Runting High And Low

Three DVDs which catch the rock'n'roll maverick onstage and backstage

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There are many aspects to Todd. There’s the pioneering techie, the democratic defender of file-sharers’ rights, the multimedia innovator, and then there’s Todd the loveable gimp, a man who still can’t walk past a camera without mugging fearlessly into the lens.

Gurning close-ups aside, Live In Japan, recorded with an 11-piece line-up in 1990, captures a set of Todd oldies and newies that sounds like it’s been rehearsed to the point of slickness and has lost more than a little of its soul in the process. More successful is the Live In San Francisco set from June 2000, which features a stripped-down power trio and plays up Todd’s hard-rock side, including a blistering “Open My Eyes”, a grungey “Black And White” and a montage of soundcheck rehearsals. Best of the bunch, though, is The Desktop Collection and 2nd Wind Live Recording Sessions, part state-of-the-early-’90s-art video showcase, part fly-on-the-wall glimpse into a live 1990 recording date which culminates with Todd and Bobby Womack duetting on “Want Of A Nail”.

None of these concerts capture Todd at the dizzying heights, but those who want to dip a toe in the water should head for the San-Fran concert for the energy, and The Desktop Collection/2nd Wind Sessions for the warmth, the wit, and the wisdom.


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