Sunday, October 12, 2008

Todd Rundgren at the Tarrytown Music Hall

Just got back from seeing Todd Rundgren up in Tarrytown. For those of us from New York City, Tarrytown is best known for being at the eastern end of the Tappan Zee Bridge. It’s about 45 minutes north of New York by train, and I don’t recall ever going there before. It actually seemed like kind of a cool town, although all I actually saw of it was a few blocks of Main Street and the inside of the Tarrytown Music Hall.

I realize this blog is “supposed to” be about synthesizers and electronic music, but really it’s about music in general. And although I’m a total synth head, I have to say that Todd is utterly and completely my favorite musician. I’ve probably seen him a couple of hundred times since that first show back in 1977. In fact, in the past year I’ve seen him four times already: twice last December at the Blender Theater, once in the round at the Westbury Music Fair doing the Sgt. Pepper album and tonight in Tarrytown. He’s also doing another two shows at the Blender again this coming December which I’m going to.

Opening the show was Gillen and Turk. They’ve played all up and down the Hudson River Valley, doing both electric and acoustic shows. I hadn’t heard of them before, but I thoroughly enjoyed them and bought Backs to the Wall, their latest CD, in between their set and Todd’s. They played a relatively short acoustic set and were darn good.

Todd’s portion of the show was amazing. His latest album is called Arena, and he and the band played it from top to bottom (as Todd put it during the show). In some ways it was a bit of an odd show. They did six or so tunes, maybe more, and then did the entire Arena album after which came two encores. It wasn’t a bad kind of odd, but it was a bit different from his usual. The band was hot, too. With Todd was Jesse Gress on guitar, Prairie Prince on drums, Rachel Haden on bass (who’s birthday it was, by the way) and Kasim Sulton on keyboards and guitar. Rachel Haden’s new to the band this year, but the rest have played with him in various combinations for years.

It was a great show. For several years Todd did a “four man” power trio show. It started out with guitar, bass and drums, but they pretty quickly added a fourth in the person of Jesse Gress. Problem is, they still called it the power trio tour. It’s even worse now as Todd has added Rachel Haden on bass and in addition has brought Kaz back, not to play his usual bass, but to fill out the sound with keyboards and as the third guitar player. It’s still the incredibly powerful heavy rock of the power trio, except it’s a trio only in the same way as the Hitchhiker’s Guide is increasingly inaccurately still called a trilogy. Same spirit as the power trio, only it’s two people tastier!

For you Todd fans out there, he totally rocked from start to finish. Black Maria, the two covers he’s done lately, a golden oldie or two, all of Arena and then ending the show with Just One Victory. Unbelievable!

I’ve been somewhat under the weather for the past few weeks, but after this latest hit of Todd, I suddenly feel somewhat better.

(And, if you don’t happen to be a Todd-head please accept my apologies. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.)

And remember kids, when going to rock shows, don’t forget your earplugs.

(Sorry about the photo quality, but I forgot my camera at home and all I had was my iPhone. Also note that the iPhone mic can’t register higher than 105dB, so it was probably a bit louder than indicated.)


Synthejim said...

The Tarrytown Music Hall is great. I lived in North Tarrytown (now called Sleepy Hollow) for 7 years, and saw many a good show at the Music Hall. Can you believe they almost tore it down? Glad to hear about Todd, will have to check him out if he gets south to ATL.

Seth Elgart said...

I think Todd played down in Atlanta earlier this year in the Spring. He'll probably head back that way at some point, but probably not this year.

The Music Hall looked to be in pretty good shape. You could see spots where it definitely needed work, but there were lots of volunteers all over the place and it seemed well cared for. I'm looking forward to seeing some more shows there as it's a nice place and pretty easy to get to from the city.