Other than a bit of a raggedy voice, Todd Rundgren, even at 75 years of age, looked amazingly fit and still ready to rock.
The legendary songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music producer arrived at the Mall of Asia Arena around 4pm with the Daryl’s House Band getting ready for the sound check.
The band was to back up Rundgren in his performance for the evening show. He came out at 5pm, did his sound check and performed his classic and insanely popular hit, “I Saw the Light” which even decades later is still covered by musicians to this day.
On his way to his room, we chanced upon a conversation with the legend who agreed to sign my records and pose for pictures.
When informed that I first discovered his music as a sixth grader when his progressive rock outfit, Utopia, cracked the American Top 40 with the song “Set Me Free”, he was amazed.
“I think that is swell,” said Rundgren. “Most fans will go with the classics such as “Hello, It’s Me’, “I Saw the Light’, or ‘Can We Be Friends’. I love it when fans mention Utopia or…”
“The Nazz,” I interjected.
“There you go. For being such a good fan, let’s get some photos.”
We laughed and had a few pictures taken.
How does it feel to have his songs covered, sung, and appreciated some four or five decades after they were first recorded?
“I think it’s great. You never think you are writing a song that will resonate with audiences for as long as possible. You write them because you like making music. I am honored that people and fans like them to this day. That is great. And it sure is nice to receive royalties for that to this day.”
We laugh some more.
Last one, sir. Where is “Love is the Answer” from tonight’s setlist?
“Now I know you are a superfan. If I had a whole hour to my set, then I would have included it.”
“I’m in a bit of a rock and roll mood tonight.”
He patted my shoulder and then made his way to his assigned room at the MOA Arena.
“Thank you,” he said as he parted.
“I should be thanking you,” I shot back.
Rundgren hit the stage exactly at 7:32pm and delivered an incredible set that set the tone for the night. He came back towards the climax of Daryl Hall’s set to perform “Wait for Me” and “Can We Still Be Friends” to a roaring crowd.
“As he made his way back to his room after his cameo appearance, he winked at me and offered, “Not bad for an old man, eh?”
At age 75, he definitely made a difference in the hearts of Filipino music fans that evening of November 27.
Image credits: Rick Olivares