Live at the Electric Ballroom is the latest release in Esoteric's 'Archive Series', a live concert from Todd Rundgren and Utopia from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 23, 1978. The performance was originally recorded as part of an FM radio broadcast, and until now has remained locked away in the vaults. Coinciding with the release of Rundgren's solo album The Hermit of Mind Hollow as well as Utopia's Oops! Wrong Planet, the band dip into songs from both records as well as past favorites. The two-disc set has been mastered from the original broadcast tapes and includes an illustrated booklet with new essay notes and loads of live concert photographs.
The sound quality on this live set is pretty decent, at times a tad vocal, keyboard, and bass heavy, with Todd's guitar in spots getting buried in the mix, but it's still good overall. Throughout the show the band is in fine form as they dive into Rundgren solo & Utopia favorites old and new. Vocally, it's hard to beat Todd solo cuts "Real Man", "Love of the Common Man", "Can We Still be Friends", "Hello It's Me", "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference", and "Couldn't I Just Tell You", as not only are Rundgren's vocals stellar, but the rest of the band add in great backing vocals, making for a truly rich vocal attack. Never mind the fact that these are just incredible pop/rock songs with killer hooks & melodies. However, it's the Utopia songs that really stand out here, with the daring prog rock tune "The Seven Rays", the hard rocking "Trapped", and the punk/new wave aggressiveness of "Abandon City" & "Gangrene" showing just how well rounded this outfit was. Throw in a rampaging, heavy metal rendition of "The Death of Rock and Roll", complete with scalding Rundgren guitar & Roger Powell's sizzling synth, a dramatic "Black Mariah", adventurous prog with "Eastern Intrigue / Initiation", and dreamy pop on "A Dream Goes on Forever", and you have a little something for everyone here.
With his solo career and in his band Utopia, Todd Rundgren has always been a musical chameleon, covering many musical styles, from pop, to rock, to prog, to hard rock, to electronica, to soul, and so many others. This live set with Utopia from 1978 features an amalgam of these styles, and shows just why he's been a treasured force on the music scene for over 40 years.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. 'Real Man'
2. 'It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference'
3. 'Love of the Common Man'
5. 'Abandon City'
6. 'The Verb 'To Love"
7. 'The Seven Rays'
8. 'Can We Still Be Friends'
9. 'The Death of Rock and Roll'
1. 'You Cried Wolf'
3. 'A Dream Goes on Forever
4. 'Black Mariah'
5. 'Eastern Intrigue / Initiation'
6. 'Couldn't I Just Tell You'
7. 'Hello, It's Me'
8. 'Just One Victory'