Todd Rundgren´s Utopia was an American rock band formed in 1973 by Todd Rundgren. During its first three years, the group was a progressive rock band with a somewhat fluid membership known as Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. Most of the members in this early incarnation also played on Rundgren’s solo albums of the period up to 1975.
By 1976, the group was known simply as Utopia and featured a stable quartet of Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell and John “Willie” Wilcox. This version of the group gradually abandoned progressive rock for more straightforward rock and pop.
In 1980, they had a top 40 hit with “Set Me Free”. Though often thought of as a Rundgren-oriented project, all four members of Utopia wrote, sang, produced and performed on their albums; “Set Me Free”, for example, was sung by Sulton. The group broke up in 1986, but reunited briefly in 1992. More recently, beginning in 2011 the earlier prog-rock incarnation known as Todd Rundgren’s Utopia was revived for a series of live shows. In 2018 Rundgren, Sulton, and Wilcox reunited for a tour with new keyboardist Gil Assayas under the moniker Todd Rundgren’s Utopia.
Another Live is a live album by the progressive rock band Utopia. It was recorded in August 1975 and released in 1975 on Bearsville.
The record was the band’s first fully live album, the first Utopia album to include future mainstays Powell and Wilcox, and the last to feature founding members Schuckett and Klingman. The trio of backing singers Arnold McCuller, David Lasley and Phil Ballou were also new to the group and toured the summer tour, being replaced that September with future star Luther Vandross and Anthony Hinton, who had toured the UK with Utopia later that year.
Side one contains three new songs that had not been previously issued, and which were either never recorded or not released as studio versions. (Live 1975 versions of Powell’s “Mister Triscuits” and Rundgren’s “The Wheel” can also be heard on the album Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Live at Hammersmith Odeon ’75). (Shout Music, 2012).
UK front + backcover:
Side two is a mix of live cover versions of songs by band members and other artists. Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” was a B-side to The Move’s “California Man” single (1972) which had a double-track B-side also featuring the song “Ella James”.
As well as referring to the fact the album was recorded live, the title is an obvious paraphrase of the phrase “Another Life,” referencing the Eastern philosophical concept of reincarnation, as alluded to in the first track on Side One. The printed title of Powell’s instrumental “Mister Triscuits” was reportedly the result of Powell’s publisher mistranscribing its original full title, “The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus”.
With no singles released to push it higher, the album peaked at #66 on the Billboard 200 charts.(wikipedia)
It’s hard to say exactly why Another Live works better than either Todd Rundgren’s Utopia or Initiation, Rundgren’s two previous excursions into synth-heavy prog-rock. It’s not that the music is more energetic or focused, since it isn’t. Neither is the music more challenging or ambitious — it’s simply better. It’s true that the second half is devoted to covers (West Side Story’s “Something’s Coming,” the Move’s “Do Ya”) or Rundgren classics (“Heavy Metal Kids,” “Just One Victory”), all of which are more song-oriented than anything on the first half, or anything on either TR’s Utopia or Initiation. That said, the prog-rock epics that comprise the first half of the album cut deeper than before, possibly because the band has worked out the kinks in its style, developing a unified, provocative sound. It still tends to be a little excessive and impenetrable, but intriguing moments float to the surface alarmingly often. Too bad the hideous cover will prevent anyone but the most devoted Rundgren/Utopia fan from discovering that… (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
Once you can get past the cover (“Can you make my ass any look tighter?”), this is a great live-if-over-dubbed album; great playing by excellent musicians, well recorded and well conceived. Great mix of originals and covers, with the best live version of West Side Story’s Something’s Coming I ever heard, and it was a live staple for many years. Another Life and Intro/Mr Triscuits are obscure and just burn; hell, the whole album burns. I still play my original copy on a regular basis.
I’m admittedly biased (Todd Is Godd), and still resentful; I had tickets to see this tour at Cape Cod Coliseum but I had just turned 17 and I got grounded for borrowing someone’s car/driving without a license, so.
Just close your eyes when you pull the album out, or put it in a brown paper bag or something; you’ll be fine, I promise. (by Bertha DeCool)
Mark “Moogy” Klingman (keyboards, synthesizer, harmonica, glockenspiel, background vocals)
Roger Powell (synthesizer, trumpet, vocals)
Todd Rundgren (guitar, vocals)
Ralph Schuckett (keyboards, vocals, clavinet, accordion)
John Siegler (bass, vocals)
John “Willie” Wilcox (drums)
David Lasley – Arnold McCuller – Phillip Ballou
Ric E.(vocal shouting “Hey Todd!” during The Wheel – introduction)
01. Another Life (Cape Cod Coliseum, Cape Cod Massachusetts 8-23-75) (Rundgren/ Shuckett 7.26
02. The Wheel (Wollman Rink, Central Park NYC 8-25-75) (Rundgren) 7.17
03. The Seven Rays (Cape Cod Coliseum, Cape Cod Massachusetts 8-23-75) Rundgren/ Siegler) 8.53
04. Intro/Mister Triscuits (Wollman Rink, Central Park NYC 8-25-75) (Edited for time) (Powell) 5.27
05. Something’s Coming (Wollman Rink, Central Park NYC 8-25-75) /Bernstein/Sondheim) 2.53
06. Heavy Metal Kids (Wollman Rink, Central Park NYC 8-25-75) (Rundgren) 4.18
07. Do Ya (Lynne) 4.20
08. Just One Victory (Rundgren) 5.32
The official website: