Todd Rundgren

The Best of Todd Rundgren Live

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As Todd Rundgren reveals in his surprisingly thorough liner notes, Sanctuary's 2005 release The Best of Todd Rundgren Live isn't a proper live album. Instead, it's a collection of highlights from shows Rundgren has performed throughout the years, with the oldest performances dating from 1979 and the newest taken from his 2004 tour supporting Liars. Given that long span of time and how restless Todd was over those 25 years, it should come as no great surprise that there are several different styles of supporting bands featured here, from big, splashy ensembles to stripped-back settings, but it all flows together pretty well because Rundgren took great care to sequence this as a live show and to create segues between the shows. Sometimes the shifts aren't particularly smooth -- it's hard to imagine how to make any transition into a rendition of "I Saw the Light" from his 1985 A Cappella tour easy -- but by and large, this is a successful, entertaining album. It may contain no great revelations about Todd's work -- it does draw very heavily from his most familiar songs, after all -- but it's a good sampler for the fan who doesn't want to invest in the plethora of official live bootleg albums Sanctuary has put out in the 2000s.

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