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I know what you mean about how Michael always described the show as the story of the life of a performer. I don’t think my take on the opening and the closing negates any of that. The bulk of the show is definitely the story.
But think about the other things he always says when talking about the show – how scary it was, how it was the bravest thing he’s ever done. To me the lyrics in the opening medley relate directly to that.
“What’s hard is easy, what’s natural comes hard” To me that’s a reference to the Donmar show. Michael has done shows with huge orchestras and thousands of people in the audience. Many would assume that’s hard. But the Donmar was stripped down in a small space, just him and a piano, and he was terrified every night. In the interview he talks about how you have to be totally honest when presenting something in such an intimate space. If he didn’t get it right, the story wouldn’t have worked at all.
You said “I guess I’m just thinking he would have acknowledged his personal connection to the entire thing more fully if he had been using himself as the basis from which to build the journey.” Sorry, I’m not saying Michael was using himself as the basis from which to build the journey. I’m saying that the show has several sections with the story in the middle. The opening is a kind of a ‘here we go, this is going to be really different and not what you’re expecting and I’m really nervous about it hope I can pull it off, if you’re with me I think I can do it” statement. Then we get the story where Michael gradually eases into the character. Then we have the summing up at the end in THIS IS WHAT IT IS.
I’m not expressing it very well. I guess I’m big on form and symmetry so this structure just feels right to me.
You were expressing it just fine – I misunderstood what you were saying. I’ve just gone back and re-read your initial post and my reply and I see what you mean now. I had always gotten the impression (mostly by the intense and very deep emotional performance of many of the songs that one just couldn’t act without really knowing) that there was more of Michael in the show than he ever let on. But I never brought that thought far enough to connect it to the actual construction of the piece. So, you think that Michael introduces the story of the performer, shows us that story, then follows it up with the final two numbers being a statement again by himself? I agree there is a clear connection between the fist song and Michael’s own feelings in regards to the Donmar and I did catch that when first watching the video. However, I never carried the thought all the way through as you have done and I really like what you have made of it. I never could quite account for the reason he left the stage and then came back for another song – no one does that in a musical or play and if he really was being ‘The Performer’ throughout, there really isn’t a reason that he would do that. You’ve just explained it. And you’ve also solved our dilemma over drawing a time frame for the show. It’s so neat how many varied interpretations are coming out of this – and even neater how they all fit and make perfectly good sense.
Now this is interesting…so they actually DID discuss whether this ‘performer’ would be Michael or just a generic version of him. And in the end, Johathan says, ‘that became irrelevant after a while, it was just his personality on stage telling a story’. Those guys are pretty darned clever to be able to leave it so open and still have it make sense no matter which way you look at it. Incredible piece of theatre. Interesting too what they said about the Bach. I had originally interpreted the fact that it was indeed a prelude (as opposed to any other type of piece) to signify a new beginning for the performer…something that leads into the new ‘hopeful’ part of his life. Sounds kinda like I wasn’t too far away on that.
I can’t begin to imagine how much work, how much time, went into creating and developing this show. It boggles my mind that any one person could be so clever, so well-versed in the musical field, and so intelligent and brilliant as to be able to draw so many connections between that many completely different songs, to create ‘this absolutely amazing piece of work.
I was wondering, they had to get permission to use every single one of those songs in that show. After putting them together and creating such in intricate story, what would happen if permission was refused? I can’t imagine that it was, but curious about what would have happened to the story if they had been forced to remove a song and either leave a hole or replace it with another.
Debbie N. can speak more to this, but thre was one thing at least they didn’t get permission for. Eve Ensler rewrote the spoken interludes for IS THAT ALL THERE IS. Michael performed the altered version in at least one of the previews, but switched it back to the original version. Debbie thought the altered version was much more powerful, but the original version still works, I think. Like you, I am totally fascinated with how this piece came together.
The originals do work and work well, but I was really struck by the Eve Ensler version. If it is copyright that was the problem, and I assume it was, then that is a real shame. Michael had mentioned a couple of weeks earlier on the Arts Programme that he was still awaiting permission from Lieber and Stoliler to change some of the words – he actually begged them on air to let him do so. I guess that didn’t happen. Eve Ensler had modernized the text and made it more pertinent to the character. The opening lines were startling – extra impact as it was the first time Michael had actually spoken that night – remember there was no spoken introduction in the first week.
