On Sunday evening, for the second time in less than a week, the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda was packed to the rafters to celebrate the music of a rock icon.
Todd Rundgren and his band offered a 23-song set of tunes culled from throughout the artist’s storied career before a full house at the Riv, a mere three days after former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and his band laid down an epic show for the ages in the same venue.
Rundgren – backed by a few of his legendary collaborators from over the years, in the form of bassist/vocalist Kasim Sulton, drummer Priarie Prince, guitarist Jesse Gress, and keyboardist John Ferenzik – was in full-on rocker mode for much of the set, which was punctuated by several incendiary guitar solos, a killer blend of vocal harmonies, and dynamic interplay between the musicians. Rundgren tore it up on the rockers, but he also, as has always been his wont, left plenty of space for gorgeous soul-based ballads, chiming power-pop, and the prog/new wave blend that he and Sulton perfected as Utopia during the ’70s and early ’80s.
The sound was a bit rough at the get-go, but once everything was dialed in, and Rundgren’s impeccable pipes had sufficiently warmed up, it was smooth sailing through a show that certainly satisfied the hardcore “Runt-head,” but quite likely gave the casual fan what they were looking for, too.
Here’s the set list.
I Saw the Light
Love of the Common Man
Open My Eyes (The Nazz)
It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference
Secret Society (Utopia)
Love In Action (Utopia)
Bang the Drum All Day
Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel
Black & White
Kiddie Boy (The Nazz)
Medley: I’m So Proud (the Impressions)/Ooo Baby Baby (the Miracles)/I Want You (Marvin Gaye)
Rock Love (Utopia)
One World (Utopia)
Couldn’t I Just tell You
Hello It’s Me