Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren
The Roxy, The Sunset Strip
West Hollywood
By Victoria Joyce
Photos by Victoria

You know what’s crazy? This is crazy. Two weeks ago went to a big old Hippy festival called Lightning in a Bottle in Central California and all the music was EDM aka Electronic Dance Music. Ugh! I couldn’t find anyone who actually likes this stuff – so plastic, contrived, lifeless, and soulless. It’s not real music. More anti-music than music. It hurts to hear it. I don’t care if it’s popular. It’s horrible.

Get back to town and go to see Todd Rundgren at the Roxy. An intimate small venue show with one of the Top Five Rock Genius’s of all time, right? Multi-multi-mega-mega talented singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. And the whole show is guess what? Electronic dance music. Seriously?

The Runt did two hours and picked up a guitar twice. Twice! And no back up band. Swear to God. Then it hit me. I totally forgot he invented this stuff. And of course he does it better than anyone else.

Rundgren’s only backup was a young man named Dam Funk playing the computer and DJ’ed & MC’ed fromIMG_1827 a rear platform where the drummer should be while Todd tripped the light fantastic down front with the help of two hula dancers with 5 costume changes and throw in a couple dozen lasers and Jumbotrons galore. Two hours. I was exhausted and in tears at the evenings end.  Tears of joy of course.

Looking trim and wearing all black with that signature splash of platinum at the top of his still long hair, Rundgren just wrapped up his current tour supporting his 25th solo album: “Global” featuring songs “Today’s the Day,” embracing the constant now, “The Writing is on the Wall” about climate change, “Shout Out to my Girls” referencing wonderful womanhood and naming names like Rosa Parks. His songs are as beautiful as ever and so is the voice. Angelic.

It was good to see him on his own doing his own stuff again. Not that we didn’t dig him touring with Ringo’s All Stars or with the New Cars. No, not that at all. The Roxy was packed to the rafters. House demographics skewed older – and heavily female. Of course women love Todd. He wrote a song about using the telephone. And Todd played the hits. Wrapping up the show with some very witchy woman versions of “Hello It’sIMG_1804 Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends?” “Band the Drum” and “Love is the Answer.” Which were all amazing with the EDM music beds but personally, I missed the Glockenspiel.

With the possible exception of Warren Zevon, Rudgren was David Letterman’s favorite rocker. Sitting in and featured many many times on the late Late Night show. Check out a nifty YouTube video of his 30-year stint. Fun: HERE

ICYMI: Forget Al Gore – Todd Rundgren invented the Internet. Seriously. He was one of those guys. Rundgren was developing screensavers & animation for Apple in the 80’s when the rest of us were playing Pong.

And Google his record producing/engineering credits or better, don’t. You might break the Internet. FYI: Janis Joplin, Badfinger, The Band, Hall & Oates, The Tubes, The P Furs, NY Dolls, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Meatloaf. Bat Out of Hell much?

Additionally, The Runt puts his money where his mouth is with The Spirit of Harmony Foundation, Todd Rundgren’s own non-profit organization, supporting music education and music performance for youth.

Something/Anything indeed.

todd rundgren
spiritofharmony.org