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News update Updated 29 October 2005

TODD RUNDGREN: The Best Of Todd Rundgren Live

Photo Credit: © Jean Lannen

Track Listing:

01. REAL MAN (4:49)

Source: Todd Rundgren: "Nearly Human Tour" 1990 Sanctuary 2 CD set. Recorded in Tokyo, Japan (1990).

02. LOVE OF THE COMMON MAN (5:36) Source: Todd Rundgren: Disc one of set three of Sanctuary box set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago (1991).

03. I SAW THE LIGHT (3:29) Source: Todd Rundgren: The version that closes the medley on Disc 2 of set two of the Sanctuary Todd Rundgren Box Set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded in Dallas during the "A Capella Tour" (1985).

04. IT WOULDN'T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE (4:19) Source: Utopia: Disc one of set four of Sanctuary Box Set "Last Of The New Wave Riders." Recorded in Tokyo, Japan (1979).

05. SOUL BROTHER (4:46) Source: Todd Rundgren & The Liars: From forthcoming DVD to be released by Sanctuary. Recorded in Albany, New York (2004).

06. LOVE IN ACTION (3:58) Source: Todd Rundgren: Nearly Human Tour 1990 Sanctuary 2 CD set. Recorded in Tokyo, Japan (1990).

07. CAN'T STOP RUNNING (5:45) Source: Todd Rundgren: Nearly Human Tour 1990 Sanctuary 2 CD set. Recorded in Tokyo, Japan, (1990).

08. CAN WE STILL BE FRIENDS (3:46) Source: Todd Rundgren: Nearly Human Tour 1990 Sanctuary 2 CD set. Recorded in Tokyo, Japan, (1990).

09. WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS (5:12) Source: Todd Rundgren & The Liars: From forthcoming DVD to be released by Sanctuary. Recorded in Albany, New York (2004).

10. SOMETHING TO FALL BACK ON (3:40) Source: Todd Rundgren: Disc one of set three of Sanctuary box set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago (1991).

11. ROCK LOVE (5:40) Source: Todd Rundgren: Disc two of set three of Sanctuary box set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago (1991).

12. HELLO, IT'S ME (6:24) Source: Todd Rundgren: Disc one of set three of Sanctuary box set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded at the Riviera Theatre, Chicago (1991).

13. LOVE IS THE ANSWER (4:12) Source: Todd Rundgren: Disc two of set two of Sanctuary box set "Can't Stop Running." Recorded in Dallas during the "A Cappella Tour" (1985).

Product Information

UK Release Date: Monday November 21, 2005

Format: 1 x CD
Catalogue Number: CMRCD1235

Photo Credit: © Jean Lannen

Todd Rundgren talks about the songs on the live album:

This is different from my earlier 'official' live albums in that the performances are from a variety of shows. Basically, it's a production conceit to make it sound like it's all from one show, but they're from various venues and time periods. We go back as far as the mid-80's and all the way up to the last year (2004) with the Liars. We started out with that concept so that the selection of material was tempered by that idea.

It's sort of an unusual concept for a record…most of the time you just put out a whole live show. Here, some songs were recorded in small clubs while others were in a concert setting. The venues varied so much that it could be jarring going from one track to the next trying to adjust to the new acoustic space. To make it sound like a whole show we put audience response in between the cuts to make them all flow together.

In choosing the material and placing it in a certain order, and even in giving it a little post equalization and texturization, I was going for something that sounded like a typical evening of live music.



This is one of the more popular songs with fans… one that works in a lot of contexts. When I first began performing it we used a more psychedelic, highly orchestrated arrangement similar to the original recording…maybe with a bit of a Philly influence. By the time we got to capturing it with the Big Band (the "Nearly Human" era), it had evolved into something else, the high octane version represented here.

That's a song that I play in just about every context, solo to quartet to big band. We played it in Utopia for a while. I still play it in my shows. Never before or since have we done such a large arrangement of it, or an arrangement that has such an extended instrumental exploration.

