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Todd Rundgren at Celebrity Theatre
June 26, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST
Danny Zelisko Presents an evening with legendary songwriter, musician, singer and multifaceted producer Todd Rundgren at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26th at the historic Celebrity Theatre. Reserved tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 1st at www.celebritytheatre.com.
In December 2018, Todd Rundgren released his first ever autobiography reflecting on both his phenomenal career as well as his roller coaster of a personal life. The book contains pages of recollections, structured into bite-sized single-page three-paragraph chapters, about encounters with rock royalty including Janis Joplin, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Patti Smith, The NY Dolls, and Meat Loaf along with numerous photos never before published.
In conjunction with the release, Rundgren will be embarking on the world’s first hybrid concert/book tour this coming spring, highlighting both hits and “deep tracks” spanning his 50- year career, which will include shows in North America, the UK, Europe and Japan.
Consistent with his history of innovation, Rundgren writes in the introduction to his book: “So in order to get myself and the reader through this process with a minimum of chaos, the book will take on the form of this page: 1st paragraph, a recollection of something that I witnessed, 2nd paragraph, a subjective assessment of my state of mind in either experiencing or remembering the episode (or a haphazard combination of both), and as in this 3rd paragraph, a conclusion, a statement of plain facts or simply soap-box proselytizing. I suggest scanning the book in whatever manner one’s taste and temperament dictate.”
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front Nazz, the quintessential ‘60s psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, Runt. But it was 1972’s seminal Something/Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, that catapulted Rundgren into the superstar limelight, prompting the press to unanimously dub him ‘Rock’s New Wunderkind’. It was followed by such landmark LPs as The Hermit of Mink Hollow and A Wizard, A True Star, as well as such hit singles as “I Saw The Light,” “Hello It’s Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends” and “Bang The Drum.”
A Wizard, A True Star. The title of Todd Rundgren’s 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multifaceted artist to state-of-the-art music. As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and interactive artist (re-designated TR-i), Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music.
In 1974, Rundgren formed Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (renamed and reconfigured in 1976 as Utopia), an entirely new approach to the concept of interactive musicianship, and embarked on an extensive round of touring and recording. Standout Utopia offerings included Oops! Wrong Planet, Adventures in Utopia, and Oblivion. Along the way, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia combined technical virtuosity and creative passion to create music that initially, for millions, defined the term “progressive rock,” and subsequently, as Utopia, the term “powerpop”.
Rundgren’s myriad production projects include albums by Patty Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meat Loaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall And Oates. Rounding out his reputation as rock’s Renaissance Man, Rundgren composed all the music and lyrics for Joe Papp’s 1989 Off-Broadway production of Joe Orton’s Up Against It (the screenplay commissioned by The Beatles for what was meant to have been their third motion picture). He also has composed the music for the hit film Dumb and Dumber, as well as a number of television series, including Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Crime Story.
In 2012, Rundgren performed his iconic 1973 album A Wizard, A True Star in concert in its entirety for the first time ever, and several years later did the same with a double bill: Todd & Healing. He has toured with Ringo Starr as an erstwhile member of the All-Starr Band since 1989, and continues to perform with symphony orchestras both domestically and internationally. His latest studio album, White Knight, was released last May, and this past spring he toured North America with original Utopians Kasim Sulton and Willie Wilcox for the first time in 33 years. His long-awaited autobiography The Individualist, was released on December 21. He embarks on the world’s first hybrid concert/book tour, highlighting music across his 50-year career.
In 1998, Rundgren debuted his new PatroNet technology which for the first time allowed fans of a musical artist to subscribe directly to the artist’s musical output via the Internet. This caps a long history of groundbreaking early multimedia “firsts”, including:
• 1978: The first interactive television concert, broadcast live over the Warner/QUBE system in Columbus, Ohio (the home audience chose each song.in real time during the concert by voting via QUBE’s 2-way operating system).
• 1978: The first live nationally broadcast stereo radio rock concert (by microwave), linking 40 cities around the country.
• 1979: The opening of Utopia Video Studios, a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility. The first project produced by Rundgren there is Gustav Holst’s The Planets, commissioned by RCA Selecta Vision as the first demonstration software for their new videodisc format.
• 1980: Creation of the first color graphics tablet, which was licensed to Apple and commercially released as The Utopia Graphics Tablet.
• 1981: Time Heals, the first music video to utilize state-of-the-art compositing of live action and computer graphics (produced and directed by Rundgren), becomes the eighth video to be played during the launch of MTV on August 1, 1981.
• 1982: The first live national cablecast of a rock concert (on the USA Network), simulcast in stereo to over 120 radio stations.
• 1982: The first two commercially released music videos, one of which was nominated for the first-ever Grammy awarded for “Best Short Form Video” in 1983.
• 1992: The first commercially available music downloads via CompuServe.
• 1993: The release of “No World Order,” the world’s first interactive record album on CD-i.
• 1994: The release of “The Individualist,” the world’s first full-length Enhanced CD.
• 1994: The world’s first interactive concert tour.
• 1998: Launches PatroNet, the world’s first direct artist subscription service — predicts that someday “music will be sold by the pound.”
• 2016: The production of the world’s first full length concert shot with multiple Virtual Reality 360º cameras.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Reserved seat tickets ($35, $55 and $80) go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 1st at Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., in Phoenix, or online at www.celebritytheatre.com. To charge by phone, call 602-267-1600 ext. 1. All tickets are subject to sales tax, facility and ticketing surcharges. All ages welcome.
About Danny Zelisko Presents (DZP): Danny Zelisko has been bringing shows to Phoenix since 1974. He founded and ran the legendary Evening Star Productions in 1977, and changed the face of the live concert experience in Arizona and the Southwest, producing thousands of shows over the years. After years of practice, DZP promotes about 150 shows annually in Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas.
For more information: www.dannyzeliskopresents.com