The best Rock Opera for Easter ?
Always hoped that I'd be an apostle, knew that I would make it if I try. Then when we retire we can write the gospels so they'll still talk about us when we've died.
Those lyrics have certainly echoed in my shower many a time, and not entirely around Easter. I enjoy singing them and all of the album, yes, album, I have had an actual Jesus Christ Superstar album in my possession. Of all the things that might be shady in my memory, when, where and with whom I listened to the album with, will always appear bright, fresh and like it happened yesterday, instead of yesteryear.
Look at all my trials and tribulations, sinking in a gentle pool of wine. What's that in the bread it's gone to my head, till this morning is this evening life is fine.
It was 1971 when the opera came out, and from all the distress from the Pope and ministers not to be out-done by the Pope, (whats the buzz?) Jesus Christ Superstar was a smash, and I just had to have my album for Easter. I never really cared for the opera movie or play, but the album music and lyrics struck a chord with this dude for ever more. The Beatles took a backseat for awhile.
And, as fate would have it, the first week I was absorbing my JCS, my Grandparents visited for the Easter holidays. We usually went to their house, don't remember why they were at ours. I knew not to mention anything about it. My Grandmother was a staunch Christian Bible banger and I could only imagine her thoughts on the opera were much the same as her minister, or her fave TV Evangelist. I never thought she would think for herself, and I certainly never, I say never, never expected her to do what she did. But then, I don't think anybody, not my Dad (her son) or others in the family really knew Mamie. And as time went on in my life I came to think of Mamie as 'pretty cool' instead of the typical 'grandma type' lost in the up-tight fears and the superstitions she was inoculated with while growing up.
It was at dinner when it came out, probably during the news portioned. Funny, I was told not to say anything about having the new album, but as soon as she mentioned it and the stir Andrew Lloyd Webber was causing with his Rock Opera, Dad told her I had just bought it. (it was always like that)
"Really?" She looked at me as if I was growing something up in my bedroom I wasn't aloud to. "I would like to listen to it, Bobby," is what she said to me. I remember my mouth getting dry as I struggled for a word or two. "Sure, you can listen to it after dinner," Dad told his mother.
To this day, Good Friday, I can see her there. I thought she was just going to listen to a few songs and then sneak away slowly from this teenagers room adorned with day-glow posters and the smell of incense, but she stayed. Mamie not only listened to the whole rock opera, she laid in my bed with the book of lyrics on her lap and followed it all the way through. She only bothered to say anything when it was time to turn the albums over on my turntable. "Bobby," I heard her yell from my room, when the music faded out and the stereo turned off.
And she liked it! Couldn't hardly believe it. Not only that, she wanted to hear the first part again. And if that wasn't enough to blow me/us away, I heard her actually hum along with it the second time around. This is what her comment was, and I can hear it as well as I can hear her humming, "I don't know how to love Him," that evening in my bedroom.
"I don't understand why they don't like it. Maybe because it's rock music. Or maybe because it was written by a Jew, who knows. They don't like to think of Jesus as a Jew anyway. I liked it. Mary's song is my favorite. Thank you, Bobby."
I'm always happy to have turned Mamie on to JCS. Every Easter and every time my shower song is JCS I see her laying in my bed humming away with this opera. So, for me, and for Mamie as well, JCS is by far The best Rock Opera for Easter.