By Jim McCarthy Mar 21, 2012 0 comments

Rock of Ages-Hair Bands and Jazz Hands

So after years of selling this show all over the country, I finally saw Rock of Ages last night at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

In a way, the more you talk about Rock of Ages, the more it disintegrates, like a spider web or cotton candy.  Honestly, were you expecting an explication?  This show is meant 100% to be fun, especially for people who’ve got nostalgia for the 80’s and the peculiar, trashy appeal of hair band rock. It makes such a small demand on you mentally that you could probably do something else–file your taxes, or organize your sister’s surprise party–at the same time and not miss anything at all.

But I assure you that at one point in the evening or another, you’ll be singing along and having a good time.

Ok, so here are a few things about this show that are interesting.  Years ago, it started in Los Angeles in a small theatre (note the year, 2006, on that event), and we were one of the first places that picked it up and promoted it big.  In fact, I give Goldstar (and in particular Tanya Bershadsky, who worked in venue relations at the time) credit for identifying this as a winner in the zeitgeist perhaps earlier than anybody else.  Obviously, the show’s producers knew what they were up to, but we spread the word.

And I want to go even further and suggest that this show is at least partly responsible for the renaissance of the song “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.  I remember Tanya coming back from the show singing it one day, and of course, I remembered it from when it was just a Journey song , back in the 80s (actually a little before the hair band thing, since that song came out in ’81).  “What the hell?” I asked her.  “It’s in this show ‘Rock of Ages’ she said.”

Of course, David Chase put it famously in the Sopranos finale, and then it became a cultural meme at baseball games, and has become part of the classic rock lexicon.

But I believe it was ROA that started it all.  I should look back through our purchases of those early shows and see if Chase, David (2 tickets) shows up anywhere!

This is a great example of live entertainment leading the culture.  The show started and ideavirus that spread across the country and world, became a Broadway show, a touring show, and soon an (undoubtedly amazing) movie.

So for those of you who doubt it’s possible to create that kind of phenomenon, well, Don’t Stop Believin’ that it is.

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