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The New Cars
Concert: Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre; June 9, 2006

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The New Cars
Concert: Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre; June 9, 2006
The New Cars
Concert: Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre; June 9, 2006

Set List:
  • Hello Again
  • Let's Go
  • Shake It Up
  • Best Friend's Girl
  • Candy-O
  • I Saw The Light
  • Dangerous Type
  • Moving In Stereo
  • All Mixed Up
  • Black Maria
  • You Might Think
  • Drive
  • Bang The Drum
  • You're All I've Got
  • Bye Bye Love
  • Not Tonight
  • Encore:
  • Just What I Needed
  • Open My Eyes
  • Good Times Roll

    A Review I agree with:

    Review by Steve Knopper of RockyMountainNews.com:
    Rundgren expertly drives band
    When the '80s pop band INXS needed a lead singer for a reunion tour, the band started a reality show, found a hunky guy who could sort of sing and took this hodgepodge on the road. When another '80s pop band, The Cars, needed a lead singer for a reunion tour, they took the opposite approach - they called in Todd Rundgren. He turns out to be a ringer.

    Rundgren, the pop mastermind who wrote the '70s hits Hello It's Me and Bang On the Drum All Day and produced influential bands like the New York Dolls and XTC, wore a red velvet jacket and a floppy blonde-on- top haircut and commanded center stage like some kind of skinny ostrich.

    He had the rubbery voiced detachment to recall original Cars singer Ric Ocasek (who refused to participate in this reunion) and the confidence to tinker with the script. Rather than mimicking Ocasek's deadpan delivery in You Might Think, Rundgren ad-libbed a shriek during the classic "you - kept it going" bit toward the end.

    With Rundgren as the ringmaster, these New Cars drew on their new-wave weapons - a fiercely tight rhythm section, with bassist Kasim Sulton (of Rundgren's old band, Utopia) and drummer Prairie Prince (of The Tubes) and bleeping, blooping, boinging, unforgettable hooks from original keyboardist Greg Hawkes.

    The Cars are one of the few big-synth '80s bands whose hits sound barely dated. And while Tuesday night's show was essentially a greatest-hits exercise, Shake It Up, Hello Again, My Best Friend's Girl and especially the explosive You're All I've Got Tonight came across less like nostalgia than reinvention.

    The New Cars - with Sulton replacing the late Ben Orr and Prince replacing original drummer David Robinson, who also declined - indulged Rundgren with Bang On the Drum All Day and I Saw the Light. (The band's fifth member is original guitarist Elliot Easton, who grinned pretty much the whole time.)

    Opening the rainy show - which drew a paltry 6,200 fans, making the lawn seem big enough for a baseball game before the sun went down - were recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Blondie.

    Singer Debbie Harry, wearing a fluorescent light-green hoodie and striped sweatpants, gained power as the hourlong show went on, and the closing one-two-three punch of classics Rapture, One Way Or Another and Heart Of Glass almost redeemed the set.

    "I'm gonna win ya!" Harry declared, of course, in One Way Or Another - and she pretty much did.

    Pre-gig press about this gig include:

  • Guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes are the only two New Cars members from the original Boston quintet. As for the rest of the group, bassist/vocalist Benjamin Orr was unavailable, having died in 2000, while guitarist/vocalist Ric Ocasek and drummer David Robinson wisely chose not to get involved in such an obvious cash-in. That left openings filled by Rundgren and two longtime associates, bassist Kasim Sulton and drummer Prairie Prince. "There hasn't been enough focus on the fact that it's really almost a merger of two bands," Rundgren insists. "It's a rhythm section and a frontman who've been playing together for decades, along with Greg and Elliott, the two people who most characterized the sound of the Cars."
  • Todd takes pride in feedback he's received after early New Cars performances: "Most people have said, 'It doesn't sound like a completely different band -- but I don't remember them sounding this good.'" As he acknowledges, the Cars may have had some memorable tunes, but they weren't firebrands in concert. "They were known for being icy on stage -- so cool they were frozen," he says. "Very staid, not moving, never talking to the audience, never indicating anything."

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