The Second Disc

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Couldn’t I Just Tell You: Shout! Factory Premieres Vintage Rundgren and Utopia Concert

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We kicked off our week here at Second Disc HQ yesterday with a veritable smorgasbord of Utopia news, and today that feast grows even more bountiful!  The Shout! Factory label is joining the ranks of Edsel, Esoteric and Rockbeat as yet another purveyor of all things Rundgren.  Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75 has been set for release on April 10, and the 10-track CD (also available as a digital download) captures the first U.K. concert of the band then billed as Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.  Recorded by the BBC on October 9, 1975 and widely circulated ever since, the Shout! Factory release marks the concert’s first commercial issue.  The set features the line-up of Rundgren (guitar/vocals), Willie Wilcox (drums/vocals), Roger Powell (keyboards) and John Siegler (bass).  Once Kasim Sulton replaced Siegler in 1976, the “classic” line-up was in place.  Hammersmith Odeon is also notable for the presence of Luther Vandross on backing vocals, joined by Anthony Hinton of Vandross’ early group Luther. 2012 looks to be another promising year for Rundgren-related reissues, with Esoteric Recordings soon delivering Utopia’s “lost album” Disco Jets following a wealth of classic Bearsville releases from Edsel.  Rundgren has also recently signed with the Cherry Red imprint with the intention of delivering a new studio effort.

Perusing the track list of Hammersmith Odeon, you might notice some similarities to that of Another Live, recorded just a couple of months earlier with the six-piece Utopia group of Rundgren, Powell, Wilcox, Siegler, Moogy Klingman and Ralph Schuckett.  Both concerts saw “The Wheel,” “Heavy Metal Kids,” Roger Powell’s “Mister Triscuits” and Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” all performed.  Hammersmith Odeon, interestingly, offers both “Do Ya” and the Rundgren original “Open My Eyes,” first recorded by The Nazz.  It’s been said that Rundgren covered “Do Ya” as a response to Lynne’s band The Move covering his “Open My Eyes.”  The Hammersmith set also takes in songs from select Rundgren solo albums, including “When the Sh*t Hits the Fan/Sunset Boulevard/Le Feel Internacionale” (A Wizard, A True Star), “The Last Ride” and “Sons of 1984” (Todd, also original home of “Heavy Metal Kids”) and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (Something/Anything).  “Freedom Fighters” originated on the 1974 Todd Rundgren’s Utopia album and “The Wheel” on Another Live.

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing and pre-order link!

In addition to its historical significance for Utopia, this gig is considered by many Rundgren fans to be one of the artist’s finest concert moments.  You can hear for yourself when Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75 arrives from Shout! Factory on April 10!

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75 (Shout! Factory, 2012)

  1. Freedom Fighters
  2. Mister Triscuits
  3. The Last Ride
  4. When the Sh*t Hits the Fan/Sunset Boulevard/Le Feel Internacionale
  5. Heavy Metal Kids
  6. The Wheel
  7. Open My Eyes
  8. Sons of 1984
  9. Do Ya
  10. Couldn’t I Just Tell You

Written by Joe Marchese

March 14, 2012 at 09:57

3 Responses

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  1. Can’t wait for this! I saw this tour (one week after the London show on 10/16/75 in Frankfurt, Germany) and it’s still my favorite of the Todd shows I’ve seen. It’s too bad they didn’t do a double and release the entire show (they opened with “Theme From Utopia”, but I can’t remember off hand what else is being left off, if anything). My buddy and I actually tried to make our own boot of the show, but we were busted and had to turn our cassette recorder off for a while. The sound quality wasn’t so great after we turned everything back on. I still have the tapes, but haven’t played them in years. And it’s still the only concert that I’ve shaken hands with the “star” during the show – Todd came down in the audience during “Hello It’s Me”. Great memories – I’m really looking forward to this!

    Mark Bumgardner

    March 14, 2012 at 22:04

    • I was at this show but have fonder memories of the Liverpool show two nights previously. I too got to shake his hand but this was as I left a Who show the night before Liverpool. Todd was stood in the aisle as I left.

      Simon Rowland

      April 21, 2012 at 15:15

  2. My wife and I saw Todd for the first time at the Liverpool Empire show October 7th 1975 and it is still one of my (our) top five. I missed 2 LFC home games in 11 years after coming home from University – that night was one of them. Nice to have this album as a reminder although I had it already on a vinyl bootleg

    Paul Clein

    July 6, 2013 at 08:30

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