- Blue Grass
- Presented by
- J. Gilligan's
The Who’s Tommy re-imagined as a “Bluegrass Opry!”
“Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball.” Maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but a line known the world over from one of the biggest rock operas of all time, The Who’s Tommy. Now, 45 years after its original release, this classic rock piece has been fully realized as a full-length bluegrass tribute featuring a dynamic bluegrass quintet from Springfield, Mo., The HillBenders. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer, Louis Jay Meyers, Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy, while paying complete respect to its creators. Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera, The Who’s Tommy tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy that includes his experiences with life and his relationship with his family. The original album sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant value.” In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Tommy number 96 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Louis had been looking for the right band to pull off a bluegrass approach for several decades, and he found exactly that with The HillBenders. With a perfect mix of musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring The Who’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way. Banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass and guitar bring the same energy and vision to Tommy as The Who did with a full rock band and orchestra. The HillBenders are one of the bluegrass groups who recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the average music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any “hillbilly” stigmas. With their widely varied influences, The Hillbenders successfully deliver bluegrass songs that unify genres and pair with the music they grew up with, like rock ‘n’ roll.
Free admission unless it’s stated that a ticket purchase is required. Open lawn seating on lawn chairs and blankets for all free concerts. For free concerts, picnics, snacks and coolers with beverages are allowed, including beer and wine, but no glass containers, please.
Paid-ticket concerts have different rules. If the concert you’re attending required you to buy a ticket, chairs will be provided for you, concessions will be sold (including beer and wine), and no pets will be allowed on the lawn. Please do not bring chairs, coolers, picnics, beverages or pets to a paid-ticket concert.
For more details about visiting the Levitt Pavilion, please see Your Visit.
The Levitt Pavilion is located in Founders Plaza, 100 W. Abram St., at the corner of Abram and Center streets. For directions and parking, please see Directions & Parking.