Conscription, combat, protest and homecoming, Rolling Thunder Vietnam – Songs that Defined A Generation unites personal stories of young Vietnam War soldiers with classic songs of the era. This dynamic theatrical concert draws audiences inside the lives of men on the battlefront and their family and loved ones at home.
The Vietnam War was the world’s first televised war. More than any other conflict it produced some of the most popular and enduring songs of the 20th century. This evocative and stirring production showcases some of the greatest rock songs ever produced performed by some of Australia’s greatest singer-actors and musicians.
Rolling Thunder Vietnam brings to the stage a new generation of young musical talent under the esteemed music direction of Chong Lim (Dancing With The Stars, John Farnham Band) including Wes Carr, Kimberley Hodgson, Tom Oliver, Matt Pearce, Vanessa Krummenacher and Will Ewing.
With stunning projected images and historic footage, Rolling Thunder Vietnam is a rich and emotional experience written by Bryce Hallett (Freeway – The Chet Baker Journey) and directed by David Berthold (Holding the Man, Cosi). Based on extensive research, actual letters and first-hand interviews with Vietnam War veterans, the stories reveal strained and loving relationships, the danger of combat, the rise of the anti-war protest movement in the late‘60s and a bittersweet homecoming.
“The deeply personal stories have largely sprung from face-to-face interviews with Australian soldiers who lived in this era” said writer Bryce Hallett. “I wanted the monologues between songs to be truthful and spare.”
“Most of the songs in the show are essentially anti-war protest songs that brilliantly convey the rhythm, spirit and mood of the times. Many are epic in nature and the directness of the storytelling serves to bring a raw intimacy to the music.”
Director, David Berthold said “This is music that sings out to every generation that believes in justice, equality, freedom and peace. We’ve shaped four very personal stories, inspired by real life experiences, into what I think is a musical event that will reach into the heart.”
The show features the music of Steppenwolf, Joe Cocker, Buffalo Springfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gladys Knight, Billy Thorpe, The Rolling Stones and Curtis Mayfield just to name a few, with “songs that defined a generation” including Magic Carpet Ride, Fortunate Son, All Along the Watchtower, Help Me Make It Through The Night, Run Through the Jungle, Paint It Black, The Real Thing, Letter, People Get Ready, and Killing Me Softly With His Song.
Music in the ’60s meant liberation, not only for battle-weary young soldiers, but for a generation of artists whose timely yet enduring songs held a mirror up to the chaos, and expressed themes of love, betrayal and loss.
Rolling Thunder Vietnam is currently performing across Australia. For more information and tour dates, visit: www.rollingthundervietnam.com for details.
Image: Wes Carr in Rolling Thunder Vietnam