Tommy – The Who

I was listening to Tommy by The Who on Spotify in the car this morning. I have reacquaintd myself with The Who after posting about Pete Townshend‘s memoirs yesterday.

Tommy  the rock opera has undergone several incarnations starting as double album, evolving into a movie next, then becoming a Broadway play. It then transitioned into an orchestral version and lastly a ballet interpretation.

What a versatile work Tommy has proven to be to allow for  such varied productions over the decades.

Tommy The Album

Tommy Live In Concert

The Tommy live rock opera performance took place at The Fillmore East for a week in New York City.

One of the most memorable live performances of Tommy took place at Woodstock.

Tommy – The Film

Tommy was adapted into a screenplay for a 1975 movie directed by Ken Russell. I recall going to the movies to see Tommy. I visualize Elton John as the pinball wizard readily.

File:Tommy film poster.jpg

Tommy – The Broadway Play

The Queen Extravaganza – Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, Ct

I wanted to see this performance due to an article I had read in Rolling Stone Magazine about The Queen Extravaganza on the Web. I have never watched a single minute of American Idol during its broadcast schedule. I’ll grant you I may watch a YouTube video after the fact to see what all the buzz is about. I have developed a reserved judgement on American Idol and its role, its place in music. I felt American Idol was overhyped. I can safely say after attending last night’s Official Queen Tribute Show a production sanctioned by the surviving members of Queen (Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon)  and American Idol, I can now lift that sanction in my heart and head.It was a very convincing night of solid entertainment.

My wife was surprised we were going to see a Queen “tribute” concert. I can assure you we saw, felt and experienced much more than a tribute to Queen last night.

It was infectious to experience the music through this young ensemble of artist/fans who put their heart and soul into an evening of Queen’s music. My appreciation for these young musical performers who were so in earnest has reawakened a deeper love for Queen inside the music of our heart.

Our major complaint was the sound system was excruciatingly loud, it really hurt our left ear drums, trust me they could have cut back on the loudness factor and still have achieved their stated goal.

The Queen Extravaganza - Rob Sinclair

But aside from the crushing sound the two act performance was a joy to witness. Queen fans were out in force last night. The first act centered on early Queen as the backdrop featured a poster of Queen on a brick wall in a club somewhere in England. That set ended on a high note with Bohemian Rhapsody taking us to intermission.

The second act was more multimedia /visual, using concert footage from Wembley Stadium, official MTV videos (Under Pressure a personal fave). The greater Queen hits such as Another One Bites The Dust, Somebody To Love and Radio Gaga (love that song and Metropolis the sci-fi movie, they showed some great black and white clips from the 1927 classic) appeared in the second act.

The song that rose everyone to their feet first was Fat Bottom Girls. Connecticut concert audiences are sedate and laid back, the Queen Extravaganza performers had to work that much harder to get the Oakdale crowd into the experience. This song did just that.

It was an exciting variable to have four different lead singers represent Freddie Mercury‘s vocals. I think each vocalist was very polished  and vivacious evidencing lots of charisma. Marc Martel was my favorite vocalist and when he sang it felt the closest to Freddie Mercury’s voice and style. The musicians were very capable and enthusiastic. It was a wise choice to have two guitarists to approximate Brian May’s licks and runs. The keyboardist also served as the music director. The drummer was top-notch and handled a vocal lead, with his stellar drumming admirably.

The singers and musicians of "The Queen Experience," which will come to the Oakdale in Wallingford on Saturday, June 9, were hand-picked by Queen drummer Roger Taylor. Photo: Contributed Photo / CT

We want to thank the Queen Extravaganza for pulling out all the stops last night in Wallingford, Ct. You were the champions and to you as the victors we happily shared the spoils of your conquest.

Please have a great rest of the tour everyone! We love you!

Bell Boy – The Who – Keith Moon, Lead Vocal

File:Quadrophenia (album).jpg

Quadrophenia (film)

If I had to pinpoint one song of all the tracks that is most memorable I’d have to say “Bell Boy” due to Keith Moon’s cockney accent on vocals. It’s the epitome of camp yet comes across highly believable.

Sting played the role of Ace Face, the bell boy in the movie Quadrophenia.

“Bell Boy” – He meets a former Ace Face who now holds the place as a bell boy at the very hotel the Mods tore up. He looks on Jimmy with a mixture of pity and contempt. The two argue, as Jimmy feels the Ace Face has “sold out”. Jimmy is now feeling that everything, even the Mod lifestyle, has let him down.

The Who – Quadrophenia 2011/2012

Image via Wikipedia

The Who is re-releasing Quadrophenia as a Director’s cut box set next month, on November 15th. They add to my ongoing 2011 collector dilemma as to what box set I want for my 60th birthday…..(Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, U2, Achtung Baby just to start…)

I first witnessed Quadrophenia when I was an FM college disk jockey at WNHU-FM. Our radio station was given an advanced copy in early October of 1973 and it was the most playlisted album for the next four months. I featured it strongly on my afternoon shows. I have always felt that Quadrophenia was The Who’s finest achievement.

Such classics as “5:15”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (Pete’s Theme), “The Punk and the Godfather”, “The Real Me” and “Bell Boy” (Keith’s Theme).

Quadrophenia has lost none of its luster these almost 38 years. It holds up amazingly well, having been translated into a film, then live recordings of the rock opera and finally into play productions which I must witness someday.

Last I understood is that The Who, Peter and Roger with others will tour North America in 2012 with a Quadrophenia live production. That is high on my 2012 live performance list.