Saturday, May 11, 2013
The Live "State" Of Todd Rundgren
The most consistent thing about seeing Todd Rundgren perform live for almost 40 years is the inconsistency. Much like his recorded output, you never know who or what will show up and the surprise is not always welcome.
The loyalists will no doubt recall the worst examples when the man would barely show up and unapologetically flub lyrics and chords. It was painful. Then there were the pleasant surprises when our man was focused, singing like the Todd of old, and generally acting like he wanted to be there as much as we did.
Last night's performance at NYC's Gramercy Theatre was the latter. This was a show where the performer was focused and clearly seemed to be enjoying himself. His voice was in fine form and there was little to complain about. The problem? It may have been the first time where he wanted to be there more than we did.
I'll wrap this up as I know the non-Todd fan reader eye-rolling is probably in slot-machine mode by this point.
Todd Rundgren's "State" is a low point in a very long career. I find it mostly unlistenable, and unlike some of the more devoted followers, I can't just pretend it's good and offer pats on the back. I see no point. I don't want to make excuses. Love is NOT the answer this time. What is being passed off as innovative was innovative 20 years ago.
For 100 minutes last night, the packed house was treated(?) to a very loud and uncomfortable and awkward "dance party." It was a throbbing mess, with a highlight or two among the cacophony and temple-splitting strobe lights. People cheered, because that's what Todd fans do. But people also left, confused and disappointed.
I hope this crisis will soon be over. It's not too late to begin aging gracefully.