THE HILLBENDERS

A BLUEGRASS VERSION OF THE WHO'S TOMMY

DAKOTA JAZZ CLUB

NOVEMBER 4, 2017

All content by: Patrick Dunn

It is not uncommon for a Bluegrass band to take a well known composition from a popular artist and come up with a fresh version that can present a truly unexpected result. Perhaps the most ambitious example of this do date is 
The HillBenders take on the The Who's historic Rock Opera "Tommy".​ Fans of the original score might question whether this is a wise undertaking, but hearing some of the most recognizable phrasing performed on mandolin, banjo and slide guitar gave me a new appreciation for this music.

 

The band's five members do a good job of dividing up the responsibilities so that all get a chance to shine on their instrument and no single sound dominates the performance. They also took turns talking about some of the songs and explaining how they fit into the story-line, which helped add clarity to the overall piece. Familiarity alone helped make "Pinball Wizard" a standout, but aside from that the finale build on "See Me Feel Me" was epic. 

"The story of Tommy has been told Minneapolis. What a great room and what a great crowd, we appreciate you guys so much." The Bluegrass Opera took just shy of an hour to pull off leaving room for four additional tunes that the band had a lot of fun with capping off a uniquely enjoyable show. 

Set List:

Overture

It's A Boy

1921

Amazing Journey

Sparks

Eyesight to the Blind

Christmas

Cousin Kevin

The Acid Queen

Underture

Do You Think It's Alright

Fiddle About

Pinball Wizard

There's a Doctor I've Found

Go To The Mirror

Tommy Can You Hear Me

Smash the Mirror

Sensation

Miracle Cure

Sally Simpson

I'm Free

Welcome

Tommy's Holiday Camp

We're Not Gonna Take It / See Me Feel Me / Listening to You

Encore:

Don't Look at Me

There's More Pretty Girls

Let it Bleed

Oh' Darlin'

 
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