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Bootleg Series: Nearly Human Tour, Japan, '90

Todd Rundgren

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Album Review

Todd Rundgren's supporting tour for his Nearly Human album was eventful one, partially because he was supporting his first hit in years, partially because the album was his best in years, and partially because he wound up recording a full new album, Second Wind, toward the end of the journey. The January 10, 1990, concert that constitutes Bootleg Series, Vol. 3: Nearly Human Tour, Japan 90 was recorded before Second Wind, during the Sturm and Drang of the actual promotional tour, and Rundgren hauls out almost all of Nearly Human, leaving only two songs behind. Apart from that album, he samples from his past, touching on fan favorites like the opener "Real Man" and the hits "Can We Still Be Friends" and "Hello, It's Me," as well as turning to Utopia for "Love in Action" and "Mated." Since he's backed by a band suited for the blue-eyed soul of Nearly Human, there is a bit of that bent here — but not too much, since "Love in Action" still rocks like Utopia's version — yet it's also true that the song selection pretty much plays up that side of Rundgren. Ultimately, this two-disc installment of the Bootleg Series is a pretty enjoyable, kind of predictable, snapshot of Todd on tour during his last great comeback. Anybody that enjoys Rundgren will find it entertaining, kind of like a good night out, but only the fanatics will want to return to this frequently. But that's who this entire series is for, anyway.


Born: 22 June 1948 in Upper Darby, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Todd Rundgren's best-known songs — the Carole King pastiche "I Saw the Light," the ballads "Hello, It's Me" and "Can We Still Be Friends," and the goofy novelty "Bang on the Drum All Day" — suggest that he is a talented pop craftsman, but nothing more than that. On one level, that perception is true since he is undoubtedly a gifted pop songwriter, but at his core, Rundgren is a rock & roll maverick. Once he had a taste of success with his 1972 masterwork Something/Anything?, Rundgren...
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