Veteran recording artist, producer, songwriter, and tech pioneer Todd Rundgren has announced a unique “virtual tour,” of 25 performances—each geofenced and tailored to a specific city Rundgren would have hit on a conventionally-routed tour—streamed from an empty Chicago, IL venue with COVID-19 safety protocols in place scheduled for February through March of 2021.
Each show during the engagement billed as the Clearly Human Live Virtual Tour (a play on the title of his 1989 album, Nearly Human), will have an 8 p.m. start time in that night’s virtual location, adding to the “local” feel of the livestreams.
Single-ticket purchases within the U.S. will be limited to fans with zip codes corresponding to that show’s greater metropolitan area. U.S.-based fans not living in a designated tour market can also “attend” any or all dates via multi-show ticket bundles which, like internationally-based fans purchasing single-show tickets, will exempt them from geofencing restrictions. The Todd Rundgren Clearly Human virtual tour shows will also be “localized” with local landmarks displayed on the video wall, city-specific catering for the band and crew, and more.
While the concept of Clearly Human lends itself naturally to our current, socially-distanced world, Todd actually conceived of the idea years ago as a solution to the growing challenges of touring amidst climate change and a way to reduce his own carbon footprint.
As Rundgren told Rolling Stone, “It’s an idea that I’ve been cultivating for a long time. The inspiration for it was the degradation of the travel network, and a lot of that was a result of climate change. As a touring musician, I realized that it’s going to become more and more common that I can’t get to the gig, that my flights have all been canceled, or there’s a flood or a fire and you can’t even drive there. So I started toying with the idea of different ways to deliver my service.”
“People are trying to compensate often by doing one big show and trying to get as much audience as possible,” Rundgren said. “While that does unify the audience, it doesn’t give the audience that sense of special attention when you come to their town. At the same time, we have to try to figure out ways that as performers, we don’t wind up feeling like we’re doing a residence at a hotel.”
“It was always about me not making it to the gig,” Rundgren continued. “Now we have a whole other situation where the audience can’t make it to the gig. It became imperative to try to figure out a way to give people some way of staying connected and minimize the amount of loss or the compromises that you would have to go through in order to do that.”
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Seeing this as “setting the gold standard” for what he predicts will become a new touring paradigm, it’s not the first time Todd has been out front with a tech-savvy new idea. He designed the first-ever graphics tablet for Apple in 1979 and put together the first-ever live interactive television concert (1978), the first live national cablecast of a rock concert (1982), the first commercial music downloads (1992), the first interactive album, No World Order (1993), the first online direct artist subscription service, “PatroNet” (1998), and the first full-length concert shot with multiple Virtual Reality 360º cameras (2016).
Produced by NoCap, the live streaming company recently launched by Cisco Adler, and Panacea Entertainment chairman Eric Gardner, Todd’s longtime manager, each show will feature Rundgren and an expanded 10-piece band performing standouts from his 50-year-plus catalog, as well as his entire 1989 album, Nearly Human—the tour’s namesake—which Warner Music Group will also re-release on CD and colored vinyl.
Remote meet-and-greets with Todd will be available at every show, as will options to select viewing from multiple camera angles and to be featured on several rows of video screens that will serve as the real-time “virtual audience” for the evening. Subject to Chicago’s COVID policy regarding public gatherings in force at the time, there will be a handful of tickets available to attend in person and sit safely distanced amongst the virtual audience, with each attendee required to show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of the event.
The virtual box office for Todd Rundgren’s virtual Clearly Human tour is now open here. See below for a full list of performance dates and nightly markets for the tour.
Todd Rundgren – Clearly Human Virtual Tour – Dates/Markets
February 14: Buffalo, NY
February 16: Albany, NY
February 17: New York, NY
February 19: Virginia Beach, VA
February 20: Pittsburgh, PA
February 22: Cleveland, OH
February 23: Detroit, MI
February 25: Indianapolis IN
February 26: Chicago, IL
February 28: Madison/Milwaukee, WI
March 1: Minneapolis, MN
March 3: Kansas City, MO
March 4: St. Louis, MO
March 6: Nashville, TN
March 7: Dallas, TX
March 9: Houston, TX
March 10: Austin, TX
March 12: Denver, CO
March 13: Salt Lake City, UT
March 15: Phoenix AZ
March 16: San Diego, CA
March 18: Los Angeles, CA
March 19: San Francisco, CA
March 21: Portland OR
March 22: Seattle WA