Wow! - who would'a thunk that The New Cars could rev up an audience without either of the two original singers that gave the music its magic? Todd Rundgren took over as lead vocalist for The New Cars and the crowd clamored away throughout the performance at the Wolf Trap Filene Center in Vienna, Virginia, on Tuesday, June 6, 2006.
Original Cars members guitarist Elliott Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes still yearned to play the music recorded by The Cars. Add into the mix guitarist Todd Rundgren along with former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince and former Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton, both members from his solo touring band, and you have the formation of The New Cars.
Fans were up on their feet instantly as "Hello Again" launched the evening. The tight take was sharp with Rundgren sounding strong and secure in his new role as lead vocalist for The New Cars. Cool visuals enhanced "Let's Go", which featured a quickly lead guitar solo from Easton. The response from Cars fans overwhelmingly approved of the reunion quintet.
The band jammed on "Candy-O", another crowd-pleaser. Rundgren sang a few solo hits from his own career, the first of which was "I Saw The Light". Although Rundgren delivered a blistering lead guitar solo during this power-pop ballad, the audience sat down whenever the repertoire alternated away from The Cars catalogue.
The New Cars performed three concerts earlier in the year in order to record and release a live album, It's Alive, to coincide with the resulting summer tour. The revised unit also added three new studio recordings to the disc. The New Cars hooked up with opening act Blondie to conduct the 2006 Road Rage Tour together.
Unfortunately, The New Cars reached the end of their current road trip, following a 17 year hiatus. On June 5, the motor coach Elliott Easton was traveling in was involved in a near collision. When the bus swerved, Easton injured himself, but was determined to continue with the tour. On June 12, the tour abruptly halted once Easton underwent necessary surgery and began convalescence in order to heal his injury properly.
Vienna setlist: Hello Again * Let's Go * Shake It Up * My Best Friend's Girl * Candy-O * I Saw The Light * Dangerous Type * Moving In Stereo * Black Maria * You Might Think * Drive * Bang On The Drum * You're All I've Got * Bye Bye Love * But Not Tonight * Encore: Just What I Needed * Let The Good Times Roll
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Roadworthy model raging in 2006
The New Cars hit the road with Todd Rundgren
by Timothy Tilghman