Todd Rundgren - vocals, guitar, piano, tape recorder
This was a solo tour in every sense of the word. Rundgren hit the road in 1982 playing showcase clubs and intimate theaters with just his guitars, keyboards, and a ReVox reel-to-reel tape recorder, which featured backing tracks of his best known songs that Rundgren, himself, had played all of the instruments on.
Rundgren did this for a couple of reasons, but the economics involved certainly helped. It allowed for a very intimate evening with the audience, and Rundgren is very funny with his song anecdotes, but the performance itself is a little stiff, being tied to the click track on the reel to reel machine.
For Rundgren fans, this show, recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, combines some of his biggest hits with new material from the Healing album, which had just been released.
Highlights include "Love of the Common Man," "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference," "Can We Still Be Friends," and the brilliant ballad "Compassion." The show peaks with a lengthy medley that includes Rundgren's "Time Heals," Curtis Mayfield's "I'm So Proud," Smokey Robinson's "Ooo Baby Baby," The Stylistics' "La La La Means I Love You," and Rundgren's 1971 hit single "I Saw The Light."
Todd Rundgren first became known as the guitarist and driving force behind The Nazz, a psychedelic hard rock band that made very experimental music during the late-1960s. The Nazz made three albums for a division of Atlantic Records before Rundgren went solo in 1970 and scored a hit with the Top 40 song "We Gotta Get You A Woman."
He formed his own short-lived band called Runt with the sons of TV celebrity Soupy Sales before deciding to make a landmark double album called Something/Anything?, on which he essentially played all the instruments.
Something/Anything? yielded the Top 10 smash "Hello, It's Me," and several other songs that would become concert and FM radio staples. His next album was the highly ambitious, A Wizard, A True Star, which firmly established Rundgren as "the thinking man's pop star." He soon built a large and loyal following of fans that bought anything he released and went to every one of his area performances.
Over the next 25 years, he would write and record a number of successful albums, and some rather less-than-successful experimental projects, both as a solo artist and with Utopia. Many of his songs would end up being hits for others, including "Can We Just Be Friends?" (Robert Palmer), and "Love Is The Answer" (England Dan & John Ford Coley). He also built a solid career as a producer for The Tubes, Hall & Oates, and others.
Today, in addition to making his own music, Rundgren can be found fronting the revived version of The Cars with Greg Hawkes and Elliott Easton from the original line-up.