Friday, May 22, 2009

Todd Rundgren revisits his psychedelic masterpiece: A Wizard, A True Star

It was inevitable. Brian Wilson started the trend a few years ago when he performed the album "Smile" for the very first time. Recently, Van Morrison performed the entirety of "Astral Weeks" to rave reviews, as did Lou Reed with the "Berlin" album last year and the year before that.

So it was only a matter of time until the enigmatic pop raconteur, Todd Rundgren, re-visited his 1973 psychedelic masterpiece "A Wizard, A True Star", and decided to perform its British Premiere at the London HMV Hammersmith Apollo on 6th February 2010.

This is the album that literally defied the law of gravity when it was initially released on an unsuspecting public. The album clocked in almost an hour's worth of running time, and back in those days, vinyl albums, on average, lasted 35 minutes.

But forget about the running time shenanigans, think about the music.

It was insane but melodic, pretty but subversive, poptastic but bombastic, sexy but banal, exciting and futuristic, progressive and intuitive.

At the time, Rundgren encapsulated everything glam rock and prog rock, pop and soul couldn't fathom - a reason to live, and a reason to believe.

From the Technicolor "Zen Archer" to "You Need Your Head", "You Don't Have to Camp Around", "Just One Victory", "Just Another Onionhead", "Never, Never Land" to the essential "International Feel" ("I only want to see if you'll give up on me"), this was the album that made David Bowie do a re-think, and also made every half decent rock star throw the rulebook out the window.

So with great applause, I congratulate the Philly Soul boy for having the sheer guts to dust off the sonic extravaganza and let the new generation of fans get a taste of what they missed out the first time around.

If Empire of the Sun and MGMT really want to trip the light fantastic, this will be the concert that will help them trip the day-glo light fantastique.

Interstellar appeal just got more appealing.