Todd Rundgren's Utopia

Town Hall, New York City, NY

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia
Town Hall
New York City,  May 3, 2018
Article & Photos By Dennis Morgillo​

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, or just Utopia, are performing their first concert tour in over 30 years. It is a monumental event. The band also released a limited edition blockbuster 7-disc box extravaganza THE ROAD TO UTOPIA: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS (1974-82).  

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia formed in 1974 when Todd wanted to explore new musical horizons and delve into the world of Prog Rock. In 1976, the group evolved into the power-pop rock quartet “Utopia,” uniting Rundgren with Willie Wilcox on drums, Roger Powell on keyboards, and Kasim Sulton on bass. The band incorporated then-state-of-the-art video technology, produced at Todd’s own Utopia Video Studios, and featured some of the most lavish, outrageous, and audacious stage productions in rock history. The band went on sabbatical in 1986. 

Fast forward to New York City some 30 years later, and the Town Hall theater is abuzz with excitement. It is 7PM and the band is about to hit the stage. Utopia comes out with all guns blazing, complete with a dazzling video screen and costume changes. The band looks great and sounds even better. 

Then it starts. The phones come out. Our worst fears have come true. Technology has taken over. It’s not really the technology, of course, it is people that are the problem. People and their insane need to video and take endless photographs at concerts. Then the battle for power takes over. Security in red jackets and flash lights swoop down on fans to put the phones away. The red jackets are battling the phone zombies, yielding their flashlights like light sabers. The music is so good, but I am constantly distracted by the phones and flashlights. Whatever happened to living for the moment. To enjoy the concert and relish the memories. No one wants to look at your shitty videos that you took on your phone. What happens to these videos? Where do they go? Todd Rundgren has no issue with cameras, so this must be an overzealous venue thing.

But I digress, back to Utopia. The band is tight and spectacular. Progressive Rock at it’s best. The musicianship is stellar, the solos are melodic and beautiful, and the songs are perfectly crafted. The band mixes in progressive rock with melodic pop like no other band ever has. Throw in a “Leonard Bernstein” cover and a “Move” cover. It doesn’t get better than this. 

30 years, It was worth the wait. It was a fun night. The band was smiling, the fans were smiling. Everyone was smiling except the “Red Jackets”. Utopia is a band of hope and uplifting songs. “The Road to Utopia”, “Love is the Answer” and “One World”. The encore was the beautiful Todd song “Just One Victory”. A perfect end to a perfect night. Music can change the world. Do not miss this show. 



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