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Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – Benefit for Moogy Klingman DVD/CD Set

Review by Gary Hill

This brand new set captures two benefit concerts organized to cover founding Utopia member Moogy Klingman’s medical expenses. This is the kind of thing presents a categorization issue at Music Street Journal. Video reviews are done without track by track reviews, while audio reviews are track by track. Hybrid sets like this one (there are two DVDs and four CDs – which contain all the music from the two concerts) are tricky for that reason, Generally I try to figure out which feature in the main one. Here, the cover lists the DVDs first (leading me to assume that is the main element), but the CDs are first in terms of disc numbers. Ultimately, I’ve opted to put it under video, though.

In addition to the discs themselves, this includes a nice booklet, and separate cardboard sleeves for each disc. It all comes in a clamshell cardboard box. The first show was filmed in New York City on January 29, 2011. The second show was from November 18th of the same year. It was in Peekskill, New York. The staging and such were more elaborate at the second show, giving a bit more of an intimate feel to the first. That said, it never feels under-produced or like corners were cut. It’s just a bit less theatrical.

The first show is the longer one of the two. There are 17 songs performed in that show versus just 11 at the second one. The lineup of the band is a bit different between the two, as well. The first show features Kevin Ellman (drums), Moogy Klingman (keyboards and vocals), Todd Rundgren (guitar and vocals), Ralph Schuckett (keyboards and vocals), John Siegler (bass and vocals), Kasim Sulton (keyboards and vocals), Daryl Tookes (vocals) and Curtis King (vocals) with special guests Jesse Gress (guitar and vocals), Barry Gruber (vocals) and Patti Rothberg (vocals). For the second show the lineup is stripped back to just Ellman, Gress, Rundgren, Schuckett, Siegler and Sulton. 

The video and audio quality at both shows are quite good. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite concert of the two. Each has its charms. I enjoy the more down-to-earth vibe of the first one, and the fact that there is more music played. On the other hand, the second show feels a bit less like a concert and more like an event. I guess it’s a good thing they included both of them here since they each have such different vibes.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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