Utopia’s Another Live: “hideous” on the outside, but beautiful on the inside

In 1974, Todd Rundgren took a side trip from his solo career to work on a concept for a band that combined orchestrated progressive-rock intricacies with the individual musicianship found in jazz improvisation. The result was his group Utopia.

On Nov. 15, 1975, the second Utopia album, Another Live, was released. The recording had band member changes from Utopia’s debut. New to the group were John “Willie” Wilcox on drums and Roger Powell on trumpet and Moog synthesizer. Powell, a protégé of Robert Moog, was a computer programmer and synthesizer geek like Rundgren. Powell and Wilcox would be mainstays in Utopia through the ’80s.

Another Live was recorded in August of ’75 during Rundgren’s tour to support his Initiation LP, which had been released in June. The album featured three new songs, two previously released Rundgren compositions (“Heavy Metal Kids” and his traditional concert closer at the time “Just One Victory”), as well as cover versions of Powell’s “Mister Triscuits,” The Move’s “Do Ya” (written by Jeff Lynne as the band was dissolving and he began forming Electric Light Orchestra) and a charming version of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim song from West Side Story, “Something’s Coming.”

While the cover for the UK release had a photo of Rundgren, the US release featured an illustration by Jane Millett that Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic calls “hideous.” The illustration depicts the band swirling above a ’70s “concert in the park” setting. It is reported that parts of the album were recorded in NYC at Central Park’s Wollman Rink. The other recording locations, possibly from other parks in the U.S. or Canada, are not known.

Another Live peaked at #66 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart.

About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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