Because it was part of NBC's "The Name of the Game" series & not a Universal television movie in its own right, Steven Spielberg's "L.A. 2019" is rarely seen today, in spite of the fact that it boasts an impressive script by Philip Wylie and an intriguing look at how elderly rock fans would still be drawn to its 1971 icons 48 years in the future. It was visual satire when "L.A. 2019" first appeared on small screens, but I was forcibly reminded that the satire has become a reality when I attended Ringo Starr's All Star Band Concert in Concord last Sunday night. What Wylie could not have foreseen in his cautionary teleplay was that no generation has exclusive emotional claim to the great music of each era: that 70-year-old rock fans would be joined by their kids and grand kids and even great-grand kids.
Richard Starkey survived a sickly childhood to play music gigs for the last 38 years, only four as a member of the touring Beatles. His friend Billy Preston, 48, played opposite Pearl Bailey as 11-year old W. C. Handy in the 1958 Paramount film "St.Louis Blues", many years before his 1973 hit, "Will It Go Round In Circles". John Entwhistle, almost 48, was just eighteen when he became a founding member of "The Who". Before Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Randy Bachman, then 19 helped to found Guess Who in 1963. Felix Cavaliere was twenty when the Rascals first teamed up in 1964. Mark Farmer was also twenty when Grand Funk Railroad was formed in 1968. And 29-year -old Zak Starkey wasn't even born when his dad last played The Cow Palace with "that other band" in 1965.
Because the music created by individual members of the All Star Band was first written and performed when they were kids, it remains fresh and young. Well, maybe Ringo, now 55, should retire "You're 16, You're Beautiful And You're Mine". But the rest of the program dissolves the decades as well as supplying a comforting sense of continuity. The sixties was an incredible decade in many ways, but there was a pervasive sense of intolerance, sexism & ageism that tarnished the carefree image its participants tried to project. The nineties, for all the current problems, reflect some gradual progress. (Very gradual. Hey, Ringo, after three All Star Band tours, couldn't you include a Girl Group veteran in the line-up?) It may not be 20l9 yet, but iconography tributes give everyone a chance to enjoy what's still here before, all too soon, it's gone (at least in person) forever.
Copyright 1995 Monica Sullivan
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