Thursday, September 16, 2010

morristown review

Todd Rundgren brings ‘Healing’ to Morristown
Posted by Kevin Coughlin on September 16, 2010 · Leave a Comment

By Kevin Coughlin

One thing you can count on at a Todd Rundgren show: Fans are no longer of an age where they must dash home to relieve the babysitter.

Which led to this wondrous scene last night in Morristown, after the curtain went down on the singer’s “Todd/Healing” mini-tour.

The crowd picked up where Todd left off, filling the Community Theatre for three minutes with the swirling, hopeful refrain from Sons of 1984:

Worlds of tomorrow/ Life without sorrow/ Take it because it’s yours/ Sons of 1984

The concert’s first half was a complete recreation of the 1974 double-album, Todd. Backed by longtime tour-mates Prairie Prince on drums, Jesse Gress on guitar, Kasim Sulton (of Utopia fame) on bass, Greg Hawkes (The Cars) on keys, and Bobby Strickland on sax and other instruments, and framed by a gorgeously trippy laser light show, Todd was at his theatrical best preening through goofy numbers like An Elpee’s Worth of Toons and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song.

Other highlights from the set: The anthemic A Dream Goes on Forever, the poppy Izzat Love, the heavy Last Ride and the soaring Don’t You Ever Learn.

At times Todd’s vocals were lost in the mix–always a challenge with so much is going on, musically and visually.

The real magic began in the second half, with the complete performance of Todd’s appropriately titled 1981 album Healing.

In our recent interview with Todd, he swore that a brush with death had nothing to do with this album. Whatever inspired Healing, last night’s crowd certainly seemed grateful for the effort.

Healing is a mystical, spiritual, ultimately uplifting body of work that sings about the need for Compassion, and our ability to overcome the Tiny Demons that test us daily. The joyful message was underscored onstage by the Princeton Pro Musica choir, and by lyrics from the hypnotic Healing Part I:

Listen, listen
Listen for the sound
That is not in the music
Only you can hear it,
Only you can use it
It’s the sound of someone breathing,
It’s the breath of life
It’s the sound that you are weaving
With the thread of life

Like Brian Wilson’s Smile, Todd Rundgren’s Healing is best absorbed from a live performance. The motifs and threads are more organic, more visceral, than on the recording. And it’s always better sharing an upbeat vibe with kindred souls — and kindred voices.

One more thing.

Todd, about that gig at Obsessions in Randolph back in ‘87. Where you refused to play Hello, It’s Me…

All is forgiven.

Like you sang last night, time heals the wounds that no one can see.

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