I caught the 10.30 shuttle from my hotel to JFK and collected my car. I opted for a budget model (i.e. basic) and it is very basic - it even has wind-up windows! Of course it's an automatic (as almost all US cars are) but it doesn't have cruise control. Even so it's still costing £110 for this weekend.
I drove across to New Jersey (I came across the George Washington Bridge so I saw Manhattan in the distance) and easily found my hotel. As it was still early I drove to Englewood to find the venue which was easy to spot and was only about 15 minutes away. I then tried to find somewhere to have some lunch but the first two places my SatNav tried to take me to were both closed!
I eventually found an Applebee's and had a nice chicken pasta. I went to a CVS Pharmacy and stocked up on my favourite US shampoo and conditioner, plus I bought loads of cards. The US have much better cards than we do in the UK.
I got to my hotel at about 3.30pm. I'm having some luxury tonight as I'm staying at a Hilton Garden Inn. I spent the afternoon doing some website stuff and listening to a couple of documentaries I'd saved on iPlayer.
I left at 7.10pm for the 15 minute drive to the venue. Unfortunately I missed one turning and then things went from bad to worse! Three times I turned off at the Fort Lee junction to stop from driving over the George Washington Bridge into New York City! Each time I turned around but just couldn't work out which turning my SatNav was trying to get me to take! It would say "take the exit right" when there were two exits on the right! I eventually got to Englewood at 7.45pm (the gig started at 8pm) but thankfully found somewhere to park on the road quite quickly.
My seat was perfect! This venue allowed you to choose whereabouts you wanted to sit so I opted for the right side stalls (stage left) which is obviously Kasim's side. I also don't like the front row much so I sat in the second row seat right on the aisle. The seats sloped nicely, plus the woman in front of me was short, so I had a perfect view. However the woman (she was about late 40s) had obviously had a few drinks and did a lot of chair-dancing during the set, including kicking her legs up in the air a few times which was amusing!
The opening act played for about half an hour and then Todd Rundgren played for almost exactly 2 hours. There was an eleven o'clock curfew (which Todd mentioned a few times). Security was red-hot about people not taking photos and stopped anyone who tried but during the encore people stood at the stage and it was a free-for-all. Kasim was badly lit at that point so I didn't bother taking any.
Unfortunately I was really disappointed with the gig. I did know it was going to be Robert Johnson music and I knew that Todd was going to play some of his own songs that he hadn't played on stage before but there was a good reason why he hadn't played them before IMHO! The most popular songs were Open My Eyes and I Saw The Light and the reaction to those two songs was totally different to all the others. I do realise that he can't play Bang The Drum at every gig (and nor would I want him too) but I'd hoped for a more liberal sprinkling of his more popular songs in the set list (and Utopia songs).
I've been to over 70 Todd gigs and this is the one that impressed me the least, in fact I felt slightly bored by the end. I was planning on making a return trip to Japan when he plays there in October but if this is the set list, then I won't bother. Afterwards lots of people were saying that they enjoyed the gig but I did hear a few negative comments too.
However it was good to see Kasim in stage for a couple of hours and he looked very energetic and seemed to be enjoying himself, although both he and Jesse hardly sang any vocals in the set.
I got back to my hotel by 11.20pm and had a cuppa and got to sleep by 12.30am.