I wish I could remember it accurately, but I can only give you the gist. The first section started by saying that as a child he used to tiptoe around the house, hoping his father would forget he was there. One day the stair creaked beneath his foot, and his father grabbed him and slammed him against the wall. No wonder he turns away from emotional contact ‘if that’s all there is’. Of course, this makes more sense of the character and gives background to the relationship with his parents – LITTLE PAL and that disgusted ‘good riddance, goodbye’ in THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY. The second section was his first appearance on stage, aged 17, playing Tony in WEST SIDE STORY. He loved the spotlight and the applause – he sang the one word, Maria, in this – but afterwards ‘is that all there is?’ – an echo of how he later feels with NICE DREAM/SOLITUDE. The third was his first love – or rather his first sexual encounter. ‘We got naked…but afterwards…is that all there is?’ In the Lieber/Stoller version the first love affair breaks his heart, but he doesn’t die and when he doesn’t die…..in the Eve Ensler version he doesn’t get so emotionally involved – he’s already drawing back from emotional entanglement.
In the Lieber /Stoller lyrics the house fire is startling, but it doesn’t help in building the story and the circus is old fashioned – no boy would be impressed with a lady in pink tights on the trapeze these days! It does still work, but I think for an analysis of what was intended for the character, it’s important to be aware of this other version.
That’s interesting Debbie. The Ensler lyrics develops the character in great detail and explain much that we have been guessing at. It is a shame they couldn’t be used.
Just a few extra little bits to add to what Debbie remembers. First little story, Michael is caught by his drunken father and reminisces ‘is that all there is to a beating?’ Second story Michael says ‘is that all there is to a standing ovation?’ The third story about his first sexual encounter ‘We got naked and discovered each other.” I can’t quite remember whether he says ‘is that all there is to love?’ after his lover leaves him, but I seem to remember that he gazes at his lover after the sexual encounter and thinks ‘is that all there is to love?’ Could be wrong though.
Thank you for the alternative lyric for IS THAT ALL THERE IS. I can see how this would have been a very powerful addition to the whole performance and what a shame it couldn’t be used.
First of all Debbie U, you have blown me away with your thoughts about the timeline and Michael’s role in the show. It really brings some loose ends together for me. I also love hearing the words that Michael had wanted to use in IS THAT ALL THERE IS as they would really have helped explain the extent of damage the hero experienced. It is such a shame they couldn’t get permission.
I do feel that THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY was little Hero singing about his own pain at first and ending with the price he saw his mother pay. To me IF YOU WERE THE ONLY GIRL was little Hero hopeful that now he and Mom could have a good life and he could make her happy. I do think that as time passed he realized that he couldn’t because she couldn’t get over her loss. I can see him as feeling abandoned because she withdrew into her own pain and then feeling abandoned again when she died.
There are so many parts in this show that broke my heart, but the one look that absolutely kills me is the final ‘oh’ at the end of HOW DID I LOSE YOU. Sometimes I have to look away, it’s so raw.
I absolutely loved it. It was so very different, but what I saw was a comfortable Michael going back to the basics, not really having to please anybody but managing to please them anyway. I saw a Michael without a suit and tie, without restraints, a man enjoying himself, and he looked so much at ease with what he was doing. I just felt that for the first time, I was perched on the edge of the stage watching a man comfortable with himself and entertaining me to the max. I also felt that without the added musical accompaniment I was able to concentrate more on the entertainer. I guess that I have always had a passion for straight-forward theatre without the frills, etc and that is exactly with I got.
I have been watching…not trying to work out how all songs or lyrics fit, just watching the emotion. He is using body…eyes…to tell story…all the emotion is there…just following that takes me on a journey…whether it’s the journey intended by Michael, Jason, Jonathan I have no way of knowing, but it is a journey I will never forget. From beginning to end we see how performer finds his way through it all…from IS THAT ALL THERE IS to THIS IS WHAT IT IS…from dark to light.
I am back to a questions I have posted before – ‘Mother, Father look what you’ve done…I couldn’t walk but I tried to run, so I’ve just got to tell you good bye.’ I don’t think parents died…I think he is saying goodbye…to leave...to get on with his life. They didn’t need or want him so now he is free…no strings to tie him down so now he sets off to build his stairway to paradise…to find his dream. He needed to say good-bye to get on with his life and to get through all the pain from his childhood.
