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Thread: Margaret Atwood on Laurie Anderson's O Superman

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    Member Munster's Avatar
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    Margaret Atwood on Laurie Anderson's O Superman

    Margaret Atwood writes in The Guardian today about where she was the first time she heard O Superman by Laurie Anderson. I also remember the impact it had on me the first time I heard the song and have loved it ever since (perhaps the most memorable concert I have seen was Anderson performing it at the Dominion Theatre in London on the ‘United States’ tour in 1983).

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/20...rica-pertinent

    O Superman is on Anderson’s debut album, ‘Big Science’. I think, though, that the best song on the album is the title song. It is very witty, atmospheric and apt. The whole album is great, though, with some very funny lines. Here is the title song.

    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

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    Member proggy_jazzer's Avatar
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    Love this album, and Atwood's essay is spot-on. The first time i heard O Superman I was late-night tv watching in my Mom's basement. We didn't have cable, so no MTV for me yet, but there were occasionally music videos to be seen on the late-night offerings from the big three plus PBS. Not sure what I was watching, but O Superman came up, and it totally re-drew my map, which up to then had been pretty firmly centered on prog and rock. Supremely bizarre and not a little creepy. I think I bought the LP shortly thereafter.

    If you haven't heard it, there's an amazing live album by Anderson, recorded just days after 9/11 at Town Hall in NYC. The band includes Jim Black and Skúli Sverrisson, and the performance of O Superman is stunning. "Here come the planes. They're American planes." Talk about chills.
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    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Saw her at the Rainbow Music Hall in Denver CO for this tour in 1982. Pretty cool.
    I had heard her spoken word and music for a while. I was living in Laramie WY at the time.
    The local record store special ordered me a copy and the one of the clerks took a listen and wanted to go to see her.
    So we were waiting for the show to start and this guy in front of me turns around and asks "Do you like her music?"
    My friend turns and looks at me with a questioning look, I give the guy an enthusiastic affirmative. Turns out he has a music columnist from the Denver Post.
    It seems that folks did not know what to make of her. 'Performance Art' outside of NYC was rare in Colorado I guess.
    Good show, tape bow and all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by proggy_jazzer View Post
    If you haven't heard it, there's an amazing live album by Anderson, recorded just days after 9/11 at Town Hall in NYC. The band includes Jim Black and Skúli Sverrisson, and the performance of O Superman is stunning. "Here come the planes. They're American planes." Talk about chills.
    Indeed. I saw this tour in Chicago on 9/11. Because of the emotionally draining events of that morning, I considered not attending and was not even certain the show would go on. Perhaps, I thought, if she had not already arrived in the city, she would not make it due to airlines' suspension and the show would be cancelled. As one may imagine, it was a somber lot queued up at the venue. She opened up the performance with a dedication to those who had perished. I wondered if there was a dry eye in the house. Greg Kot, rock critic for the Chicago Tribune, included this show in his top 10 performances of the year. For me, it certainly was one of the most emotionally charged and memorable concerts of the many hundreds I have seen. It was a phenomenal show. The best I have seen of the eight times I have seen her.

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    Member FrippWire's Avatar
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    I encounter this thread just as I'm watching Atwood interviewed on CBC-TV program "q".

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