Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Todd Rundgren - Liars Live|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
This DVD was shot in June 2005 in Albany, NY and features no less than 8 songs from the "Liars" album. Another 8 great songs from Todd's more recent history plus the classic "Hello It's Me" and a unique cover of The Beatle... more »
Pants-- and band-- on fire
J. Chasin | NYC, NY | 12/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"2004's Liars was a surprisingly grand record from Todd Rundgren, one so good that many of his loyal fans didn't see it coming. The subsequent tour essentially culminated in this performance, where Todd is captured with a talented and trusted band of musical collaborators. He's been working with this combo off and on since 1997; andhis connection with each of the musicians dates before that (bassist Sulton first joined him in Utopia in 1976.)
There are 18 songs on this DVD (the opening walk-on overture is included as a track), and fully 14 of them date from the 90s or later. For an artist who enjoyed so much of his success in the 70s and early 80s, this is a bold decision. (The four "old" songs are "Hello Its Me," Just One Victory," a wholly revamped "Born to Synthesize," and the Harrison/Beatles cover.)
For the true fan, though, this is a rare treat; the opportunity to see and hear Todd Rundgren performing new material with a hot band. And he doesn't disappoint. The appearance of Sulton, who has been back in Todd's musical universe since 1997, provides some real warmth on the harmony parts when they put their voices together, reminding the listener of some of Utopia's best vintage work. Jesse Gress does a lot of the guitar playing, handling the burden as Todd plays the rols of lead vocalist; he is fiery and yet coolly efficient (fire and ice may be a good description of this whole presentation.) When Todd does strap it on, though, his soloing is singular and spectacular; when he is at the top of his game, he is one of those rare guitarists who's ability to communicate feelings and emotions manages to surpass his actual technical prowess. At his most electrifying, Todd's guitar playing is reminiscent of Prince's best work (or perhaps more aptly, vice versa; the climax to "Just One Victory" is a hop skip and jump from the climax to "Purple Rain.") When Todd shreds here, it is a multi-colored revelation.
The new songs are great in the live context. Liars was an album that did not suggest live arrangements-it sounds quite electronic-and on several tracks here you'll see bassist Sulton, keyboardist John Ferenzik, and Gress playing collapsible white keyboards. Todd's voice is strong and emotive throughout, and the lighting and staging are hi-tech wonde4rs (although more impressive live than on the video.)
The show was presented in two halves (the segue portion-- 2 Todd solo acoustic tracks, and then the band without Todd, covering "Green Onions"-is not included here so the halves are less distinct.) The first half embraces themes of religion and cynicism, including his powerful "Fascist Christ" off No World Order (with some great playing by Todd); "Truth," "Mammon," and "God Said" off of Liars; and his Internet-released "Buffalo Grass," a lament on aging which rocks out, and which was included on One Long Year. The first portion ends with a scathing take on the title track of the album, "Liar."
The second half of the show is a soul revue, funk-meets-blue-eyed-soul. It begins aptly with the bottom-heavy Liars track "Soul Brother," reminiscent of Todd's Utopia tune "Rock Love," and includes two exquisite ballads from Liar, "Sweet" and "Past" (evocative of his classics "The Verb to Love" and "Fair Warning."). Other highlights are a soulful "Feel It," and a searing version of "Just One Victory," the old concert staple and traditional final encore.
This show and DVD are spectacular. That said, here are the things that might have pulled that fifth star out of me: (a) the inclusion of the transitional portion of the show, which helped frame it better as two distinct halves (you'll even notice the costume change); (b) more Todd on guitar (although what is here is gold); and, (c) if the band had chosen to emerge from the embers of "Just One Victory" with a slamming segue into the thrilling "Worldwide Epiphany," as they did when I saw the tour at New York's Webster Hall.
But keep in mind that I'm grading Todd as a current artist here, not a nostalgic one, and that might be all you need to know about this set.
Todd Tells The Truth!
Russ Bellinger | Bradenton, Florida USA | 12/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Definately buy this DVD. It is worth every penny. Todd delivers his best and most energetic performance in many years. Not only that, he covers the topic of truth and lies in our society and within ourselves and our relationships from top to bottom. His lyrics (and music) are pure genius. Too bad most people don't even care about quality music of this type. To me it is as vital as eating or breathing. Great show. A Funny blues version of "Born To Synthesize" was a nice surprise (kind of ironic in and of itself) to lighten things up. When I saw Todd do this show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater Florida May 2004 I was finally back in Utopia with my old buddy. Now I can relive the same tour over again with this DVD. Thanks Todd! What! Still no induction into the rock and roll hall of fame?!!! OOOOOPs Wrong Planet!"
"Underneath it all we are here together, shining still"
A True Fan | Northern Illinois, USA | 01/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am surprised that the other reviews did not mention the unique lighting for this show, so I will. Ever the innovator, Todd invented a way of using LED lights for a live show (another Rundgren first!), and he also designed the Gothic-arched structures that you see onstage in this video.
Apparently the LED lights were part of the reason for the very blue cast. The edited result is full of intensely saturated color.
I saw the live "Liars" show twice and wish I'd been able to travel to see more shows. "Liars" was the first fully realized album from Todd in several years, and it is brilliant. But Todd created it almost entirely with software on a Mac, so bringing the songs to life with a band of great musicians was an experience not to be missed.
My view is that going to a Todd concert is like going to church -- not as in "Todd is Godd" -- but rather the sense of relinking to everything that you have been before and everything you wanted to be, with a whole bunch of other people who are doing the same thing. Thirty years on, here we are again at a Todd show. It is such a pleasure to see him perform, to hear the gorgeous richness of this voice, to watch him stride and shuffle across the stage and to hear those passionate guitar solos.
The next time I have a bad day and need something to smile about, I think I'll pop the "Liars" DVD in the machine and just click straight to "Just One Victory"."
The best Todd DVD ever released
A. Featherstone | AUSTRALIA | 01/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This one is an absolute gem. I have been pretty unimpressed with TRs DVDs to date, most of them are just a rehash of the old VHS version with no bonus footage etc. Even the Live in San Fran DVD was lacking in any bonus interviews or any surprises.
Aside from having a great little bonus movie of TR in Japan, attending a function put on by his fan club, the show itself is pure gold.
I have not heard Todd in such great voice since 2nd Wind. He really nails it on this show. And its a great mix of the old and new. I certainly didn't miss Can We Still Be Freinds and I Saw The Light. Todd is so over singing those songs that he tends to change them beyong recognition anyway.
I do wonder how much of the band track is being played by the musos and how much is coming of computer/dat/mini-disc etc....but most bands do that these days.
The biggest shame for me is that "Afterlife" from liars was not included. One of the great songs of Todds career in my opinion.
Plus, TR looks great - quite the pop star still, even in his 50s."