North Tonawanda, NY
Thursday May 19, 2016
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Many words can be used to describe Todd Rundgren. Words such as inventive, pioneer and genius are just a few that come to mind without even knowing where to begin. When describing the performance he and his stellar band put on inside the Riviera Theatre Thursday evening that was quite easy, it was by far the best Rundgren show this reviewer has seen.
Opening with the classic rock radio staple “I Saw The Light”, proved to be the first of many hits to come during the near two hour performance. The eccentric Rundgren generally shies away from doing these types of hits shows but as he stated following his third song “Open My Eyes”, “This was the show the fans would want to see.” He went on to tell the audience that they would not leave wondering if he had played a song or not because all the songs would be in their original arrangements.
Joining Rundgren were some of his long time collaborators, drummer Prairie Prince, bassist Kasim Sultan, guitarist Jesse Gress and keyboardist John Ferenzik. These guys were on fire from the first note and could have easily played for another hour without cooling down.
The show marked a return visit following the band’s recent stop in December. With the band being rehearsed to play from a selection of fifty songs, the set list was vastly different from his last visit. “Love Science”, “Lucky Guy” and “Number 1 Lowest Common Denominator” were just a few that were performed this time around.
The set finished very strong as “Bang On The Drum All Day” followed by two Utopia numbers “Hammer In My Heart” and especially “Love In Action” were the perfect choices to close it out. “Love In Action” was the one song that stood head and shoulders above the rest for me as the band played it with such zest.
Rundgren has played the area quite frequently going back the past few years. He quipped at one point that he should rent a chalet on the lake as he duly noted that he would be back to the area yet again in just a few short weeks to play with Ringo (out at Seneca Allegany Casino). I don’t think anyone inside the packed theatre would mind if he came back before the end of year to play again. A message to promoters-book it, the fans will come.
I Saw the Light
Love of the Common Man
Open My Eyes (Nazz song)
Can We Still Be Friends
Black and White
Secret Society (Utopia song)
Kiddie Boy (Nazz song)
Number 1 Lowest Common Denominator
Lysistrata (Utopia song)
I’m So Proud / Ooh Baby Baby / I Want You
Bang the Drum All Day
Hammer in My Heart (Utopia Song)
Love in Action (Utopia Song)
Hello It’s Me
A Dream Goes on Forever