Title - State Theater New Jersey 2005
Artist - Joe Jackson / Todd Rundgren
For those unaware, two of the most masterful crafters of sophisticated art rock united on stage for a series of special live engagements in 2005, Joe Jackson and Todd Rundgren.
Those who were able to attend in person quickly began to spread the word about the uniquely exquisite performances from these two musical geniuses, along with the incredible NY-based string quartet Ethel, and the shows promptly became one of the hottest tickets of the year.
Well, if you missed your chance to see the concert in person, here is your opportunity to experience the magic on this extravagant multimedia concert album, State Theater New Jersey 2005 (out June 18th, 2021 via Purple Pyramid) recorded, of course, at New Jerseys State Theater!
The show features solo performances from both Jackson and Rundgren who turn in some of the most intimate and lush versions of their biggest hits including Steppin Out, Hello, Its Me, Is She Really Goin Out With Him, Bang The Drum All Day, Its Different For Girls, I Dont Want To Tie You Down and more!
Then, for the ultimate finale, the two legends step on the stage together, backed by Ethel, for epic versions of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Black Maria.
CD 1: Ethel
1. Nepomuks Dances: Memory
3. Pelimannis Revenge
4. Sweet Hardwood: Spiritual
5. Sweet Hardwood: Shuffle
7. Steppin Out
8. Awkward Age
9. Take It Like A Man
10. Its Different For Girls
11. Obvious Song
12. Love At First Light
14. Be My Number Two
15. Citizen Sane
16. Is She Really Going Out With Him
CD 2: Todd Rundgren
1. Love Of The Common Man
2. I Dont Want To Tie You Down
4. Tiny Demons
6. Free, Male And 21
7. Hello, Its Me
8. Bang The Drum All Day
9. Black And White
11. The Wheel
12. The Other Me (Joe Jackson & Ethel) [Encore]
13. Pretending To Care (Todd Rundgren & Ethel) [Encore]
14. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson & Ethel) [Encore]
15. Black Maria (Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson & Ethel) [Encore]
DVD: Full concert
Ethel, an alternative string quartet, open the show with five songs and they are backed by Joe Jackson, who himself begins his set with a freshly crisp piano version of one of my own personal JJ favorites, Hometown.
He follows that up with the two brilliant cuts in both Steppin Out and the alt-rock fan favorite Awkward Age and then we get the gently frenetic Take It Like A Man, the magnificent Its Different For Girls, the (at times) jaunty piano work of Obvious Song, and then quieter pieces such as Love At First Light and the ornate Girl.
Jackson, alone on stage, backed only by a huge purple back drop, then brings his own set to a close on the always-brilliant to hear Be My Number Two, the upbeat foot-tapper Citizen Sane, and ends with a gently rambunctious Is She Really Going Out With Him.
Rundgren then comes out for his one man and an acoustic/electric guitar and piano set, and opens on the free flowing alt-pop majesty of Love Of The Common Man and the short, but sweetly-sung gossamer of I Dont Want To Tie You Down, and backs those up with the mid-tempo foot tapper Lysistrada, the psych ebb of of Tiny Demons, the airy Compassion, and then both the poppy Free, Male And 21, and 1972s wondrous pop ballad Hello, Its Me.
Up next is another of Rundgrens classics, the playful 1983 smarmy reggae of Bang The Drum All Day (here played on a small ukulele) and the rocker Black And White, and then we get another favorite of mine, the translucent Afterlife, and the quieter folk sounds of The Wheel.
For their joint encore, from his Laughter & Lust album, Jackson comes on with Ethel for a stunning rendition of The Other Me, whilst Rundgren (together with Ethel) then brings us the mournful ballad Pretending To Care, the show rounding out on all three acts coming together for a simply stunning, orchestra-driven While My Guitar Gently Weeps, closing on a captivatingly unique rendition of Black Maria.
Joe Jackson & Todd Rundgrens State Theater New Jersey 2005 will be released everywhere June 18th, 2021 on both digital and in a gorgeous 8-panel digipak that includes 2 audio discs and a DVD!
Joe Jackson & Todd Rundgren & Ethel - While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Official Purchase Links