Sunday, September 23, 2012
JEFFREY MORGANíS MEDIA BLACKOUT #334
Sun, September 23, 2012 | link
OUT ON PAROLE WITH JEFFREY
MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #334!
OF THE WEEK: Todd Rundgren – Todd Rundgren’s Utopia: Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75 (Shout
Factory!) :: It seems that this album has been floating around the bootleg community in one iteration or another a mere scant
seconds after it had been recorded. At least, that’s what I gather from the front cover sticker which boldly boasts:
“First Official Release!” followed by the ever-mandatory “Newly Remastered From High-Quality Source!”
both of which most likely mean that the original multitrack master tapes are so lost in time that they hadda do a Pro Tools
restoration job offa some old audio cassette.
So the first thing you’ll
wanna know is: HOW DOES IT SOUND? And the answer is: PRETTY GOSH-DARNED GOOD! It’s a solid enough stereo job with nary
a tetch of tape hiss to mess up the signal.
So the second thing you’ll
wanna know is: HOW’S THE PERFORMANCE? And the answer is: ARE YOU KIDDING? THIS IS TODD RUNDGREN AT HIS PRIMO PEak. Sorry
about the shouting, but I’ve been juking the Runt’s toons ever since Ron Mael of Sparks was snapping his liner
photographs, so you can just imagine how elated I am that this long-lost performance piece has finally been placed on a platter—and
boy howdy, does it ever sizzle.
Always the brightest bulb in the box, Todd went
over the sonic deep end when he formed the galaxies-spanning combo Utopia—but who could blame him? Your fragile
little mind would snap too if you put out an album of one man band pop classics (Something/Anything?); followed by
a surrealistic serving that reconstructed the universe out of Popsickle sticks (A Wizard, A True Star); followed
by a torrid twofer which masterfully mixed heavy metal mania with Gilbert & Sullivan show tunes (Todd); followed
by a perverse party platter of cover versions which were so note perfect that you couldn’t tell them from the originals
(Faithful); followed by a single disc hour long instrumental exploration into the Zen chakras (Initiation);
followed by a severe song cycle about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Ra). Impressive, I know.
But Todd’s never been one to let his big brain get in the way of an entertaining show and
this album is no exception. He begins with the overlooked and underrated “Freedom Fighters” off Todd Rundgren’s
Utopia; gets his avantness outta his system on a ten minute “Mister Triscuits” space out; and then settles
down to a heaping meat and potatoes helping of songs you all know and love ranging from the power pop “Couldn’t
I Just Tell You” and the rave up “Heavy Metal Kids” to the anthemic “Sons Of 1984” and the ballad
“The Last Ride” to the toe-tapping trilogy of “When The Shit Hits The Fan” / “Sunset Boulevard”
/ “Le Feel Internacionale.” Oh, and did I mention that Todd also does the Nazz classic “Open My Eyes”
with Luther Vandross? At least that’s what he says...
of all are Todd’s abrasive solos, all of which start out as a savagely warped exercise in sonic brutality before they
transmute into an even filthier destorto mode that makes Mark Farner at his splatter gnarliest sound like Segovia—and
that’s definitely slaying something.
– Live Album (Capitol) :: EXACtly!