Tag Archives: classic rock

Live Reunion of Pioneering American Band Utopia

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – Live At The Chicago Theatre (Purple Pyramid, 2019)

Multifaceted musician and singer Todd Rundgren is known for crossing over into various musical genres. His acclaimed band Utopia was a formidable progressive rock act, although later it morphed into a power pop band. Rundgren brought back Utopia for a tour in 2018 and this double album was recorded live during one of the gigs.

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – Live At The Chicago Theatre

The album contains a mix of progressive rock, classic rock and pop tracks. The most memorable are the progressive rock songs featuring recognizable melodies, fiery guitars and skilled keyboard solos: Utopia Theme, The Ikon, Overture, Communion with the Sun.

On this occasion the band featured Todd Rundgren on guitars and vocals, Kasim Sulton on bass, Willie Wilcox on drums and Gil Assayas on keyboards (Gil replaced Ralph Schuckett, who left due to health reasons).

Buy Live At The Chicago Theatre

Artist Profiles: Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren was born June 22, 1948 in Philadelphia, USA. He began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and lead Nazz, a 1960’s psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut album, Runt.

In 1972 he released a superb album titled Something/Anything? on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer. This propelled Todd to superstar status. It was followed by essential LPs such as “A Wizard, A True Star” and “The Hermit of Mink Hollow,” as well as singles “I Saw The Light, “Hello It’s Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends,” and “Bang The Drum.”

Todd Rundgren

Rundgren has performed a wide range of styles as a solo artist and as a member and leader of the band Utopia. With Utopia he released two progressive rock albums: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (1974) and Ra (1977), and a solo progressive album as well, Initiation (1975).

He is known for his elaborate and often- unconventional music, extravagant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. Rundgren also produced ground-breaking music videos, initiated forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

Todd Rundgren

After a thirty-year-plus pause, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia reformed to conduct a tour. Todd brought together Kasim Sulton (bass), Willie Wilcox (drums) and Gil Assayas (keyboards). A double live album titled Live At The Chicago Theatre was recorded in 2018.

Utopia – Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre

Also in 2018, Rundgren’s long-awaited autobiography, The Individualist: digressions, dreams and dissertations, was released by Cleopatra Press. The book documents Rundgren’s life through his 50th birthday.

Discography:

Runt (Ampex Records, 1970)
Something/Anything? (Bearsville, 1972)
A Wizard, a True Star (Bearsville, 1973)
Todd (Bearsville, 1974)
Initiation (Bearsville, 1975)
Faithful (Bearsville, 1976)
Hermit of Mink Hollow (Bearsville, 1978)
Healing (Bearsville, 1981)
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect (Bearsville, 1982)
A Cappella (Warner Bros. Records, 1985)
Nearly Human (Warner Bros. Records, 1989)
2nd Wind (Warner Bros. Records, 1991)
No World Order (1993)
The Individualist (1995)
With a Twist… (1997)
One Long Year (Artemis Records, 2000)
Liars (Sanctuary Records, 2004)
Arena (Cooking Vinyl, 2008)
Todd Rundgren’s Johnson (MPCA Records, 2011)
(re)Production (Gigatone, 2011)
State (Cherry Red, 2013)
Global (Esoteric Antenna, 2015)
White Knight (Cleopatra, 2017)

With Utopia

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (Bearsville, 1974)
Another Live (Bearsville, 1975)
Ra (Bearsville, 1976)
Oops! Wrong Planet (Bearsville, 1977)
Adventures In Utopia (Bearsville, 1980)
Deface The Music (Bearsville, 19800
Swing to the Right (1982)
Utopia (Netword Records, 1982)
Oblivion (Passport Records, 1984)
P.O.V. (Passport Records, 1985)
Redux ’92: Live in Japan (BMG, 1992)
Live At Hammersmith Odeon ’75 (Shout! Factory, 2012)
Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre (Purple Pyramid, 2019)

New Editions of All Three “Phenomena” AOR Rock Concept Albums

Phenomena

Phenomena, an easy listening rock and pop music concept album series envisioned by record producer Tom Galley and his brother, guitarist Mel Galley, is now available in brand new editions. The contributors were leading rock musicians like Brian May (Queen), John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), Glenn Hughes (Trapeze), Don Airey (Deep Purple), Mel Galley (Whitesnake), Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath) and Cozy Powell (The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow) among others.

