fuck up!… And if you plan to vote Republican, please don’t vote!  And to those of you who may have taken some offense to this, I don’t feel your pain, in fact, I have a little message for you.”  At which point he and the band unleashed a jazzy cover of Red Peter’s “Blow Me”.  A handful of audience members left at that point and never returned.  Rundgren emptied a few more seats when he addressed the repeal of Roe V Wade.

Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen

Pop crowd pleaser “I Saw The Light” came early in the evening and the encore finally coughed up the hit “Hello It’s Me”, but sadly Todd’s voice had more bark and crackle than soul at this show. Todd Rundgren’s latest album Space Force, a collaboration with multiple artists including Rick Wakeman, Rivers Cuomo, Narcy, Sparks, The Roots, Thomas Dolby, Neil Finn, Adrian Belew, Steve Vai, and The Lemon Twigs is due out this year.

Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen

31 Comments
  1. Rudy says

    Nice review and pics

  2. Mary Maker says

    One of the worse shows ever at The Egg .

  3. Mike says

    Talking about mixing politics and music, I’m looking forward to the review of tonight’s Roger Waters concert @ the Arena.

  4. Trey Says says

    To the reviewer: Sorry you decided to dwell on Todd’s vocal infirmity as opposed to his not only soldiering on, but doing so with humor and class. To the people he offended who left: Todd did wax political at perhaps too great a length, and while everybody there seemed to really enjoy the show, i can understand why you may have left. Hope everybody can still enjoy the amazing stuff he has done over the years.

  5. Patricia Botka says

    I saw Todd Rundgren on July 9th in Elkhart. I enjoyed the concert, I was in the 1st row, but I was disappointed that he didn’t perform a few of his classic hits

  6. Kim Theesen says

    I’m what you might call a “most ardent Toddie”… got all the solo and Utopia records, and seen him perform two dozen times over 40-plus years. Except for one song (“Butter on a Pop-Tart”) this tour has been more than predictable. All of the songs you mentioned by Melanie, The Big Bopper, The Call, and so on, have been played in his previous “Unpredictable” tours. Except for “Fascist Christ” (1993) and “Buffalo Grass” (2000), the original songs in the set were all from 1982 or earlier. It’s quite frustrating for us “ardent Toddies” who love the old stuff but know there are nearly three-dozen albums with hundreds of songs from which to choose. But Todd picks “Patches” and “Muskrat Love.” SPACE FORCE should have been out in the summer of ’21 and he promoted it by playing nothing from that record.

    Todd is and always will be an enigma. Many have been on the TR rollercoaster adventure since the 70s and it sure gets bumpy for those still riding along.

    Cheers!

  7. Jay says

    Yeah his voice was shot, but he carried on and the band was great. For those who were disappointed in the song selection, it was advertised as an Unpredictable show and you should have known what to expect. For those who were so offended by the politics you had to leave, you obviously know nothing about Todd and have never been to a show. He’s always been very liberal. Ever heard Jesse?

  8. Christel says

    Yikes… Todd keep your political views to yourself. Democrat or republican, I don’t care….but is Biden working out for you?? You’re part of the 31% that approve? Not a majority is it?

  9. EMA says

    Would love the chance to see him perform “Can We Still be Friends”

  10. P.R. Hornby says

    Todd is the voice that many times goes unheard, we his fans, support him…I’m glad he is able to tour..His mind never stops.

  11. Outerbanksdude says

    I started following Todd in the mid-70s. I always enjoyed and appreciated his shows, especially with Utopia. However, over the last few years he seems ro hace lost the rawness, the intensity of earlier shows. Plus, I hate paying hard earned monies to hear a musicians political stance. I paid to listen to the music. Come on Todd…just play the music and leave your politics at home or on Twitter.

  12. BE says

    TR is always great no matter what, and SPOT-ON regarding the politics. How can one (majority of Republican party) be climate change deniers and pro-gun? Crazy.

  13. Donald W Krylowicz says

    Last time I saw Todd, he started the show with the announcement that if you were a right winger, this is not the show for you. It does make the show more enjoyable when they do leave. I am now waiting for his new album and the next tour with the new music.

  14. V-D W says

    I guess the author of this review and I were at different shows, even though we were at the same venue.
    I’ve seen Todd 2x before, once solo — Nearly Human Tour — and w Utopia…. Those were very good shows… This was not!
    Ya, I know he soldiered on… I’ve played with guys who’ve blown out their voice during the night… and we had to soldier through too…. but we played on, extended the songs — jamed, if you will… We did not MILK the talk/banter between songs, as Todd did… Which I did not pay to see… (Don’t quite understand why he talked so much, when his voice was shot)

    He has a great band behind him, he/they should have played, let the fingers do the talking…. Todd also has a great musical director/bassist in Kasim… let him/them do their job n play — let them blow… as a lady yelled out, ” shut up n play your guitar” — very appropriate!

