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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Todd Rundgren

An Evening with Todd Rundgren: Live at the Ridgefield

Review by Gary Hill

This new live Rundgren album is quite strong. It features a show from his 2015 tour. That tour had him digging out some songs he hadn't played in a long time to do a career-spanning set. You really can't complain about Rundgren ever because he just such a good songwriter, but this set of tunes is superior. The performances are great, too. Not only does the digipack include the CD, there is also a DVD of the concert. Therein lies my only complaint. The DVD has some songs that didn't make the CD. I think it would have been better to do a double CD set and get the audio of all the songs on it. Still, it's a minor quibble because this thing rocks, and you do get the songs, just on DVD not CD.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
I Saw the Light

After bit of an introductory movement, this works out to a cool prog meets pop rock jam. I've always loved this tune, and this is a great rendition. It segues straight into the next one.

Love of the Common Man

There is a bit of a soulful edge to this one. It's a mainstream rocker that's classy.

Open My Eyes
Coming out of the closing of the last tune, this is an energetic rocker that really grooves.
Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel
Another classic Rundgren tune, this is also delivered with style and finesse. Of course, it's Todd Rungren. What else would you expect?
Black and White
A harder rocking number, this one stomps out pretty well here.
Buffalo Grass
Another energized, harder rocking tune, this is great stuff.
Determination
Based on a pretty classic Rundgren sound, this rocker is another strong one. It's not as hard edged as the last couple tunes, feeling closer to the opening numbers. There is an amazing bass workout later in the track.
Lost Horizon
With a jazzy section mid-track, this is one that I'm not as familiar with as some of the rest. It's another classy tune for sure.
Bang the Drum All Day
One of the most well-known of Rundgren's songs, this live version is energized and fun. It's a good time for sure. The bass gets a chance to shine on this one, too.
Kiddie Boy
More of an old time rock and roller, this isn't as much my kind of thing. That said, it's still Rundgren, and that says a lot. I dig the guitar solo quite a bit.
Black Maria
The vocals are the real star of this song. That said, the whole thing rocks, too. It's trademark Rundgren and just such a tasty example of it.
Drive
This rocker really does drive. It's another solid tune in a solid set of tunes. It's not so much a standout, but everything here is so strong that it doesn't mean anything negative about this cut.
Secret Society
The rhythm section leads things off here. It rock out from there into a killer kind of proggy mainstream rock number. There are definitely hints of fusion built into this. I particularly like the vocal arrangement on this number.
Love in Action
Another Rundgren classic, this is a killer rocking groove. The chorus is so catchy. I dig the false ending kind of thing on this, too.
Couldn't I Just Tell You
This stomper really rocks. It's packed with energy and vibe. Rundgren introduces the band at the end of this one.
Can We Still Be Friends
I love this bouncy mellower cut. Sure, it's an obvious choice, but it's also such a good song.
Hello It's Me
Another obvious choice, I've always loved this one, too. This live version is up to the standards that you'd expect.
One World
It might seem like "Hello It's Me" would have been a stronger closer. I think though, this more rocking song, does a better job of ending in style. This is accessible, driving and just very cool.
 
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