I would agree the parents don’t die at this point. I think it is the memory of his father and the pain he and caused him that he is trying to leave behind. Also as the mother recovers and rebuilds her life, she doesn’t need her son as much for support anymore. To some extent the character resents this because it leaves him feeling rejected again and with no direction to this life. It’s because he feels so unwanted and taken for granted that he gets the rush he needs to believe for the first time he is free to get on with enjoying his life and he is determined not to let anything get in his way.
Donna and Marie, I do see your interpretations and they work perfectly with the story (with any of the stories for that matter), but I still believe the character’s mother died right at the end of IF YOU WERE THE ONLY GIRL. He ends the song so abruptly, so suddenly changing his facial expressions from innocent childish love to indescribable pain and sorrow and moves into SAY A LITTLE PRAYER with his eyes downcast as if he were looking into his mother’s face for the very last time…to me that is where she dies and leaves him.
I do agree with both of you that the father doesn’t necessarily die. It really isn’t relevant to the story whether he does for not for the simple reason that he ‘died’ for the character when he left him in LITTLE PAL. After that there is no mention of him during the show. Mother does appear again when he stands pondering what heaven will be like. Hugging himself with a faint smile on his face, as if the thought brings him fond memories he asks ‘Will my mother be there waiting for me, holding out her arms the way she does as she calls my name?’
His mother, however, left him when he still needed her…and in his mind she left because she didn’t need him anymore. He’s angry with her for leaving him alone and he doesn’t understand why she should have left too. That’s why the end of SAY A LITTLE PRAYER is so desperate and emphatic: “Darling believe me – for me there is no one but you.’ Mother, he’s saying you were the ‘only girl in the world’ for me – why did you have to leave me alone?’
I do agree when you say MOTHER, FATHER is him saying goodbye to his parents in an effort to leave them behind. I think at this point he’s realizing that he needs to do something besides dwell on the past and this is his attempt to leave it behind so he can try to build that STAIRWAY TO PARADISE. However, I definitely don’t think he succeeds in detaching all those strings – his inability to form any sort of lasting relationship later on is a manifestation of that. He may wish he had no strings, but the past he finds, is inescapable and the only way to move on is not to forget, but rather to accept, which he does in THIS IS WHAT IT IS.
I’m with you too Rebecca in saying the character has not completely cut all his ties to the past in GOT NO STRINGS. The remaining ties and ghosts are the character’s motivation in the following songs. It’s like it becomes an obsession with him to prove both personally and to the world that he can better himself whatever the cost “I’m gonna get there at any price, stand aside I’m on my way.” It’s where the manic clamouring to experience all the good things in life comes from, HAPPY TALK. Where the belief that he should live life for himself and make the most of every second of it in THE BEST OF TIMES and the cynicism of IS THAT ALL THERE IS comes from.
I had wanted to respond way back about the ‘bracketing’ of the performance: character versus Michael. I have been paying attention to this part a lot as I thought it very intriguing, and I still haven’t made up my mind about it fully. It seems to me the DON’T LOOK AT ME/GIVE A LITTLE WHILSTLE/ANYONE CAN WHISTLE intro is clearly a very Michael-y part, WHERE OR WHEN seems more a part of the show to me…his spoken intro…well, it does seem that if it was meant to divide the show that it should have fallen between those two songs. AS to the entrances and exits at the end, again I feel like THIS IS WHAT IT IS is still very much the character. So could it be that the first exit signals the end of the show the character is putting on for us, then he comes back and sings THIS IS WHAT IT IS still as the character as if to say ‘that was where I was, that was the journey I took, and here is where I am now”. Then he takes the bows with Jason and that is the end of the character and Michael sings AFTER THE BALL.
I am now at the point of being able to go either way on the bit about Mom dying. It was certainly my first reaction, and still is when I watch it, it could also just be the Mom having moved on to the extent that she neglected her little boy’s emotional needs and died later.
I think the mother dies during SAY A LITTLE PRAYER. When he’s singing IF YOU WERE THE ONLY GIRL he’s a youngster and it’s just him and his Mum and he’s the only ‘man’ in her life. He then turns to look at his mother in a different time – later. I’ve always thought she’s putting on her makeup and combing her hair. During SAY A LITTLE PRAYER the tense changes – he begins the song in the future tense, ‘forever and ever you’ll stay in my heart and I will love you’ then moves into the present – then to the past ‘oh how I loved you’. In the middle of the song, Michael’s whole demeanour changes to one of pain and anger. The piano playing becomes more violent, and Michael looks up to that corner light, where he directs his gaze where he looks to Heaven, throughout the show. It’s where he looks in HOW GLORY GOES and in the final verse of MOTHER when he says goodbye to her – he looks aside when he finally says goodbye to his father, not Heaven.