    As for you apologists for his political skree… I didn’t pay to hear his political opining!!!,… For someone who has written about love for all n peace, his hateful lashing out at anyone opposed to his political views, just revealed him to be a hypocritical idealog… He really should have taken the opportunity to point out issues that are common to all — Common denominators–
    Instead, he chose to pound the divisive wedge deeper, which just weakens the country as a whole… He had a chance to bring people together, instead he took the low road of divisiveness– again, in contrast to all those lyrics about love and togetherness… A real shame… Disappointment….

    And, to correct the sycophantic author of this review, it was quite more than a few people who walked out of the only 65% filled theater…. substantially more! And, yes, I was one of those who vocally threw it back at Rundgren…

    And, “Blow Me?” Really — from the man who wrote ” Can we still be friends?” Do i smell a malodorus duplicity??
    As a bass player, I was able to enjoy Kasim’s playing very much!! A real solid bassist! Not throwing chops all.over, just real solid, holding it down, supporting the song, playing — played on a beautiful Stuart Spector bass, which sounded great through his (weighty) Aguilar/Ampeg rig (yes, I had binoculars)…
    That was a treat for me, despite Todd’s unprofessional behavior…
    I first caught Kasim on a Steve Hillage album, pre Utopia… Have learned his stuff… Kasim, and the rest of the very able band, salvaged the evening for me, though my wife did not feel the same way! Oh, did I mention that seeing this show was for our Anniversary? So much for an evening of melodious music to celebrate 26yrs!
    All I can say is — Grow up, Todd, or stop snorting whatever it was that made you very obviously play with your nose too much — maybe that’s why you blew out your voice, it wasn’t just the AC!

  15. David Galda says

    Todd’s voice probably sounded bad because his heads so far up his ass. People went to hear music not his political ramblings. I’ve seen 5 or 6 Todd and Utopia concerts and now I’m sure I’ve seen my last.

  16. Mddalefan says

    Hey Todd, been a fan since 1972. But now, [email protected] off!!!!!!!!

  17. Greg Williams says

    l’m a long-time Rundgren fan, love his writing, & even got to open for Utopia once upon a long time ago. In-concert covers are ok until you waste 10 minutes+ of stage time with a audience-baffling piece of silliness such as “Running Bear”. You’re an iconic musician, Todd…please don’t phone in novelty tunes to fans who would much rather hear the music that made them love you in the first place.

  18. RG Geiger says

    Love the man’s music disappointed to learn he’s a republican hater.

  19. Bane says

    I don’t need a “rich entertainer” to tell me to vote 🤣🤣🤣and vote for who for fuck sake 🤣🤣🤣

  20. Ray says

    The man holding the mic and trying to get people to wake up is doing something that needs to be done by a lot more celebs. It’s time to admit that voting a supposed businessman into the White House was good idea but wrong businessman. We don’t need a King. The idea that someone thinks Trump walks on water is truly sick! So, admit you got the wrong guy and move on to someone who can be respected. Yes, there are a few left.

  21. Sarah says

    So much for inclusion …..and so much for diversity…..what a horrible person Todd is. Why doesn’t he give money back or be upfront that he hates certain groups so they won’t buy ticket. I guess we cannot still be friends. He sucks.

  22. Cynthia D. says

    I’ve seen Todd about 15 times since 1980. It’s never unusual to hear TR stating his point of view and I think that’s fine. I can handle his thoughts, whether or not I agree with him. I do not expect everyone share my POV. However, when Todd goes on and on, using up valuable set list minutes, I become somewhat frustrated. I think at 74 year old, TR should be able to understand that not everyone shares his beliefs. When his opinions become insulting, he’s good too far. Unfortunately that evening, his chatter went on ad nauseam.

    When The Egg show was announced, I was not too thrilled it billed as an “Unpredictable” show since, as predicted, it’s was filled with fluff that I don’t particularly care for…but, I was willing to come for the rest of his setlist and see the guys in the band play their hearts out. By the way, I cannot tell you how happy I was to see Jesse looking so fit and well again! Good for you, Jesse Gress!

    Regarding Todd’s vocal issues that night, I understand that sort of thing happens. In fact, excessive AC does not agree with either.
    However, when vocalists are having problems, unnecessary talking should be avoided. Oh, the opposite happened at this show! Also, it was a bad night for his martini prop, since alcohol causes dehydration and takes moisture from a singer’s throat. It can actually increase a vocalist’s raspy sound…also, really not needed that evening.

    Kasim, Jesse, Prairie, and Gil were stellar that evening. Their collective talents could have easily handled some jams, while giving TR’s voice a rest. And why not utilize Kasim’s great vocals? Kasim knows Todd songs inside and out, many of which, he performs at his solo shows anyway. Todd fans generally are Kasim fans and they would have delighted in some Kasim Todd covers at The Egg. All Todd had to do was to graciously hand over the mic to Kasim for a bit. Fans would have appreciated it…a missed opportunity!

  23. Tom says

    He should have cancelled the show. Couldn’t sing a note. I left after four songs and I sure am glad I did reading this review. What a ripoff.

