Thursday, July 24, 2008
Our high school-aged son plays guitar and drums in a local rock band. They've worked up to playing small venues around town and a couple of weeks ago played the Creepy Crawl near the Fox. The other guitarist in the band is from Fenton, and he had some of his relatives at the show, including a nice Aunt and Uncle we met for the first time. We're all there to support our young people as they venture out on stage in front of audiences.
One of the cool things about St. Louis is that it's very much like a small town. Bumping into friends and acquaintenances out in public is a common thing around here. Same goes for last night. Todd Rundgren was on tour performing at the Pageant (pictured above with bass player, Rachel Haden).
On the way inside, we bumped into the aunt and uncle of son's Fenton bandmate we met a couple weeks earlier at the Creepy Crawl. Turns out they're old Todd fans too. For the show, we brought young son and his girlfriend. Between the two of them, son had never been to the Pageant, and she had never heard of Todd Rundgren.
Opening up was a 3-piece local rock band named "Logos". Not much older than our son, the band has 2 eighteen year old guitar players and a 22 year old drummer. Son and his date thoroughly enjoyed these guys. They were straight forward, high energy rock and rollers. So even if they weren't to appreciate TR, they had a music snack with Logos. Not to worry. TR would not disappoint.
He opened the show with a shout out to Beatle Bob and then went into "Love in Action". Todd's new record is called "Arena" and it's all about guitar rock. Nothing subtle about it and not an acoustic guitar in sight. The band had four guitars, four part vocal harmony, and powered the house for two hours.
We were on the floor, ten feet from the stage. At sixty, Rundgren looks great. Hopefully he still has a few tours left. One of the cool things about last night's show was the way our fifteen year old son and his girlfriend could see the loyal fans attending the concert. Most of these these fans have followed Rundgren for 30 plus years. It's like a big family.
If your impression of TR is mostly based on "Bang The Drum All Day", "I Saw the Light", and "Hello It's Me", there's a whole world of music he's created far beyond those popular successes. It's worth some checking around. Lots of old videos are on the net.
This was the 6th or 7th time I've seen him perform, and except for losing a little in his voice, this show was no less enjoyable than any of the others. Given the years of enjoying his music, maybe even more.
It was back in high school in the 1970s when we started listening to Todd Rundgren. And it was one of our friends, a great guy named Victor, who got us all started listening to him. Victor was a good friend, and remembering back, my first guitar student. We went to a couple of Todd shows together and even started our own band named after one of Rundgren's lesser known songs. I still have the T-shirt. This was late-70s, San Francisco Bay Area.
After high school, we all went separate ways. Victor moved across the Bay to San Francisco and joined the City's growing gay community. We never saw him again, but heard he had died sometime around 1982 from AIDS. He was one of the early victims of the disease. Back then, there were pretty much no treatments for it. At last night's show we remembered Victor and know he would have loved to have been there with us. He was in spirit.