There I was. Me, Supernurse, and three of the grandkids........sitting at BWI-Marshall-O'Malley- Dixon-Rawlings-Blake-Mfume International Airport......waiting for our flight to Austin, Texas. Gee......it was not that long ago that we had gone to Texas.....but here we go again. Hmmmm, this trip was gonna be special. Not only that we got to spend more time with Signtopia Expansion Pack 2.1 (newest grandchild).......but we would be there for our 29th wedding anniversary. My daughter, Noodle and her husband Number Cruncher had already told me that they just so happened to have acquired tickets to a concert at a club called Antone's, in Austin, for Saturday, July 19th. Ooooooh yeah...............it just so happened that Todd Rundgren was gonna be in Austin while I was there.
Anyone that knows me or has ever known me, knows that Todd Rundgren is my favorite musician. He has pretty much written and performed the soundtrack to my life. I have pestered many people about his music to the extent that I probably should have gotten paid for promoting Rundgren's music..........nahhhh........I would do whatever I can for free. Well, you can imagine how excited I was in anticipation of the show in Austin. Rundgren is not scheduled to take this show into the Baltimore area, at least not yet, the nearest show would be at the Borgata in Atlantic City in August at the end of this particular tour in the states this summer. Have I mentioned that I am a lucky guy?
Rundgren's newest and yet to be released "album" is called "Arena" and it is his take on arena rock. Todd has this thing about him that you never fully know what to expect from him with each new record. He has done it all and this particular album would be his return to a more rocking, guitar oriented style of music. Now look at the photo shown above.........does that look like somebody who just turned 60 years old and has been on the road and cranking out the tunes for over 40 years?
It was Saturday and the time had come. I had never been here before and had no idea of what to expect in regards to the venue. I knew what to expect from Rundgren.............and I really wouldn't care if he was gonna be performing in the worst of places. As it turned out, Antone's wasn't all that bad, except that it isn't very big and it was hot as hell in there.......then again......this was in Austin.
Okay.......so we arrived at Antone's to find this line wrapping itself around the block. Holey Moley! But this is a good thing though.....it is great to see so many fans for Todd. Everyone in line was nice as could be......very friendly, well behaved, and............uh...........well.............pretty much all in my age group......hehehe.......well....there were a few younger people and even some kids. Did I mention how hot it was? We waited for quite some time in line.......the line wasn't moving and we were supposed to be able to get entry at 8 pm and the show was to start at 9 pm. For whatever reason.....that did not happen........we waited for over one hour in line and finally we got in.
The first thing we did was get something to drink and go purchase a couple of concert t-shirts. Then we situated ourselves as close as we could get to the stage. Unfortunately, the majority of the front of the stage was already crammed with people but I found a space at the side of the stage where the sound and guitar technicians were located. So I had a side view......I ain't complaining one bit.
At the back of the venue is this "balcony/skybox" exclusive area for special people. I noticed that Michele Rundgren was sitting up in there. Michele is Todd's wife and I saw Todd in that "room" heading down the steps to hit the stage. While he was doing that, his wife got up and hobbled from one end of the section to the other to give him what appeared to be a "break a leg" smooch......hehehe.........it just so happens that Michele was wearing some sort of cast for her own broken leg.
The show was starting.
And there he was.......Todd Rundgren! It was instant glorious nirvana for me. He picked up his guitar, said a few words about the heat and Austin, and proceeded to rock everybody's world.
There was Jesse Gress on guitar, Todd Rundgren on guitar, Matt Bolton on guitar and keyboard, Rachel Haden on bass guitar and Prairie Prince on drums.
Both Jesse Gress and Rundgren, were busting strings.........literally........and those strings were replaced right there next to me. I had a good look at their guitars........particularly the green P-Project guitar of Todd's known as "Foamy". In the photo above, that guitar at the bottom of the picture is one of Jesse's.
They started off with Love In Action, Open My Eyes (Nazz song), Lunatic Fringe, Walls Came Down, I Saw The Light, Black Maria............and then hit us with 13 songs from the new album. Wow!
Non-stop........2 hours worth of flawless rock and roll.
Todd was in great form.....looked very healthy for 60........his vocals were in top shape and his guitar playing was blistering..........and he sweated in the heat like Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon during a grand jury investigation.
Normally, Kasim Sulton would be playing the bass on most of Rundgren's tours, but this time Kasim was already committed as musical director and bassist for Meat Loaf. While it was a bit disappointing to not see him here, Rachel Haden was a pleasant surprise. She can hold her own on the bass and her backing vocals were good........and what the heck........she looks alot better than Kasim......hehehe.
There is one very noticeable thing that occurs onstage during this show.............every performer has a particular look on their faces throughout the performance. It is the look that they know they are doing something very special and very serious.
I apologize for some of the burred images.......it was difficult to get the proper settings on my camera............and hard to hold steady when I am experiencing something as wonderful and awesome as this show.
I must point out Prairie Prince on drums. At this show, I got the opportunity to be able to see him in action up close. I gotta say that he must be just about the best drummer I have ever seen, He beat the living crap out of those drums and it was a joy to watch. A few times he had some problems, I guess, with some of the sound equipment, and while keeping the beat I watched him still be able to communicate visually with his hands and sticks with the sound techs. Prairie Prince has been touring with Rundgren quite often and he was/is the drummer of The Tubes.
He also is an artist and just so happens to have a sense of humor. He was dressed up in a gladiator outfit..........well...........what else would one expect from the drummer from the Tubes?
The show went on and the band left the stage......the crowd was ecstatic and demanded more........we wanted an encore and an encore is what we got!
Todd dug deep into the earlier part of his career and cranked out "Couldn't I Just Tell You The Way I Feel" which featured the old Utopia kick line. And then.......it was time for the Utopian National Anthem which is the song "Just One Victory"...................the hair stands up on my neck when I hear this one done live and in person.
Prairie Prince tosses some drumsticks to a small kid at the front edge of the stage............
And then it was all over.................I was numb and in awe.
Over the years, I have always said.........."Good things happen with a new Todd Rundgren album".
I have also said............"Good things happen with a Todd Rundgren concert".
...........I never lied about it then, and I ain't lying about it now.
"Shining still......to give us the will."