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Jim's Rock And Roll Dream Came Through

Posted by:
daveake 04:39 am MST 02/20/17

We all remember our very first time, like it was only yesterday. Mine was in 1978, when I was barely 17 (#fakenews - actually I was barely 18) at a friend's house where we used to spend Sunday afternoons chatting and listening to records. He put on Bat Out Of Hell, and I was blown away (by the music; he wasn't that sort of friend); it was like nothing I'd heard before, and in a good way. Then at home a few days later, Meat and the band appeared on The Old Grey Whistle test, and I was forever to be a Steinman fan.

Fast forward nearly 40 years I went into London to see the cast of the new musical perform outside the Coliseum. It was so great to see Jim's name on signs all along the street. Strangely, that was when it finally triggered in my brain that this musical was finally going to happen. My first reaction when the first number started was "shit, they're so young!", but of course The Lost are forever 18, as am I in my head though sadly not physically. My second reaction was "wow, they're really killing this" - such good singers and with so much energy; I and the others present knew that they'd not leave the musical wanting.

Fast forward a few months, and Julie and I drove up to Manchester to meet around 50 other Steinfans for the first show. Wow, it's actually happening! And it's happening just 3 hours from home - we're so used to having to fly to Europe to see TdV or NYC to see various Steinman gigs and to meet up with other fans; now I can go anytime I have a few spare hours! I just hoped that that the show would get close to living up to our high expectations. We knew that cast would be great, and of course there's no doubt about the music, but what about the story, the set ....?

Wow, the set. F-ing incredible. So well designed, so atmospheric, so clever in its use of space. I've seen many musicals where the set seemed to have been knocked together by a local joiner from bits at B&Q (USA translation: Home Depot), but this was exquisitely designed and built. I can't say much more but there are many surprises built in with, in my opinion, the highlight being at the end of Paradise where you could probably hear the audience's collective jaw dropping with everything thinking "What the fuck did I just witness?". I'd happily pay the admission fee again just for that one song. Sharon Sexton (Sloane) described it on Twitter as "possibly my most thrilling 10mins on stage ever"

The set also incorporates some huge projection screens which are used to great effect throughout the show. Really, other musicals are going to see so tame and boring after this.

Probably my only big concern was the story, but I needn't have worried. The songs all fit *so* well. There are parts where I think the dialogue could be a bit shorter and sharper, but really this seemed like a final, polished show not a first preview. So, if anyone involved is reading, plus don't change much! Don't go cutting out songs (well, maybe Deadringer as that didn't seem to help the story along), but keep the others. Keep Objects which was lovely. Keep IACBTMN which was so well performed.

And while I'm nit-picking, the black uniforms seemed a bit cheap; make something that makes them look a lot more threatening.

Oh, and the sound. Awesome! We were 4 rows from the front (outside the splash zone, the burn zone and the blood-on-shirt zone) where it was so loud and so strong! It even managed to drown out Marcus singing along right next to me! Well, nearly. Just one little error with a microphone that was off, but otherwise perfect.

The cast were pretty much perfect. From the London songs I was expecting Strat in particular to be wonderful, which he was, but Sloane and Falco really rocked the place. Everyone shone.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the audience, and their (our) reaction from the very first song was immense. I asked Andrew and Christina afterwards about opening-night nerves, and she said that after hearing the audience cheering at the end of the first song, she knew that it would be a good night! Sharon (again on Twitter) described us as an "insane audience!". Insane is good :-)

The show finished with my mind trying to take in everything I'd experienced. It failed; I need to see this show. Over and over again.

Jim, you should be *SO* proud.


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