New Music for Old Rockers – Special Old Music Edition

So this show came to town last night …

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Again. It was here a couple months ago and sold out. Last night it sold out thanks to me and a couple friends being in the crowd. We were intrigued by the concept, but were glad our seats were by the emergency exit, just in case the show was a train wreck, and we did think that was a distinct possibility. I was especially skeptical of the inclusion of Jason Scheff who provided bass and vocals for Chicago in the 1980s when Chicago was cranking out sappy love songs.

Boy, was I wrong.

They all came out together to start the show with the first two songs from the album, “Back in the USSR” and “Dear Prudence.”

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From left to right in the front are Christopher Cross, Joey Molland (who looks a bit like a right-handed miniature Paul McCartney), Mickey Dolenz, Jason Scheff, and Todd Rundgren.

Then the show could have gone off the rails badly. Each of the five stars took a turn to play two songs from their own catalogs. So much for the Beatles. Dolenz performed a couple Monkees tunes for the millionth time, but this time with a voice exhibiting some wear and tear. Cross did his two recognizable hits with still stellar pipes. Despite his excellent vocal intonations, I would never want to see him in concert. He stands there, plays guitar, and sings. That’s it. Unlike Todd. Despite being an old fart, Todd strutted all over the stage as he shared a couple of his oldies. Surprisingly, the highlights for me from this section of the show came from Joey Molland and Jason Scheff. I got chills when Joey Molland started up Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.” What a great tune. And after Jason Scheff bored us to tears with a sappy Chicago love song, he just about blew the walls out of the building with a great version of “25 or 6 to 4.” Being the youngster of the group at age 57 (yikes!), Scheff had the stamina to stay on stage most of the night to provide a solid bass line and excellent lead and backing vocals.

Intermission came and gave us pause to wonder if they would ever play more Beatles White Album songs. They did. They finished the album in its entirety after intermission. Cross started it off with an excellent acoustic set of the quieter songs from the album including “Blackbird.” He’s got a great voice for McCartney songs.

There was a time we used to say “Todd is God.” There were still some signs of his godlike performing ability on display last night. He did a great job on the Eric Clapton guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

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And then there was Todd performing “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” in shorts … with pith helmet on … shooting a squirt gun.

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That was interesting. I sort of enjoyed seeing Todd just be a weird old dude rather than a rock icon. Can we now proudly say that Todd is Odd like the rest of us?

The show ended on a high note as Scheff gave a fine rendition of Lennon’s “Glass Onion,” a favorite of mine. Coincidentally, Glass Onion was also a name considered for the group that would eventually become Badfinger featuring Joey Molland. McCartney’s “Helter Skelter” followed, sung/screamed by Rundgren. “Birthday” closed the show before “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was served up as a tasty encore.

I would gladly welcome these guys back to town anytime. They put on a good show.

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Might I suggest a Rubber Soul/Revolver show?

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