Sunday, June 5, 2016

An Evening of Rock & Soul With Todd Rundgren at College Street Music Hall

Photos by John V
Todd Rundgren came to College Street Music Hall for two shows on May 29 & 30. The concerts were relocated from Daryl’s House, musician Daryl Hall’s venue in Pawling, New York due to some permit issues. I attended the Monday night gig on May 30, and as usual, Todd & his band thrilled the audience with a spectacular performance, and did not disappoint us. Billed as “An Evening With Todd Rundgren,” the set list consisted of hits, fan favorites & album cuts, all selected by Todd & the band. Rundgren’s music runs the gamut from ethereal love songs, crunchy rockers & soaring power ballads. The night kicked off with the classic “I Saw The Light,” which was followed by “Love of the Common Man,” and the all-out rocker “Open My Eyes,” a tune from Todd’s late 60s band, The Nazz. The rest of the night see-sawed between slower songs like “Soothe” and more driving numbers like the Utopia classic “Hammer in My Heart.”

As usual, the band was fantastic, featuring the supreme talents of John Ferenzik on keyboards, Prairie Prince of The Tubes on drums, Kasim Sulton on bass, and Jesse Gress, who provided some blistering guitar licks throughout the night. And Rundgren didn’t let you forget that he can jam on the guitar as well as anybody, providing some wailing solos, and moving back & forth around the stage with boundless energy. Todd was in great form vocally, as well. The “soul medley” where Rundgren performs “I’m So Proud,” by The Impressions, “Ooo Baby Baby” by The Miracles & “I Want You,” by Marvin Gaye, was simply stunning. College Street Music Hall is a smaller venue, and it was the perfect setting for Rundgren’s music, as evidenced by the rapturous reaction of the crowd, many of whom travel to multiple shows around the country to see him perform.

The show was filled with classic songs, including the radio hit “Bang The Drum All Day,” and a few more numbers from Todd’s tenure with Utopia, including “Lysistrata,” and the audience sing along “One World.” Rundgren shows are always an event, and the audience of loyal fans appreciated every note. By the time the band reached the encore, which included “Hello It’s Me,” and “Just One Victory,” Todd had treated us to another thrilling evening of music. These two concerts were his last for now, as Todd hits the road once again with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band for a summer tour. He will return with his own band to perform a couple of more solo shows in August. If you have the chance to see him, either with Ringo or on his own, you will be treated to some fantastic music by a wonderful artist.

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