After work yesterday, I went to the Todd Rundgren concert. He’s had a few hits that my generation would know – including “Bang the Drum All Day” (1982). IIIII don’t wanna work. I just wanna bang on the drum all day. IIIII don’t want to play, unless I get to play on the drum all day. I have worked at the Debartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC (DEE-pack)) and never taken advantage of my perks. The only shows I had ever seen at DPAC (or as I now know they say, “in the center”) were the musicals and movies. I thought I was both too good for and not good enough for the fancy Presenting Series.
It’s senior year – so I’ve been trying to go to ALL OF THEM.
So far I’ve been to Momix (weird), Triplets of Belleville (awesome), Third Coast Percussion (cool for 5 minutes), and the Todd Rundgren.
This thing SOLD. OUT. LIKE. HOT CAKES. We even opened up the orchestral seating which is behind the stage. People were willingly staring at the back of Todd’s head just to see this guy perform.
He’s a rocker from the ’70s and ’80s. I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of Rock of Ages (loved it). The first few songs were just him and a guitar, and they were good tunes! He forgot his own lyrics a few times and he was like “yeah, I forgot this part. It wasn’t highest on the priority list this week,” and everyone laughed. He said “my fans know about this kinda thing.” I thought it wasn’t super professional, but he is a rocker, so maybe it’s normal?
As the show went on… I realized why his solos were lowest priority.
For almost 90% of the concert, he performed with the Notre Dame community!!! No band of his own. At all. He performed with Halftime (my favorite student a capella group on campus), he performed with my friend Alex on piano (who used to work in the ticket office) – just the two of them!, then with just Kevin on keyboards (Kevin works at DPAC and chats with us at the ticket office every once in a while, we played ukulele once on a slow day! hahah), then with Kevin and a couple students, then he DUETED with one student!! They both sang and played guitar, then the STUDENT JAZZ BAND CAME OUT and that was awesome, then an ND alum who’s incredible on the sax came out, then EVERYONE played together and I just wanted to cry.
This guy is 68 years old (voice was still surprisingly on point) and teaching the next generation of performers. There was a soloist girl performing to over a thousand people with a huge band and chorus behind her, and she screwed up the timing on the first verse. I was terrified for her – then Todd improvised, then helped her back on track, keeping things light and fun – always, helping direct the chorus and band onstage. He’s here with his charity and teamed up with ND to raise money. He came to teach a class for a week (which I’m now thinking was not a traditional class but rehearsals for this show).
OH AND HE HAD AN ND GUITAR. Not just a guitar with an ND sticker on it but the metal guitar body was the ND logo and it was awesome.
Coolest part… How crazy all the 60-75 year old women were. Oh my gosh – it was the best!! There were old ladies screaming and waving their hands around – the woman next to be (late 60s probably) yelled out “TODD YOU ROCK.” It was a blast from he past. Everyone was so excited.
When he played “Bang the Drum All Day” I got so hype. I was so excited and bopping along and singing – no one else was. I was thinking, “Oh, they’re just old and don’t want to bop around anymore.” With more research, I realized that the song I know (because my dad knows it) was released in 1982. That wasn’t this crowd.
As time went on, he must have been moving back in time. Hundreds and hundreds of people were singing all the words to his last few songs.
The show stopper was “Hello It’s Me.” This was the “Hello” before Adele (2015) and Lionel Richie (1983). This was released in 1972… and the crowd…went…WILD.
Three hundred old ladies stood up as soon as the first few chords played. By the end, thousands of us were standing. He never had to sing the chorus because the audience knew every word. One lady in the closest box seat screamed with her arms in the air and I swear she was going to fall off that bannister into Todd’s arms – and she would’ve been ok with that.
It was so, so cool to experience this generation – the one even before my parents – come together with the next generation and have a BLAST with music connecting them.
(Experienced October 1, 2016)