Official Bootleg, Vol. 2: Live in Tokyo '79

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Even though they didn't have a new album to promote at the time, Utopia found themselves touring Japan in 1979. With much of their forthcoming album, 1980's Adventures in Utopia, already in the can, the tour's set list saw the premiere of several new tunes, but it was mostly a set of already proven concert favorites, as evidenced by Vol. 2 of Rundgren's Official Bootleg series, Live in Tokyo '79. Long known as a polite audience, Japanese crowds aren't exactly known to serve as a sparkplug for a rock group's performance, but Utopia had no problem handing in a dandy of a set here. Although the release of Adventures was still a ways off, the group had already whipped the arrangements into shape, as such selections as "Shot in the Dark," "Love Alone," and "Last of the New Wave Riders" closely resemble the forthcoming official studio versions. While the group's recordings from here on out would be in the new wave/arena rock vein, their earlier progressive direction can be sampled on such selections as "The Seven Rays" and "Hiroshima." Plenty of tracks will be long familiar to hardcore Todd/Utopia fans ("It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference," "A Dream Goes on Forever," "The Wheel," etc.), yet several less common selections prove to be standouts -- the funky "Abandon City," the trash rock of "Gangrene," and the hard rocker "The Death of Rock & Roll." [Note: this CD is either available as an expensive Japanese import or as part of a more affordable box set, 2003's Last of the New Wave Riders. Also, no date or venue information is included.]