Friday, July 23, 2004

More bad Uk gig reviews

The Scottish Daily Record today reviewed the Glasgow gig calling it "self-indulgent" saying "the music might have taken second stage to the theatrics, but that was no excuse for Rundgren's egotistical showboating. From Eighties-tinged cover versions to electronic shenanigans and lengthy jazz improvisations, some songs lasted longer than a set by the Jesus & Mary Chain" and that Todd " delivered a performance so OTT not even Derren Brown could predict if he was serious or not, though the fans lapped it up"

Glasgow's Evening Times reviewer also felt Todd was "self-indulgent" saying " for all the on-stage theatrics (multiple costume change and choreographed movements) something was missing - good, old-fashioned songs. The songs, taken from his rich back catalogue of 18 solo albums including his latest effort, Liars, ran into each other with little distinction. Even when he swayed between prog rock, rap and metal, it failed to hold any interest" finishing by saying, " For a career in musical innovation that spans 35 years, I would have expected something special. But on this self-indulgent showing, perhaps he'd be better off staying behind the control desk"

Sadly, Todd faired no better from Andy Gill in the Independent, who claimed "while the impact of the opening "Truth" is tremendous, the rest of the set can"t quite live up to it". He particularly felt the songs in the second half on the set were milked to death "Nearly all are extended way beyond their acceptable length, the set eventually collapsing in on itself during seemingly eternal versions of "Born to Synthesize" and "Feel It". It"s as if they can"t find a way to finish these songs, the band just vamping over and over and over as yet another solo is tacked on to the end in a show of preposterous prog-rock posturing. For non-believers - and even a few formerly diehard fans, as well - this was a gruelling service to endure"

'Strange' Liar review

The Miami Herald today has a wonderful short review of 'Liars': "Todd Rundgren, Liars (Silverline). Singer-songwriter plays all the instruments in his attempt to explain the concept of ''truth'' using chilly electro pop instrumentation. Strange. Available as a surround sound DVD-Audio."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

UK Gigs - what the papers say II

Martin Townsend in The Sunday Express could not have been happier about the London gig (Frankly about time someone was). He says "Rundgren is a superb performer. His frenzied but melodic guitar-playing reminds you why you fell in love with electric guitars in the first place and, at 56, his passionate, soulful voice has scarcely sounded better ... Rundgren re-worked arcane tracks such as Born To Synthesize into cheesy lounge jazz, stormed through The Want Of A Nail and performed vocal gymnastics on tracks from Liars, his new CD. He finished with Hello, It's Me and the anthemic Just One Victory. The capacity crowd - including Tom Robinson, Joe Jackson and Tony Banks from Genesis - were on their feet in sheer admiration. So moved was Rundgren that he even, briefly, removed his shades. Awesome"

Meanwhile, Campbell Stevenson in the Observer said of the Bristol Academy gig that things such as the WMGGW cover "break a set that is touched by brilliance"

Monday, July 19, 2004

UK Gigs - what the papers say

Fiona Shepherd in the Scotsman, while giving the Glasgow gig a three out of five star rating commented "Rundgren may be ahead of the game with his hardware, but his music is stuck in a time when rock dinosaurs and bass solos stalked the Earth"
Peter Aspden in the Financial Times meanwhile felt of the London Gig: "There were times during the show's first half hour when his attitude towards his devoted audience seemed to border on contempt: no chat, no smiles, no oldies, just a blitz of material mostly from the latest (very good) album, Liars, played at a pitch and volume that were anything but soothing to the unconverted. It struck me, and much of the restless audience, as perverse. When you have such gems - mostly unknown to today's wider rock audience - as "I Saw the Light" and "Hello It's Me" in your back catalogue, why not hook the crowd in early? Rundgren finally conceded the latter number as an encore, and the delirious reaction showed what an opportunity he had missed". He finishes by saying "It is surprising how few people know of Rundgren's work today, and a further irony that this sharp, subtle songwriter's most widely regarded achievement is as producer of Meat Loaf's clamorousBat Out of Hell album. But perhaps he has to shoulder some of the blame for that" Hmm...
Simon Price in Sunday's Independent, who seems to have enjoyed things a bit more went with "As he chops out the soul licks on his guitar with frightening ease and sings in a sweet falsetto which seems incongruous coming from a man of his towering stature, I can suddenly see just why Prince reveres him so highly"
John L Walters in Saturday's Guardian did not seem overly impressed, and seems to have put most of the fault in his two satr review with the band. " Former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince may rock, but he rarely rolls, and he can't swing. This is the show's tragic flaw, exemplified by a dire version of Green Onions. Rundgren's solo album material - even at his most rocky - has a melodic grace and lightness of touch that this band can't deliver. (Their backing vocals, however, are terrific.)"
The Times too, were not kind. Stephen Dalton  said "On record, Liars sounds pristine, its rhythms fluid and weightless. On stage, however, Rundgren's studio perfectionism proved impossible to replicate, and many of the new tracks suffered from a graceless delivery. Despite decades of forward-thinking eclecticism, the veteran innovator's heart is clearly still firmly grounded in 1970s progressive rock. This dazzling musical future still feels decidedly dated" He goes on " fter a muscular jam through the classic Booker T and the MGs instrumental Green Onions, tracks such as Soul Brother and Sweet sounded as flaccid as a cruise-ship covers band." and accused Todd of being  "unable or unwilling to deliver the simple joys of pop music -visceral, melodic, emotionally engaging"
Thankfully Andy Coleman in the Birmingham Evening Mail gets to the point in his review of the Birmingham gig: "The enthusiastic audience loved it" - We sure did.