Monday, 3 September 2012

Middle of the Road Monday - Jesus Christ Superstar



I've mentioned before that growing up my parents only had a handful of lps (my dad just wasn't into music apart for a strange fixation on Boney Ms Brown Girl in the Ring and my mum had a few singles that she had kept).

One of them was the original lp version of Jesus Christ Superstar. I remember pouring over the lyric sheet as I played it again and again.  I would sit transfixed as the film made its annual appearance on TV at Easter time. Once I went to poly I saw a live version and since then I've seen it about 3 more times with each revival

It is back in the news down to one of those singing competitions where the BBC promote Andrew Lloyd Webber's new show for a few weeks on prime time TV. This time a big stadium tour including intriguingly Tim Minchin and more worryingly Chris Moyles
.
Friends scratch their head when I go on about how dam good the whole things is, especially when all most people remember is a playground song about wearing frilly knickers and a bra (the worst song in the show) 

It really shouldn't be my cup of tea , very 70s sounding guitar and vocal histrionics (Ian Gillan was Jesus on the lp that my parents had) all a bit hippy concept.

Now I'm not at all religious and I don't want to offend anyone for who Christianity plays an important part in their lives..... but the musical strips it down to one hell of a story.

Although abased on the last days of Christ at its heart is an ideological struggle between Judas and Jesus. With events told from both their perspectives

The whole things starts with Judas having doubts driven along by a great guitar riff

"I remember when this whole thing began
No talk of god then we called you a man
But every word you say today
Gets twisted round some other way
and they'll hurt if they think you've lied

..... all your followers are blind
too much heaven on their minds
it was beautiful but now its sour"

Heaven on their Minds

To say I was a little obsessive may be an understatement as I used to imagine my own dream cast . I always had David Bowie as Pilate (before he popped up playing the role in Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ!)
You can just imagine him singing this

Pilates Dream


and performing in this



And so a strange love of musicals was born, the clever lyrics , the repeated melodies , the singing/speaking etc somehow strike a chord. Whilst I'm on hols middle of the road monday will pick my 3 favourites

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