Phenomena released three albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, and had a number one hit single in South America with “Did It All For Love,” while the album charted throughout Europe, in Japan and Brazil.

 

Phenomena II Dream Runner

 

Phenomena III – Innervision

 

 

The Phenomena series presents ear friendly, toe tapping rock with pop hooks and catchy melodies.

Buy Phenomena, Phenomena II Dream Runner and Phenomena III – Innervision in North America

The Neal Morse Band Powerhouse Live

The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 (Radiant, 2018)

The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 is a four disc set with two audio CDs and two DVDs featuring the powerhouse progressive rock act The Neal Morse Band. The band did a worldwide tour in 2017 and this performance in Tilburg (The Netherlands) is a live presentation of the concept studio album The Similitude of a Dream that was released in 2016.

On The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 you’ll find five outstanding instrumentalists. The music is a combination of epic progressive rock, classic rock and Christian ballads. The instrumental passages are top notch, with brilliant ensemble and solo work and the climactic sections that progressive rock fans enjoy so much. The vocal parts, on the other hand, are catchy, with plenty of pop hooks and sing along sections.

Religion plays an important role in Neal Morse’s life. The Similitude of a Dream is loosely based on a Christian allegory by John Bunyan called The Pilgrim’s Progress. This means that you’ll find Christian lyrics and messages throughout the album. I don’t think Neal Morse is trying to push any agenda, it is just a reflection of his current stage in life.

The lineup includes Neal Morse on lead vocals, keyboards, and guitars; Mike Portnoy on drums and vocals; Randy George on bass, bass pedals and vocals; Bill Hubauer on keyboards, mandolin, saxophone and vocals; and Eric Gillette on guitars and vocals.

The set is also available on Blu-Ray and digital download audio.

 

 

Buy The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017

Martin Turner Live At the Citadel

Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash – The Beauty of Chaos: Live At the Citadel (Dirty Dog Discs, 2018)

A triple boxed set by bassist, singer and composer Martin Turner, one of the founders of the great British band Wishbone Ash.

The set includes two audio CDs with the ”Written in the Stars” album performed live in its entirety together with a selection of the best of Wishbone Ash. The DVD contains the videotaped performance plus interviews with Turner and members of the band.

The Beauty of Chaos features an excellent band. Wishbone Ash was known for its excellent dual electric guitar and bass interplay and this band doesn’t disappoint. Martin Turner’s vocals are not what they used to. Nevertheless, he delivers compelling performances of Wishbone Ash’s most memorable songs.

Throughout the album, there is superb guitar and bass work, along with the equally good drumming.

Buy The Beauty of Chaos: Live At the Citadel

Life Begins with Argus Revisited

Martin Turner – Life Begins

Martin Turner – Life Begins (Dirty Dog Discs/Cherry Red, 2016)

This great 3-disc live set by former Wishbone Ash bassist and vocalist Martin Turner contains two audio CDs and a DVD. Although the material included here was available at concerts, this is the first widely-available version of this collection.

Wishbone Ash became very popular in the 1970s after the release of their iconic album, Argus, now a classic rock. Martin Turner plays some of the most memorable songs from that era, featuring an outstanding mix of folk-rock, blues-rock, progressive leanings and hard rock.

As with Wishbone Ash, Turner uses two electric guitarists who treat the listener to wonderful interactions and solos.

The lineup includes Martin Turner on lead vocals and bass; Ray Hatfield on guitar and vocals; Danny Willson on guitar and vocals; and Dave Wagstaffe on drums.

The live performance was made in 2010 at the Y Theatre in Leicester.

Buy Life Begins