This performance was the most problematic from the standpoint of the recording quality. We opted for this version because of the unique texture that the Acapella orchestra added to it. What's going on underneath is actually a taped version of the song…we had no band, only singers…. so it's pretty much the original track with all the vocals stripped out. It has a quality that somewhat resembles the "Nearly Human" era because of the number of vocalists (eleven people). It's an unusual sound. In some ways it's anomalous to have a gigantic number of vocalists singing over the original track that had a fairly stripped down sound to begin with. The thing that makes it unique is that we have so few songs from that Acapella era on this particular record probably because the texture is so radically different.

This is one of the very first songs that I dared to perform live at the piano. When I first started out, I was strictly a guitar player and never considered that I would be playing keyboards and singing at the same time. To make that change took many years. I first took the plunge when the early versions of Utopia were touring and I would open for the band myself. I would come out all alone and this was one of the few songs I was able to pull off then. So it's remained in the repertoire even to this day. It hasn't gone through the same kind of evolution that a song like "Common Man" went through in order to accommodate the big band.

When I composed this song for Liars, I was trying to recreate the kind of record that disappeared after the '60s…kind of like these live club recordings that would occasionally yield a hit single, say like Ramsey Lewis' "The In Crowd." Regardless of how large the venue is, we're still trying to capture a club atmosphere where everything is live and intimate.

This is a Utopia song that was written originally for an album called "Oops Wrong Planet." It was written in an era when we were tightening things up a bit and not doing as much jamming as we used to do. So the song has always been something that I almost feel uncomfortable playing outside of the context of the Utopia show. At the same time, it's a song that is so much a part of my musical history that I can't avoid playing if I have a band to do it with. It is definitely an audience pleaser. One of the memorable things about it (that unfortunately you can't appreciate on the record) was the high kicks that everyone would do during the solo part. The last time we did that Kaz stepped on his foot the wrong way and broke his ankle, so there is a little bit of danger associated with that tune, particularly if you're going to do the high kicks…and the fans know what I'm talking about!

Speaking of physicality, this is another song where the listener isn't aware of the aerobic exercise that accompanies the live performance. When we'd go into the extensive soloing at the end, I'd be running in place for however many bars it went on. It could get pretty exhausting. The song was originally written and submitted as a theme for the 1984 Olympics (obviously never used).

A big audience favorite even to this day. I never released it as a single under my name, but it was by any number of artists, including Robert Palmer and Rod Stewart. I always had some burden in performing it because of the other, more familiar singers who had taken the song as their own. I always made up the difference by representing the musical interludes a little bit more accurately. I think this particular instance is interesting for the sheer massive amount of vocals with all the Acapella singers participating. I succeed by sheer force as opposed to finesse!

I started doing it on Ringo Starr and Abbey Road tours, and wound up contributing it to a tribute album for George Harrison. It became a part of our repertoire on my recent tour with Joe Jackson and Ethel as well. When I first started doing it, I was singing it, but not always playing guitar. Sometimes the fans complain if I don't play guitar as well, so this version came out of our Liars set. I DO play guitar on this version.

These performances represent the Big Band in its heyday, although they are from tours at least a year apart. The recordings demonstrate how well the band fulfilled its mandate as a 'show-stopper' unit. The label is somewhat oxymoronic in that we never allowed any time for the show to stop. The object was to exhilarate to the point of exhaustion, so maybe 'heart-stopping' would be more apropos.

This is a song that some people consider the centerpiece in my songwriting oeuvre. Other people, myself included, sometimes consider it just an albatross that I am constantly required to revisit periodically because it just won't go away. In that sense, the version that we've got on here is the one that I prefer to do from time to time because it's more fun for me, as opposed to doing it the way it appeared on "Something Anything." It gives it a bit more of a big band swinging feel that I can ham it up a little bit on. Depending on the context, I will play it solo on the piano with a feel similar to the original album version, or if I do have anybody there to help back me up, I usually insist that we do it the way this particular performance is done.

When this song was first performed live it was done by Utopia (since it originally appeared on 'Oops, Wrong Planet') with Roger Powell covering the stratospheric falsetto parts. It's always great when I've got a unit that has some female singers in it so they can hit some of the terrifically high parts that get written for the records, but are much more difficult to re-produce live. In this particular performance we have the advantage of female voices to make those high parts nice and clear and not so squeaky sounding.

Thanks for listening!

Todd Rundgren, July 2005

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