HomeMusicTodd Rundgren's Utopia Rock Hometown Show at Tower Theater

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Rock Hometown Show at Tower Theater

Pop Break Live: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Words & Photos by Cathy Poulton

When the news was announced that Todd Rundgren’s Utopia was reuniting and planning a 33-date trek, hardcore fans must have lost it.

It’s been over three decades since the band toured the U.S. If that news wasn’t enough to get them fired up, they also announced that a 7-disc limited edition box set, The Road To Utopia-The Complete Recordings 1974-1982, would be released on April 20th.

Rundgren is joined on this tour by long time Utopia members Kasim Sulton (guitar) and drummer John “Willie” Wilcox. Originally keyboardist Ralph Schuckett signed on for the tour but due to medical reasons he was unable to do it and was replaced by Gil Assayas.

Rundgren had huge success in the 70’s with his solo career on songs such as “I Saw The Light,””Hello It’s Me,” and “We Gotta Get You A Woman.” Over the years he has also produced albums for artists such as Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Grandfunk Railroad, Meatloaf and a slew of others.

In 1974 Rundgren formed the band Utopia, and at first it may have seemed to fans to be just some type of side project. Numerous albums and non-stop recording and touring it was obvious that was not the case. Initially, their sound was very experimental, more along the lines of prog rock. The Theatrical element and visuals at their shows became legendary. Forever the genre bender, Rundgren’s Utopia switched gears and went for a more new wave/power pop sound that was met with success.

It’s no secret that Todd Rundgren is a huge cult rock hero in the Philadelphia area. He was born in Upper Darby,PA and returns to his old stomping grounds by playing the Tower Theater.

The band played for over two hours. They performed two different sets. There were a couple really great instrumentals. They also played a great cover of Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” and “Somethings Coming” from the classic movie West Side Story. One of the highlights of the set was Rundgrens’s passionate vocals on “The Wheel”. The second set included some pure power pop stuff that got the crowd dancing and singing along with “Love In Action” and “Hammer in My Heart.” There was a great guitar solo on “Trapped” but it was the  heartfelt version of “Love is the Answer” that really won the crowd over. The encore was the popular “Just One Victory.”

Anytime an artist plays a “hometown” show there is always a little extra excitement/energy in the air. You could definitely feel it tonight and it made the night even more special and memorable then it already was.


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