Saturday, 18 July 1987

The Ritz
119 East 11th Street
New York, New York 10003

FLAC master, 22 September 2020, by elegymart:
Analog audience recording (stereo) {recorded by Gene Poole}: unknown mics/recorder > two 1985-86 US TDK SA90 (Type II CrO2) analog audio master cassettes {from the Gene Poole collection} > Sony TC-WE435 (azimuth adjustment) > Roland R05 (24/96) > Cool Edit Pro 2.0 (audio cleanup, convert to 16/44) > SHNtool (fixed SBE) > CD Wave (track splits) > TLH (WAV > FLAC8).
Created this text file.

Total running time [1:44:53]
01 introduction [0:39]
02 Play This Game [3:54]
03 There Goes My Inspiration [3:32]
04 Love of the Common Man [3:19]
05 Lysistrata [3:28]
06 Too Far Gone [2:40]
07 Song of the Viking [2:47]
08 Mated [7:33]
09 Love in Action [4:29]
10 "band introductions" [1:43]
11 computer boogie jam [3:04]
12 I See the Light (elevator music version) [1:38]
13 Bang the Drum All Day (fake 7-Up commercial version) [0:43]
14 Lost Horizon [6:53]
15 The Ballad (Denny & Jean) [2:50]
16 Hammer in My Heart [3:20]
17 Cliché [4:56]
18 computer hoedown jam [2:15]
19 Don't You Ever Learn? [6:43]
20 The Smell of Money [4:56]
21 Compassion [5:31]
22 Drive [5:18]
23 One World [3:34]
24 Love Is the Answer [5:25]
-- encore 1 --
25 The Wheel [7:36]
-- encore 2 --
26 Just One Victory [5:55]

Solo line-up:
Todd Rundgren - acoustic guitar, piano, vocals, MIDI sequencer



Here's the latest installment of the Gene Poole Collection, a random wellspring of recordings which have recently surfaced. To paraphrase Lou: This is gonna go on for a while, so we should get used to each other, settle back, pull up your cushions, whatever else you have with you that makes life bearable to kick off the new decade...

Some of Gene's handiwork has probably been heard by your very ears before, for the most part via the Stonecutter Archives, but this is the first major unearthing of tapes direct from the legend himself. As promising as that may seem, it's best to let the surprises hit as they are shared. The trade-off to the prolific taping on Gene's part is that the expectations for a perfect track record would be unrealistic and unfair. There will be instances of incomplete recordings, caused by late arrivals to gigs, recorder and mic malfunctions, and other assorted foibles as would befall any mortal taper. There will be times where a master from another source exists which could be superior. For the most part, Gene recorded with a variety and mics and recorders, and many shows suffered from wire dropouts, so that only one channel was extant in the capture. Due warning about the past imperfect given and out of the way, credit should be given where due as well -- for many shows thought lost forever, it's exciting to discover that many of these even in incomplete form have now cropped up.

The transfers, the audio fixes, and the research all have required some lead time -- many tapes had scant info (sometimes just the name of the artist/band, with no date listed for the performance). Needless to say, gear documentation is virtually nil -- if we wait around for that precise detail to be forthcoming, nothing from the collection would probably see the light of day.

This time we take you to the Ritz for a solo show from Todd Rundgren on his Vote For Me! / TR In '88 tour.

Starting with his misnamed Two Week Wonder tour the prior year, Todd performed solo, after all those years with the Nazz, Hello People and a lengthy era with Utopia. He used backing tracks for his solo shows via an old tape cart machine, but he ultimately wound up resorting to the utilization of MIDI sequencers after the carts were destroyed in a warehouse fire.

This tour received compliments for its superb sound and considering what crummy sound the boom-laden Ritz usually returned off its cavernous interior, the live sound on this in the flesh must have been a major improvement. It translates finely to the capture that Gene has here. The only real flaw on this recording is Gene raising the recording input level a touch too quickly and loudly on "The Ballad (Denny & Jean)."

In this solo setting, the Laura Nyro influences seem to really come through, and it's obvious why Todd readily admits this. It leaves one to wonder what would have been had he taken up Laura's offer to be her bandleader. Even though he ended up working with her later close to her passing, that sadly didn't seem to yield anything truly collaborative. The pacing of this show sometimes seems off. TR plays up too much of the computer band gag, and detours into some whimsical, perhaps throwaway, songs and drags on a bit long on his ponderables. Maybe TR should pondered the Nyro influence and swapped one of the computer band songs for a live rendition of "Baby Let's Swing.'

Not that those MIDI tracks programmed by Roger Powell were bad in any way. They're perfect for the first song TR plays along to, which is "Mated." He prefaces his intro to the song: "Here's the data for which we've long awaited," to a few chuckles in the audience. The parodies of "I See the Light" and especially "Bang the Drum All Day" are amusing as well.

This recording comes from two tapes that Gene labeled "Tod Rongron The Ritz" and "Tod Rundgrin at the Ritz solo - Election Time? April? 1989?" That's classic Gene spelling for you. Point being it took more than the usual bit of sleuthing to realize from a pile of disorganized cassettes that these two comprised one full concert, which was a breath of fresh air after working on two incomplete Utopia shows. First it was thought this was the '86 Ritz show, but based on TR's election comments and his reference to "Prick Up Your Ears" before "The Smell of Money" and other 1987 setlists, it slowly became apparent what the correct date on this was. Certainly not April 1989.

Gene attended this show with one of his concert-going partners in crime, the Good Doctor. He purchased a t-shirt at concessions after the show ended for his sister who was a big TR fan. For all you other TR fans who don't have one of those t-shirts, this previously uncirculated recording should be stand as a fine memento of the tour.