October 30, 2020

1994-01-16 – Detroit Free Press

1994 01 16 Detroit_Free_Press_Sun__Jan_16__1994_ 2

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Robert Mann Kayser, left, and Roger Bart star in “The Who’s Tommy,” coming to Detroit.

comes to town

See and hear the cry for family values

BY GARY GRAFF

F ree Press Music Writer

t’s a pretty far-out
thing, actually.”

Pete Townshend’s
1967 assessment of his
idea for the rock opera
“Tommy” doesn't
come close to realizing
how far it would actual-
ly go.

And how domestic
it would eventually be-

come.

“Tommy.” the Who's album about
Townshend’s “deaf, dumb and blind”
character, emerged in 1969 as an
ethereal rock ’n’ roll wonder. Dubbed
an opera, it was a song cycle about the
stricken boy. It was trippy enough to fit
the times and oblique enough to invite
interpretation.

Was it a parable about spiritual
quest? A study of celebrity? A celebra-
tion of individuality? A statement of
rebellion? A metaphor for the late-’60s
generational schism? Yes -— and no —
to all of those. “Tommy's" meaning

has been malleable; even Townshend’s

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