A Wizard A True Star…Live!
Purple Pyramid Music / Cleopatra Records
Todd Rundgren – the maverick. Producer and one-man-band wunderkind! There’s so much to admire, from songwriter and singer to multi-instrumentalist, he goes above and beyond mere musicianship to being some sort of spiritual conduit for the full gamut of power-pop. But one of the things that is sometimes forgotten in any moisty-palmed Todd appreciation is his tremendous abilities as bandleader. And we get to hear one hell of a band here, as Todd takes the songs from his 1973 album out to the stage. Presented on CD and DVD, this concert recording from when Rundgren represented his challenging and magnificent opus A Wizard, A True Star captures the man in full flight and a terrific band that can spin these weird dreams and turn on a dime.
The first half of the album bounces skittishly from half-song to half-song as Tin Pan Alley and psychedelic rock shake hands through the medium of sensitive singer/songwriter and all agree to near-equal turns at the wheel.
In the second half we get the blue-eyed soul version of power-pop (Does Anybody Love You) and that terrific run through the medley of soul tunes – Curtis Mayfield (I’m So Proud) and the Delfonics (La La Means I Love You) and songs the audience can relax down into. Of course this audience knows every hiccup and jerk to even the weirdest and most wonderful of the songs here (You Need Your Head’s rock riff, Rock and Roll Pussy’s keyboard and guitar dueling, Dogfight Giggle’s inner-monologue madness of cackling electronica, You Don’t Have to Camp Around’s gay-punning singalong). So they’re already well on board before Zen Archer hurtles off on the shriek of a runaway sax, and still hanging on strong for Hungry For Love’s piano-driven, doo-wop informed sparkle, or I Don’t Want To Tie You Down’s softer balladry.
That one person could conceive this run of music was such a thing in and of itself, but to concoct it for the stage – some 35 years on and then still sound in such surprisingly great voice too…well, that’s Todd! And Rundgren’s most concise version of his brilliant musical madness still baffles and blows minds here in this finally-presented version of the live shows.
Still wizarding. Still being a true star.
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