I can see why they changed MOTHER - it wouldn’t have worked at all in the context of the story. Definitely, a good job there and to say the truth I like Michael’s version better than the original. Makes more sense to me, not just within the story, but even as a better song in and of itself. No offense to John Lennon of course.
I am still pondering those changes to NO BUSINESS…. The first change makes more than enough sense, but change in the second line. Is it just that I’m somehow not reading it properly or does the original line seem much more appropriate than the altered one. I see how it’s chronologically out of order…so that is why they must have changed it. But why make reference to a wife that he’s never breathed a word of before? Is he speaking that one line to make a general reference to you as in any one person or is he being specific about himself?
I like what Michael did with MOTHER as well. I wonder what the original meaning was supposed to be. I noticed the NBSLB lyric changes when I went to see AGYG a couple of weeks ago. I took the ‘on top of that your wife and you just parted’ to be referring to his personal loss. The ‘she’ of SHE TOUCHED ME could have become his wife…one of the many details of this character’s life we don’t know.
Now knowing that there are some lyric changes it seems that they were putting this story together…using songs we know…but turning the lyrics to progress the storyline…and now we really have to think about what it all means…how things fit. When I saw the change in the lyrics of MOTHER that seemed to be a clear choice of what they wanted to say not how it was originally written.
If he is referring to the she of the SHE TOUCHED ME sequence later on NO BUSINESS takes on a different meaning in the place of the show. Chronologically if we were taking each song that the performer presents within the frame of his story as describing events as they happened then it wouldn’t quite fit. He hadn’t yet met anyone at that point in the narrative – at least no one he shared with us…except that one person he feels hopelessly in love with in IS THAT ALL THERE IS. It could just mean that the song NO BUSINESS…is not meant to be taken as an immediate successor to that which came before. It could be just an overview type song meant to make us think about show business in general and everything it encompasses – some thoughts to make us reflect on as we watch this showbiz at its best in the medley. As he remembers everything about his past he begins to draw the connections between it and his job in show business. That would explain even further why the song is given such a bitter presentation.
I don’t really think that his word ‘wife’ in the song is meant to be taken literally. I honestly don’t think this character was able to get deep enough into any relationship to marry someone.
I too went on a search for lyrics and found the original NO BUSINESS…lyric and I guess this is when I first thought that it is in this song that his mother dies. The character is by then throwing himself into his work to make something of his life. He is putting that need before his mother’s illness, her death, before anything else really. I think the second changed line could be referring to the person that he had been deeply in love with in the previous song. The character says that one day his love went away and he thought he’d die, but he didn’t……Instead he embarks on his crusade to succeed and sometime later when the final break is made in that second changed line of NO BUSINESS, not even a broken heart deters him from his path as the ‘but you go on line’ indicates.
I had thought some of the songs in this production are guideposts or anchor songs. A point in the story that songs before are working toward and are also connected to the songs that follow. I think NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is one of those songs. It is changing the tone from his personal life to a professional one and even though it ends the act there is a direct connection to the medley that begins the second half. The guidepost songs are slightly out of time and can cover a wider timeline in the story.
I think Hero became involved with theatre when he was quite young. It may even have been an interest of his mother. Or this could have been his outlet from his mother’s demands. He became ‘professional’ almost by accident, discovering this was something that made a difference in his life. He starts out very slow and reminiscent like ‘how did I get into this thing anyway?’ But the life was pulling him in and he found that magical satisfaction that one feels when doing something that one can really love. At first he is learning the craft and watching the people around him. If your life isn’t going right – it can on stage. You can be happy and convince people you are even if you know better about yourself. You can pretend your life is happy and you can even believe it with enough practice.
As he was becoming involved with the life on stage, that was when his mother died and like most actors he used that emotion in his performance. Perhaps the relationship ‘your wife and you just parted’ is the relationship that ended in IS THAT ALL THERE IS. Like his mother’s death, this was in his past, part of the emotions he was working through on stage. I don’t believe he had married, but he may have been thinking in that direction. It hurt him when it ended ’is THAT all there is?’ The song is no longer slow, but growing stronger and more dramatic as he is becoming more successful and leaving behind the places he used to know and the life he had lived before. He felt he had to change his life and move on – that was his driving ambition. The spark needed to bring a career on stage to life. The medley is next.
