I had some Hot Toddies last Sunday. Wait a minute, I don’t drink alcohol anymore (I’m in the damn Hall of Fame for my previous abuse, however.) What’s this all about? Well, it’s about a famous Philadelphian’s latest concert tour, supporting a new album called Hot Toddies. The tour’s name is the WHITE KNIGHT ChivalRock Tour, which as far as I can tell has nothing to do with Hot Toddies. Who is behind all this confusion? None other than Todd Rundgren.
Todd was back in the Philly area picking up some dough and having a good time. He brought along a group of tight musicians named Prairie Prince, Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress and Greg Hawkes and two backup singers/dancers/groove artists known as the Global Girls, Ashle Worrick and Grace Yoo. The band was challenged as they played rock, electronica, rap, global and jazz while Todd gave a grand tour of his historical musical output. He played songs from his solo days, Utopia, and everything up to the latest album. Phew!
I’ve already written about Todd as a Philly legend. His career as a producer is astounding, and he is an influential and ever-changing musical artist in his own right. But he’s also a video artist and computer software developer. The guy is a damn prodigy. His live show incorporates all of his disparate talents.
For a guy who is almost 70, Rundgren still looks great, can move and dance, and was even a master of the costume change. Sometimes he just sang, sometimes he just played guitar, and sometimes he did both. Check out the photos: I captured him in a bunch of different outfits, and he played his encore barefoot. I am struggling with whether that hair color is natural, but hey, at least he still has a headful. An incredibly talented musician (he played all the instruments on his 1970s era double album Something/Anything), he ripped a few solo leads on the guitar that had the crowd howling.
The crowd was appreciative, but not exactly up and jamming. Most of them appeared to qualify for full social security benefits, but at least they were still out there having fun and not at home bitching about how old they are and their body ain’t what it used to be. Whose body is what it used to be? Mine benefitted from all of those years sitting atop barstools rather than abusing it with real work.
The show was at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, which features seating in a renovated movie-theatre setting. It could use some sprucing up, but Glenside is a charming little town very close to Chestnut Hill, and parking is free if you’re willing to walk a block or two. And it’s safe and you’re not required to take the grand tour of broken glass like you do when parking near Union Transfer and the Electric Factory. The Keswick gets some pretty solid acts. For instance, Squeeze just played there, and Southside Johnny and the Jukes are coming soon. Todd always plays there (I saw him there on a tour about 15 years ago), and he always acknowledges that it’s “Philly” even though it technically isn’t.
I certainly didn’t know every song that was played. In fact, far from it. Todd has a large musical catalog, and he drew from a lot of different periods. He went way back on his encore, playing One World from his Utopia period, and Hello, It’s Me from Something/Anything. He didn’t play Bang on the Drum, We’ve Got to Get You a Woman, or my personal favorite, I Saw the Light. But no worries, the show was highly entertaining.
The Global Girls were a fun add to the show. They had good voices, dressed in fun and sexy outfits, danced to choreographed moves for each song (including some that Todd also participated in), and added a spice not often seen in rock shows. Similarly, there were some interesting visuals that were used throughout the show, from videos to psychedelic projections behind the stage. We had great seats in the 5th row, and that proximity always helps to enhance the personal experience of a show.
Todd’s show was the 3d night in a row that I was out tom-catting around. But guess what? There were still two more consecutive nights still upcoming – Morrissey and LCD Soundsystem. I’ll get to those soon enough, but let’s appreciate that The Kid ain’t dead yet! Oh, and I just saw a pretty solid show on 17th Century Dutch genre painting featuring Johannes Vermeer, who won the Thomas Kincaid Painter of Light Award well before Thomas Kincaid was born. If I’m still doing BRP, I’ll write that sucker up, too.
One more thing before I leave. BRP readership has been pumped up lately. I’m stunned that anyone would ever venture back here more than once, and I’m humbled that you keep coming back. Thanks so much! I like doing this just because it’s fun for me, but I’m really happy that you find it worth your precious time to swing by every now and again.
Here’s a great tip if you’re pressed for time: log in and peruse BRP while you are at work! I learned a long time ago that the perception of working like a dog is more important than the reality. That doesn’t mean that you come in telling your boss how hard you work – the boss never believes it anyway. Rather, you cultivate the perception of being a workhorse by being in the office, hunkering over your computer, hitting the keys, and grunting now and again. Your boss will walk by and go “good, working for once,” when, in reality, you are just messing around, as usual. So reading BRP at work is a damn two-fer! You have fun, and you stick it to the greedy and insatiable Man. And no worries about the workload – it will still be there looking you in the eye tomorrow. I’m seriously thinking about telling the Man to take his job and shove it.
That does it for me for this show and this post. It’s getting close to Christmas, and that means I better start working on my holiday list. Believe it or not, I already have tickets for a show that takes place in September 2018. How about you? Get your shopping done, and yes, I will go to that show with you if you’re springing for the tickets.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.