September 3, 2015 Todd Rundgren Entrances The Paramount Huntington, NY 8-18-15
Todd Rundgren is a household name. Having been in the music scene since the late 1960’s, he is a performer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and video engineer that music fans love, as well as respect. Spending his early days in a handful of bands, including Utopia, Rundgren began a solo career in 1970 with his debut album Runt, and since has spent time in The New Cars, and most recently rocked with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Best know as a Rock artist, one can not simply pigeonhole him into just one genre of music. Those that have followed him closely over the years know, when coming out to see him live, not to expect a typical nostalgic performance of his classic songs as he is ever-changing and reinventing himself. With that said, Rundgren has an obvious love for technology and embraces it in his music, which can clearly be heard in his newest solo album, Global. No stranger to The Paramount, Rundgren returned to Huntington, New York for a stop on his Global Tour on Tuesday, August 18th, with DJ Reggie B on the SP-404 and keyboards, and two backup singers and dancers, The Global Girls, Ashle Worrick and Grace Yoo.
The night began with DJ Reggie B spinning a tune and rapping for the audience. Preparing for Todd Rundgren’s appearance, he asks, “Are you all ready for Todd Rundgren?” The reply was an astounding “Yes!” Reggie B taunted the audience some more and soon came running out on stage was Rundgren and The Global Girls. Cranking out “Everybody” off Global, Rundgren quickly put a stop to the show, citing a technical difficulty; he and The Global Girls walked off stage. After several minutes, the stage lights were back on and they returned to the stage even stronger. Continuing with new releases, they performed “Flesh and Blood” and “Rise,” but then went back in time to “Truth” off of Liars from 2004, then “Secret Society” off of Utopia’s final album in 1985, POV.
Reggie B and The Global Girls left the stage so that Rundgren could perform solo as he sang and played guitar to “Ping Me” from his prior solo release in 2013, State. Reggie B and The Global Girls did return to the stage though after The Girls had their first of many costume changes of the evening, to play two more songs off Global, “Earth Mother” and “Skyscraper.” Jumping back to State, they did “Party Liquor” as carnival scenery played on the video screens. Midway through the song, Rundgren encouraged the audience to put their hands in the air, and before he knew it, they were jumping along with him and The Global Girls to the beat. In unison, everyone had their hands in the air and their feet off the ground. Each time they landed, the floor shook like a mild earthquake was taking place. Taking it down a bit, The Global Girls stepped back into the shadows so all they were was silhouettes, they put up the hoods on the hoodies and simply stood, facing each other as they sang backup to “Blind” off the current release.
Keeping the energy high, “Smoke,” with its thick drum beat, had the audience clapping along. It was so heavy, they could literally feel the beat inside their core. Midway though the song, Rundgren did a very freestyle dance in which he mimicked smoke rising by joining his hand closely and raising and lowering them above his head as he waved his hands in a whirling smoke like pattern. The audience could not get enough, some of them joining in on the dance while others screamed and cheered. The Global Girls took that opportunity for another costume change, and this time, returned dressed as Belly Dancers. They performed several new releases such as “Holyland,” where nature scenes played on the screens, “Terra Firms,” and “This Island Earth.”
Continuing to engage the room, Reggie B now asked the audience, “Are You Ready?,” and they swiftly replied “Yes!” Feeling the beat consuming them again was “Today” from Rundgren’s 2008 release, Arena. He then took the audience back to 1982 with another Utopia song “One World” from Swing To The Right. A day-glow cartoon world played on the video screens as Rundgren bounced in time with the beat, the audience again bouncing along in time with him. “Future,” from Liars, had a techno feel with computer generated 01’s flashing on the screens as Rundgren and The Global Girls did a Robot Dance in unison midway through the song. They played the new release “Global Nation,” and then Reggie B and The Girls left the stage. Rundgren performed another new release, “Soothe,” which was a favorite amongst several female audience members as they found their way to the stage to sing and sway along to the song.
Another costume change brought The Global Girls and Reggie B back out. This time Rundgren announces, “Now it’s time for the wheel to turn,” and then they did a compilation of some of his most popular hits, but not as some fans may have expected to hear them. Continuing with the upbeat, funky dance feel, the audience was not fooled once they heard those familiar lyrics, and they had no problem keeping up and singing along with Rundgren to “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw The Light,” both off of 1972’s Something/Anything?, as well as “Can We Still Be Friends” from 1978’s Hermit Of Mink Hollow.
Closing out the energy-packed evening with “Worldwide Epiphany” off 1993’s No World Order before Rundgren simply said, “Thank You,” and they all leave the stage. The audience would have none of that though, as they wanted more and they had no problem screaming at the tops of their lungs for it. Shortly after, Reggie B came back to his station to ask the audience to, “Make some noise for Todd!” After a few moments of screaming and cheering, Rundgren, and The Global Girls, return to the stage for an encore that began with “International Feel” featuring a rocking guitar solo that took Rundgren to each side of the stage as his clear acrylic body guitar had colored flashing lights illuminating from inside of it. Lastly, they played “Just One Victory” from 1973’s A Wizard, A True Star before the highly entertaining musician gave heartfelt “Thank you Long Island!” to the fans as they cheered away.
Rundgren gave an incredibly energetic performance that was second to none. With no intermission, other then a very short break before the encore, they played almost two and a half hours straight. Rundgren’s vocals were spot-on and he definitely held some powerful notes. It must also be said that he really rocked his guitar playing as well. With the added vigor from The Global Girls, keeping up with the beat that Reggie B was keeping down, they completely intensified the show. The Global Tour continues on till early September, but fans are hopeful that more dates will be announced.