The spotlight hits our hero on ‘next day on your dressing room, they’ve hung a star.’ He’s made it and he is ready to face life head on from now on. Hitting a triumphant note to prove his point and leaves Act I, having succeeded in getting where he wanted to be. The prosperity he now has justifies everything he has had to do to get there, his failed relationships, the partying to excess, and allowing his differences with his mother to keep him away when she needed him.
Our hero is happy and enjoying life performing. I think the jacket and tie are important. They indicate affluence that he has achieved some of the success he’d been striving for. There is humour. To me the medley was used to cover ground and move the story along. The next seven or so songs show the character finding confidence, self esteem. He’s deciding he wants and deserves to experience all the good things in life. That he has wasted time living on the outskirts of whatever is going on and now he wants to be in the thick of it all. So he becomes Mr. Showbiz, doing whatever it takes to get the required reaction from the audience. GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY/42ND STREET is the character expressing what he wants to achieve next, his new dream.
From Broadway, our here sets off to make the dream happen. He leaves home to head for the bright lights. Another loved one is left behind although he keeps in touch. He is traveling up and down the country working at making his dream a reality. The character is sad about the loved one left behind (could there have been a child involved?) The feeling of the medley changes and becomes darker. There’s a loss of control, a look of hysteria in S’WONDERFUL. He is on a roller coaster and can’t get off. What had been a joy was now a burden that he carries everywhere with him and he can’t see around it. Because the depression had returned and engulfed him again another relationship fails. He declares he doesn’t need anyone, that he can live his life alone. For a time something had made him happy and because of that happiness he could cope with everyday life, but I didn’t last. By the time we return to ‘let me sing and I’m happy’ the character feels like he is being pulled from pillar to post. The humour is gone now, everything is dark again and lastly the character begs on his knees for his question to be answered, is that all he’d been born for, to make other people happy…what about his own happiness.
Personally, I don’t feel there is any real story construction in the sequence of songs in the medley, though I agree with you about the ending. Where the rest of the show is constructed with one song leading on from the next and chosen to carry on the story, I took on the medley as primarily representative of his work on stage his successful career – the star is on the dressing room door – he’s made it to the top. He may be happy when he is performing, but there’s still something missing. There’s almost a manic desperation in his efforts to make the audience happy. It’s hard work, but he can do it.
I also think the dinner jacket and bowtie are the stage costume and indicate that the performer is performing – though that doesn’t explain why he wasn’t wearing them right at the beginning of Act I. Though, having said that he’s not actually performing at the beginning, he’s on stage, but what we see and hear are his private thoughts – gathering his thoughts to enable him to perform.
The construction of the medley is so clever – the way one word/phrase links into the next song. Other than being symbolic of career successes, I think it’s a stand alone lets-show-em-what-we-can-do piece. This is surely a part of th show where Michael must feel close to the material – life becomes art.
The first lines of NICE DREAM really get me – from the outset, I’ve wondered if this is Michael or the character/us, his fans/the character’s audience – still can’t make up my mind. A bit of both perhaps.
As for the ‘your wife and you just parted’ line – I think the grammar makes it loose enough not to mean ‘my wife and I just parted’ – it’s hypothetical – the personal problems that can beset a performer, but the show must go on. The new line about his ailing mother can, on the other hand, be read as personal and part of the story because we’ve already heard about her death.
When I first saw the show at the Donmar, I read the LITTLE PAL/SAY A LITTLE PRAYER sequence as the character leaving his wife and child. I heard Michael being interviewed a few days later and he put me right – that this was looking back to his childhood - and of course that is clear now I can take more in – so much to take in on the first viewing! But I still think that interpretation could have worked – and would fit in with that new line in NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS.
I really like the way this is going. This brings him into the emotions of NICE DREAM. I felt at the beginning when he was working on his career he was happier too. It kept him from feeling too much. There is the excitement of NO BUSINESS… ‘there you are, next day on your dressing room they’ve hung a star’. He made it! That is his excitement in the opening of the medley ‘let me sing a happy song…’ Things are going well and he can act like he is happy. I think he is living his life through other people, both the reaction of the audience and the characters he is creating on the stage. There are so many different emotions in the medley that I think some of it is a description of the roles he is playing in different shows. I see him holding people off in personal relationships – relationships don’t last beyond the play they are appearing in. His emotions go up and down depending on the part he is playing and the audience reaction to it. I think the only relationship Hero lets himself think about is the one he has with the audience.
