Todd Rundgren / Utopia

Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75

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Shout! Factory's 2012 disc Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75 marks the first official release of this heavily bootlegged show from Todd Rundgren's 1975 appearance at the London venue. As the first U.K. concert Utopia ever played, this concert does have historical import but, better still, this is one of the liveliest sets the group played during this early incarnation, possibly due to the bandmembers expertly balancing their heavy prog inclinations with Rundgren's tuneful solo work. Certainly, the set list is peppered with pop tunes, stretching all the way back to Nazz's hit nugget "Open My Eyes," and the group finds room for a cover of the Move's "Do Ya," but these bits of brilliant pop are given fiery treatments, as are the longer moments that teeter on the brink of indulgences ("Mister Triscuits," "The Wheel"). And that is why Live at Hammersmith Odeon '75 is such an invigorating listen -- Utopia are playing from the gut, not the mind, and they sound as massive as a Sherman tank.

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