Joe Jackson and Todd Rundgren Wilshire Theatre May 2005


Record Boy has been a long time admirer of both Joe and Todd but certainly not a rabid loyalist, which both these artists have legions of.


This show was an opportunity to see each artist perform solo. Jackson came out first and sitting at a grand piano proceeded to gradually bring the house down. His keyboard work was spotless and his voice has gotten even stronger and more supple over the years. He filled the house with his energy from behind the 88’s attacking his 80’s material with renewed vigor and proving his vitality with newer numbers and even a take on a hundred year old British pub tune “Hello! Hello! Who’s Your Lady Friend?”


Todd’s set was more of a hit or miss affair. Playing acoustic guitar, he mixed songs from his latest album “Liars” with reworked versions of his familiar tunes like “When I Saw The Light.” Switching to piano he played an uneven version of “Hello, It’s Me,” and then switched to ukulele for a charming rendition of “Bang The Drum All Day.”


Later opening act Ethel (a mixed gender modern string quartet) came out with Joe on piano and Todd on guitar and played several more songs before taking on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” This sextet of musicians rocked the house like nobody’s business, emotionally and physically exhausting their audience. Quite a payoff for those in attendance as well as insight into why they inspire such loyal fans!