Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1997 22:59:13 -0500
Subject: Belateder and belateder
Even though an indecent amount of time has passed since the historic Remember the Arizona show at St. Pete (it WAS Pearl Harbor day) and Orlando, I couldn't help chiming in with my two cents' worth take on the shows.
Warning: Self-indulgent commentary. Read when you are rested and ready for some diatribe-ation:
John S. and I arrived after a seven hour drive from our homes in Atlanta to St. Petersburg in time for rush hour. Reconnoitering a hotel while under the influence of the 'o drab streets of St. Pete, to think thou are soon to be invested with the divine splendor of Todd' , we ended up at the Jannus Landing, an outdoor venue over which arched the Metropolis-like Barnett Bank, a 20-story obelisk of greed stolidly brooding over the festivities below.
Anyway, Todd came out in pantaloons (not a sarong) and I was reminded, in my AWATS-era mellow stupor, of Menander, the famous Greek actor, because Menander represents, to me, anyway, a kind of archetype of artistic perfection, one unsullied by the need to imitate. Todd was drawing on that same kind of power, the power that comes from the will to recreate reality from one's own vantage point. Robert Johnson and Todd both must have met the devil at the crossroads, but I think in Todd's case he must have won the argument.
Todd was definitely in rusty form Friday. But knowing that he was struggling a bit made it all the more exciting. It wasn't like he was just in control... he was having to reach in deep to keep it going and continuously alive. So when he did a gimmicky number like Espresso, he and I both breathed a sigh of relief cuz it was obviously so within his comfort zone that he knocked it off with aplomb. It was the first time I ever heard the song that I really enjoyed it as a Menander-like pure spirit, just having as a subject espresso. It's the 90s, and you sing about your life.
Todd played a little of Fascist Christ and then self-deprecatingly said "You get the idea of that little joke' which I thought showed he was not prepared to stick his neck out too far on a night when he wasn't particularly sharp. He played Free, Male & 21, and from the title you'd think it was an ode to machismo, but OH is not so prone to the obvious. As an intro, Todd mysteriously said that Joe Orton, the playwright of Loot and What the Butler Saw, was working on the Beatles' second movie when he was killed by his lover. This is not possible, because the Beatles' second movie was Help! in 1965 and Joe Orton hadn't even written What the Butler saw yet, and was hammered to death in 1968, when Yellow Sub, the Beatles' 4th movie, was coming out. Anyway, Orton was gay and had sexual adventures that make the average x-rated movie look like the Disney channel, and I think the song is an ironic poke at the fact that maybe being free, male and 21 is as much bondage as freedom. All done with a Viking-song style jauntiness to hammer home (sorry) the irony.
Todd did Viking Song both nights and I thought both times he grooved marvelously on it, and shows how wideranging and fun he is :)
Todd did 4 encores Friday, because I think we adored him even though he wasn't so sharp, and Todd has something TO PROVE by encoring 4 times. He only encored twice in Orlando.
Sat morning, myself and John S. (John S. is awesomely mechanical. He is the kind of person you would like to have as a companion if you're stumbling around in the Siberian tundra trying to start a car in five minutes before you freeze to death. John would get the car started by manufacturing heat somehow and use the excess energy to charge his portable 3" cd recoder while doing so). went to the Dali museum, where I was impressed by the coincidence that one of Dali's paintings had an image of the outline of an ear used by Todd on AWATS. Then I remembered there was a song about Dali on the LP. I felt like a detective on the trail of our hero!
Anyway, we went to Orlando's downtown to eat, found Dream Police blaring mysteriously wherever we went, and I went to the venue where I found several diehards outside the embassy sitting improbably on capsized shopping carts. After a truly ennui-inducing hum & strum by a local opening act, Todd came out and cooked for 2 solid hours. Despite an apology beforehand for a frog, Todd seemed 99 percent in proper voice, and seemed a lot more confident. He played beautiful versions of Tiny Demons (still thrilling to it about it a week later) and Mystified. Black and White, a song I always thought was a typical arena rock song, gave you about 250 percent of the RDA-recommended guitar riff dosage and Todd even jumped sideways on some particularly stupendous riffing.
One World was another highlight, although Friday it was a bigger highlight because there weren't as many as Saturday. And I think the song sounds even better when Todd is just belting it out troubador style by himself. He seems like a messiah not averse to the occasional luau with a wonderful message. I always thought the song on Swing to the Right sounded like Todd's version of Peace Love & Understanding but not quite as good, but live it sounded great!
Afterwards the faithful gathered for autographs, but due to a plethora of ambulances everywhere, we missed Todd and, putting away our unsigned Todd artifacts, we blissfully drove home all night, glad to be alive.
In walks the village idiot and his face is all aglow. He's been up all night listening to Mohammed's radio.