He is successful. He can make the audience laugh or cry – they come out to the play to see him. When the curtain comes down he is alone. The audience goes home, the theatre is empty now and very quiet. ‘If you think that you’re strong enough, if you think you belong enough’. He thought that was him, that he was strong. Now he slowly takes off the actor’s costume, first playing with the tie, then throwing off the jacket. Just Hero on the stage by himself with no audience to love him and no other person waiting for him ‘with gloom everywhere, I sit and I stare, I know that I’ll soon go mad.’
I think he is ready to try and change his life again.
I reckon we start by meeting the character one night at a ‘particular point’ in his life. The first act and the medley is the character’s retrospective look at his past, what made him the person he is at that ‘particular point’. When the lights go up for NICE DREAM although our hero is still wearing the dinner jacket, it is now unbuttoned, the tie has been removed, and his collar is undone. The evening’s performance is over and our hero is alone and trying to make some sense of everything. Rebecca pointed to the removal of the jacket as showing the character finding himself stripped of all his support networks…I’ll go with that. From here on I think we are now in real time watching the character as he tries to come to terms with all his memories. It seemed to make sense there would have been some sort of emotional upheaval during the period the medley covered.
In NICE DREAM our hero is talking about how all the adulation and attention had made him happy. He had longed for it for so long and always thought once he had made it and had this joy in his life, it would solve all his other problems. It had for a time, but in the end it wasn’t enough and now even that joy had left him. He wants to find his place in the world, but he doesn’t think he is strong enough and once again in SOLITUDE he is on his own struggling to cope with life and trying to escape memories that won’t go away.
Performing is one of the extremes he goes to in his search for something that gives him satisfaction. Performing is something he is good at, and something which brings happiness to his audience. He gets the buzz from performing, but after the buzz has gone he’s left bereft. At the end, he’s merely come to accept that ‘this is what it is…I am not the only one.’ He can be content with that.
I didn’t think of the character’s fall from the heights to the depths as an isolated event, but rather every night, every town, every show, though he could lose himself onstage, feel that ‘high’ and revel in the approbation from the audience. Each night when the show was over, he returned to that lonely, unfulfilled place that was a constant undercurrent to his life. And it was this relentless return, night after night, to that emptiness that inability to find a way to banish it, the knowledge that it might follow him always, that brought him to the brink of engulfing despair.
Fortunately he discovers, when he needs it most, an inner strength, or a spiritual boost, or both, that carries him over this treacherous spot and into a pool of calm acceptance. Not happy, necessarily, not rid of all his angst, but able to handle it now with some sense of having put the worst behind him and knowing he is not alone in his future struggles with it, what it may be.
You are right Marie, if you study it the medley can either by accident or design, tell a story as well.
Have you considered that when in his life he had the most difficulty connecting with himself and with other people he sang a song called IS THAT ALL THERE IS? And at the end when he is at last able to begin to make that connection, he sings a song called THIS IS WHAT IT IS.
A while back I thought using these two songs to show where he was…IS THAT ALL THERE IS to show where he was, how he was seeing things…to THIS IS WHAT IT IS showing how he worked through it all. Though things in life are not perfect, he found a place where he was happier…life going forward going to the light. I thought it was not by accident that those two songs were used at those points…is that all there is to this is what it is.
I still see SAY A LITTLE PRAYER not as his mother dying, but in getting on with her life and he feels she no longer needs him…to me his is saying the memories keep coming back to remind him of abuse of him as a child and of mother…he tried to help her…she somehow got thru feelings of abuse and moved on, which is what I believe hero does…at this point…He is trying to prove to himself and to parents that he can be more…needed… loved. Believe that NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS is telling us that at that point mother died and he is telling us that his love of IS THAT ALL THERE IS was more than seemed and if not his wife then relationship he thought would work out…I don’t think the fact that he could not commit to anyone kept him from believing that he could…that if he tried he could have a deep relationship…don’t think he truly realizes that till later in his journey.
I found another lyric change today – it’s one I suspected before, but wasn’t sure about. Instead of "I got rhythm, I got music, I got my gal" Michael sings "will I have rhythm, will I have music, will I have my gal". Not sure how significant this is – not sure if there’s a reason other than the fact that it fits in with the preceeding song in the medley.
It strikes me that the lyric change in there is meant to hint, even if ever so subtly, that as sure and confident as our ‘character’ may look on stage, he’s still got his doubts buried somewhere way back in his head and they won’t go away. It’s almost like a foreshadow of the NICE DREAM/SOLITUDE reflections that come right after.
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