[S’More Entertainment]

Last year Todd Rundgren delighted fans by performing a series of shows featuring three of his most beloved albums—1973’s A Wizard, A True Star, 1974’s Todd and 1981’s Healing—in their entirety. This DVD captures a run-through of Todd staged in September at the historic Keswick Theater in Rundgren’s hometown of Philadelphia, and it sizzles with the same progressive spirit the original double-LP had nearly three decades ago. By 1974, Rundgren was fitting his pop tunes with enchanting, Disney-esque sonic enhancements of the sort that might spring from a child’s imagination. As performed here, such beautifully melodic pop constructs as “A Dream Goes on Forever,” “I Think You Know” and “Sidewalk Café” drive home his artful way with a synthesizer.

At the other end of the spectrum are the prog-metal guitar excursions. Rundgren’s six-string work on the thunderous “Everybody’s Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae” and the punning “No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator” evidence a deep love of Hendrix. Between the sprightly pop and the heavy rockers lies a middle ground that includes such songs as “The Last Ride,” which still sounds like a great lost Philly-soul classic, and the playful, near-novelty ditty “An Elpee’s Worth of Toons.” Backing Rundgren is a stellar band that includes the Cars’ Greg Hawkes, the Tubes’ Prairie Prince, Utopia’s Kasim Sulton, saxophonist Bobby Strickland and Strat-player extraordinaire Jesse Gress, each of whom brings a joyous spirit to the proceedings. The fact that they—and Rundgren—make this adventurous and eclectic material sound of a piece is some sort of wizardry, indeed. –RH

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