St.Pete set list
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 1997 09:05:58 -0500
From: Robert Pluta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An Evening with Todd Rundgren
First the set list, then a few comments:
with the 6 string:
with the Macintosh, selections from the CD-E: Fascist
with the piano (a full grand!):
back to acoustic guitar:
Overall, the usual TR excellence. No surprises -- no guest artists. Venue was nicer than I thought it would be; a courtyard between two buildings with trees, benches and the like. The show seemed to a bit slow moving, especially during the first half, but I'm borderline sick fighting off a cold and fever. I also prefer TR with a band and enjoy the interaction of the other musicians. The sound was quite muddy in the bass and I thought the fact was really obvious. Nice crowd, as expected, hi Matt!
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 1997 22:28:06 -0500 (EST)
From: email@example.com (john)
Subject: FLA shows
Hoowdee, With apologies to Matt, Mark, Lori, and the fine ladies in 207, we (i) decided to forgo a little after show party and blow on outta there and back to Atlanta, but... did i bring back party favors for all? You bet your ass i did!
Most of the stuff turned out wonderful ('cept for some dumbass next to us who decided to tell the world and my mini-disc [no tape hiss here & Frank i'll send you CD copies for the archives] that he needed to go take a wiz during compassion). Most of the "I" and Cu-Base sounds a little bass heavy, but so did the shows, we'll see what we can do about that. All the acoustic stuff sounds REAL GOOD! I look forward to doing my part adding this little bit of history to the archives. I'll post when it's ready to go but reality says that will most likely be after the holidays.
Wait till you here these versions of Black & White and Secret Society! Totally incredible guitar work. He absolutely waaaailed on both these in Orlando!
Overall thoughts... the crowd in St Pete was more responsive (i am not refering to the Faithful but more to the locals), the crowd in Orlando got a better show and personally i had a wonderful weekend and was blessed with the meeting of many new and wonderful friends (Jerry, Matt, Mark, Lori, Ted, Sweet Emily, the 207 ladies, and the couple from Miami [and any others, i'm horrible with names] it was truely a pleasure! Lots Of Love To All, i had a great time, thanks see ya
PS: I didn't get Lysistrata, and a coupla others. I'll post with a list of what i did get with details in the next few days.
PSS: Gerbz, unless you saw behavior i didn't, i think the buxom young lady was simply Mary Lou's daughter. (more rumor mongering, we should be ashamed)
From: Gerbz@prodigy.com (MR RANDY B GERBER)
Subject: St. Pete & OrlandoBoth were excellent....In St. Pete, I thought about how nice it was to see Todd solo. I loved his band on the last few tours, but selfishly, I wanted to see a whole show of nothing but Todd on stage, and I wasn't disappointed.
A few folks on this list have bitched about Todd missing a few chords, or forgetting a few lyrics. I noticed very few "mishaps", but when they did occur, Todd had the class to laugh at himself; it added to the show! The venue in St. Pete was o.k.; the venue in Orlando was better.
In Orlando, the adjoining room was a disco, and the bass could easily be heard in the "show room". Todd had some fun with this, and proceeded to spend much more time electric (very loud!), then he had in St. Pete. Overall, Orlando was a much better show; better sound, better atmosphere (indoors), and Todd was in a great mood, though he claimed to have a "frog in his throat".
Todd took time at both shows to meet his fans, something that I'm always impressed with. This was my first experience seeing Todd solo, and I was thrilled. I hope that Florida always remains part of his tour itinerary!
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 1997 19:44:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: St. Petersburg / OrlandoIt occurrs to me after seeing the Todd shows in St. Peterburg and Orlando that Todd has completely shaken the "Rock Star Deity" persona that has plagued him ever since Hello Its Me became his most popular hit single.
Its a beautiful thing to watch an artist of this mans stature walk into a bar and perform these songs with the fire and passion of a cultural icon and the humility of the guy down the street who plays guitar at parties.
Thanks for coming to Florida and please come back when you have the time. Danny W. Mckee firstname.lastname@example.org
912-242-1292 200 East Force St. Valdosta, GA 31601
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1997 00:34:27 -0500 (EST)
From: email@example.com (john)
Subject: FLA Shows
Here is a list of captured moments: 3 stars- *** = sounds great, undisturbed 2 stars- ** = sounds good, chatty crowd moments 1 star- * = sound not so great (but not atrocious), or first coupla bars missing
The main reason some of the tunes are missing bits is i'm limited to 1 hour per show and there were things i knew were coming up but he started futzing with the song list and it was a case of "i gotta have that". The end result was exactly 7 seconds left at the end of The Wheel (the one thing i really wanted, whew!)
I will get this together ASAP, if interested give me a holler, i'm making a list, trades are welcome. If you want to wait to get back to me, don't worry I'll post again when it's ready, also Frank will get CD copies for the future, so that no one has to do without if someday i'm a gonner (FAT CHANCE). see ya john
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