Wednesday, October 20, 2010

American Idiot

I finally got to see American Idiot, the musical that uses the Green Day music from, you know, American Idiot.

It’s a great concert musical. But something about a musical on Broadway automatically takes the edge off the original intent of the source material. No matter how well done. Watching performers up there performing is very performy.

However, it was good for an older dude like me to hear this music since, of course, I have not heard it before because I am still mostly listening to Joni Mitchell and Muskrat Love.

The three main characters are sketchily defined as follows: The guy who has to stay back because he knocked up his girlfriend, the guy who leaves town and becomes a heroin addict, and the guy who goes to war and loses a leg. Sadly, that’s all I can say about any of them.

The three main guys are surly, hurt and fucked up. They have lots of feelings and act on understandable intention to get out of the bad lives they were born into. However, they exhibit no native intelligence and it is up to the street smart women to teach them a tiny bit, but this is, truly, ever so tiny.

They are redeemed by the end by the simple act of living and learning and “By the strength of a good woman.” Old trope. Kind of lazy.

The play, really, is not a play. But as a live music video it is fabulous. And the talent, as always, is top drawer.

Michael Mayer, director and book writer, is a biz friend of mine. And as a friend, I say to him: Next time you put a play together, think more deeply about the characters. Or hire Bjork to write the book, or me. The idea is fun. But one could use a bit more meat on those bones. Additionally, the lower middle class is hard to get right without it seeming all angsty or silly.

I do not exactly relate to the lower middle class. I understand the choices are limited for these people and they are pissed off and are naturally drawn to angry punk music. Hell, I’m pissed off about my limited choices and I’ve been to college and every few years take a trip to Paris. But what always surprises me about the lower middle class is this: since one in that class truly is getting completely fucked over and enslaved, why not figure out a way to foment change? And then I realize it. They are Republicans. And really, the only way they will ever have better lives is if they were to live in a socialist society. Or something approaching it. So they are the victims of our market economy, yet they have completely bought into the myth of the market economy. Sad. They choose exactly what causes them pain. Not that I’m promoting socialism here… ;) But I do not understand people who have such a load of angst, yet do not see they are actually the cause of much of it. This blind spot, to me, renders them immature, very reactive and poor.

I liked the ballads most of all. I always do. I like an easy guitar chord sequence and a lyrical melody line. Why not? It is so pleasing.

Overall, I would say go see it. You can get halfies at TKTS or TDF. It is worth it. It is always good to hear talented singers singing good music. And visually, well, it's all TV screens and ladders and wires and circus. Everyone likes a circus.

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