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Review: Todd Rundgren's Official State Visit, The Sage Gateshead

Elder statesman of American rock Todd Rundgren was at The Sage Gateshead. Martin Ellis went along

Todd Rundgren playing guitar live on stage
Todd Rundgren playing guitar live on stage

Todd Rundgren is an elder statesman of American rock and this concert followed the release of his 24th studio album, State.

Centre stage was a plinth with what appeared to be oversized iPads and a microphone suspended from a boom.

A drum kit, mainly electronic, was placed to the left and the guitarist took up position on the right.

A backing track kicked the concert off and backing tracks dominated throughout the concert.

The beat was relentless and overpowering.

Rundgren danced frenetically, waving his arms, gesticulating with his hands from start to finish.

Throughout Rundgren's career, he has been regarded as an innovator.

This approach reminded me of Orbital at Glastonbury nearly 20 years ago. I wasn't keen on Orbital and I found Todd Rundgren repetitive.

Clearly a number of hard core fans who flocked down to the front idolised him but many others, I suspect, would have preferred less emphasis on technology.

The theatre and lighting were impressive, the self-obsessed performance wasn't.

Martin Ellis

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