  24. Scotto says

    Poor Todd- at the MA show he was ruled by anger. It’s not really “Trumpsters” that got up to leave. I think many people came to hear songs about “Compassion” from one of the great songwriters of our time.. and they got to hear someone complain and rub in our face we can’t get our money back.

    It’s hard for people emotionally invested in an artist to find the artist has shortsighted anger to vent. We can totally agree with him while being put off by his anger and name calling.

    It would have better been called “the covers tour” since he played the same covers every night. It Wasn’t really unpredictable. But we did hear a lot of silly songs. Honestly, we all could have gone to any bar on that street and heard a cover band for free.

    I love Todd. I’ve seen him a few times.I love that he plays his new stuff. He is usually in the now. This tour was a bit self absorbed. Maybe he is hitting a new part of life – hey Todd “If that’s what you need, I will give you my compassion”

  25. Oh says

    Wow, Todd sure upset the bigots with his reasonable politics. Republicans are oblivous to the concept of basic humanity so it makes sense theyd also be oblivious to politics’ inherent ties to music.

    People are complaining about compassion but that’s exactly what Todd was advocating for. Silly to try to be friends with those that practice hatred as a personality.

  26. Cynthia D. says

    >>”Oh” said: Wow, Todd sure upset the bigots with his reasonable politics…<<

    "Oh", I think people need a break from the constant barrage of politics in their daily lives, no matter where they stand on pressing issues.
    So maybe the people who walked out were just trying to salvage what was left of a nice evening out.
    Why criticize those concert goers who were expecting a great show of Todd songs?…but instead, got Todd falling very short vocally and speaking way too long about topics they hear all day, everyday?
    I don't think their exit upset anyone, so why say such terrible things about people you don't know?
    Calling these people bigots is very harsh and unkind.

  27. Steve says

    Tolerance is a two-way street. I think Todd is super talented, but he has come far from “Just One Victory.”

  28. Homeless johnny says

    Wow! Lol first time I ever posted?? Anyway I had to chime in after reading all these comments (posts??). For only seeing Todd 3x I must say V D W 👌bravo! I couldn’t have wrote that better myself. Myself coming straight out of Philly I’ve seen Todd and utopia perform 30+ times.
    Todd’s never too shy to speak his mind whatever may be on it.
    Back in the 80’s saw a show at Fairmount park. He called that tour “Am I President Yet?” Just Todd his piano and his guitar
    Oh yeah and his Ray-gon. Showing his opinion of Ronald Reagan who was running again. I’m pretty sure he’s always been anti-republican that’s y I’m an independent well one reason.
    First time I saw Todd was 1983 I think . He was playing the chestnut Caberaute in Philly. Waited in the rain around the block to get in 2 limos pull up Martha Quinn? From mtv drove down from NYC to see the show but didn’t get in lol she didn’t have a ticket .we all cheered when she sadly pulled away.typical philly for ya. After I realized that it was Todd who assertively pushed me out of the way as he made his way to the dressing room via the front door (someone didn’t leave the back door open) carrying 5 or 6 albums that he must of got from his home in upper Darby.( One I caught was steely Dan). Todd a grand piano and a guitar. After verbally assaulting a patron or fan for yelling “hey runt play ##+#&/?!)
    The comment must have brought back bad memories or he was still pissed that he had to get in at the front door like everyone else and wade his way through a packed house to get backstage. Great show he mentioned how him and the guys from the nazz used to practice a few blocks away.
    Oh yeah and he was playing with his nose and snorting off mic.
    The minute he hit the stage. He (that night) apologized for the so-called frog in his throat . So nothing new being a Todd fan.
    Like it or not he still is a wizard and a true star.
    It’s sad and unfortunate to me when I read what he did at this show at the egg( wherever that is?) Sorry not a world traveler.
    Someone that you look up to and at one point was one of my heroes growing up . ✌️❤️🌼🌻Power

  29. Grassman says

    Kind of an uninformed review. As another commenter said, Todd’s been playing these covers for years at his “Unpredictable” shows. No surprises there. Not sure why reviewers write stuff without doing proper research.

  30. Cynthia D. says

    The venue’s description of Todd’s Unpredictable show made zero mention of any cover songs. People are busy and probably did not go online to check set lists from previous shows, looking to see if the billing was accurate on The Egg’s website.

    As for Leif’s review, I enjoyed reading his thoughts on the evening…also, his photos were great.

    Here’s the show description on The Egg’s website, again, no mention of covers, which could explain why some people were upset with TR’s fluff covers:

    >>At The Egg, Todd will perform his “Unpredictable” show performing a variety of music from his deep catalog – maybe songs from his days as frontman of the quintessential cult-rockers Nazz – perhaps his pop hits such as I Saw The Light and Hello It’s Me – or his pioneering work with prog-rockers Utopia.<<

  31. Kevin says

    If you’re dying hear him play Can We Still Be Friends, his tour with Daryl Hall starts Sunday and it’s probably still on the setlist.

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