Friday, February 06, 2009

Two of the best scenes from Tommy..Clapton and Elton John

If any of you remember, the entire musical was originally on a LP by The Who. Roger Daltry played in the movie, as well. Worth renting and watching. Beneath the videos is a poem I wrote a few years back about my own experience seeing the movie in Boston in the seventies at a time when this movie was on a fast track with Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Either you get it or you don't.

Tommy In The Sky With Diamonds

Stars blinked in the sky
that was us, high
in blackened theatre seats,
Roger Daltrey screaming,
seeeee me, heaaaaar me.
Clapton strutted down the aisle
with his MM crazed crowd
banners waving, blood of the
scotch bottle bled for thee--
Elton pin-balling that Wizard
in three foot laced shoes.
Pot so thick you could
slice the air.

Tommy, in rock opera glory,
resurrected across
that hazy Boston banned screen.

Tommy, Tommy,
sing us up the mountaintop.
Tommy, Tommy
lead us to the revolution.

We fell into each other after,
grasping and frantic,
eager to stretch
that fire into forever.


I rented the video years later.
My neighbor napped right through it and
my husband cracked lousy jokes, but

I slipped back with Daltrey
to the commune and you,
our bodies sweat-tight,
reliving the night when Tommy
lit up the theatre on Beacon Street.


Dan Wilcox said...

When the album came out we nearly wore it out, seeing it in our own mental movie theater. Years later when the film was made I nearly cried for joy to see it, with a different honey, in a different place, a different me.
I'll put it on my Netflix list.
Thanks for the reminder.

Pris said...

I can totally relate!!

Pris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyle Daggett said...

I also played the album incessantly, though I played the original cast recording of "Hair" even more. I'd been writing poems for a couple of years at that time, and I was interested, partly, in how to use poetry to tell performable stories. Though not exactly in the way Shakespeare did -- not with actors playing characters and doing dramatic readings, but something more like a modern rock opera without music. Or maybe a play with standard play dialogue, where people periodically started saying poems (rather than singing). Something like that.

I never really did figure out where to go with my thinking about it -- the notions I had demanded more writing skill than I had then.

I saw the movie "Tommy" when it came out back in the '70's, thought it was okay. I was strongly unimpressed by the movie version of "Hair" that came out a couple of years after that: it seemed like most of the cast was sleepwalking through the movie.

Pris said...

Lyle, that was a great goal to shoot for. Hair was the most innovative musical I'd ever seen. Saw in in San Francisco en route from our time in Hawaii to Newport. Besides the amazing content, actors in the balconies, coming down the aisles, walking down from the was as if it was happening all around us. Blew my mind in the best possible way. The actors there were very committed. Had group sessions regularly about the issues brought up in the musical. I saw it in the eighties when the cast wore wigs and it had become a period piece. The life had gone out of the performance. Can imagine the same with the movie, which I didn't see.