"This recording is a good addition to the collection for Jesus Christ Superstar fans. However, although it has its moments, it lacks that certain magic that makes a JCS recording great. The musical arrangement could be better by far, with no songs surpassing the "okay" status and some (like "Simon Zealotes") turning up awful. Most of the cast is good, especially Claire Moore who is hands down the best Mary Magdelene since Yvonne Elliman, possibly even better than her. She is the best reason to buy this CD. Keith Burns is a good Judas (though there is nothing really special about his performance) and Jeff Shankly is a good Pilate. They are both frankly doing too much of what we've seen before, however (Shankly is practically doing a Barry Dennen impersonation and it shows).
The dissapointments of this album are Paul Nicholas's performance of Jesus (which always sounds as if someone has just gave him a jab to the stomach) and the performances of Gary Martin and Bogdan Kominowski as Caiaphas and Annas (Gary Martin has great bass but sounds as if he is coughing up a loogie and Kominowski does a bad Brian Keith impression). The most interesting part of the recording is the new version of "Could We Start Again, Please". The new lyrics by Tim Rice and the surprisingly terrific pop vocals by Paul (the only moment where he shines in this) and Claire are amazing and you can almost picture Christ rising to the heavens to the Superstar fanfare at the end."
nicknamenotinuse | Washington state, United States | 06/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here's my take on the major parts of this recording:Jesus: I disagree with some of the other reviews about Paul Nicholas' performance. I actually think he has a great voice for Jesus- it's got a strong baritone component that more than matches up with Judas ( a complaint about some Jesuses in JCS recordings is that they wilt or whine against the power and emotion of their Judas counterparts- read: Steve Balsamo or Ted Neely). Nicholas doesn't overdo it, just sings the part with the right level of power and emotion. Thinking of a 40ish/50ish Jesus however does lessen the appeal however.
Judas: Not bad, but not the most powerful by any means. Lacks soul, doesn't "go for it" enough. Picks a the easier lower octave too often, like in "Strange Thing Mystifying"- really ruins that number's potential. When he does express emotion, it sounds too often like he is expressing phlegm- must be an effort to squeeze out soul that isn't there. But he is better than some I've heard- he has his moments. Ranks below Carl Anderson and Murray Head, but overall has the right tonal quality and range.Mary Magdalene: Very good, possibly the best.Caiphas and Annas: Probably the best yet.Simon Zealotes: Disagree with some of the other reviewers that this version stinks. I thought Simon had a great range and emotion, and the "soul girls"- "Christ you know I love you, did you see..." sound fantastic.Pilate: Flat out excellentHerod: Charming and fine, but not strikingly memorable.Instrumental: Mixed WAAAYYY too soft in this recording- can often barely hear it. Sometimes lacks the necessary funk, but other times is surprisingly funky. I really wish "Heaven on Their Minds" and "Damned for All Time" would have rocked a little more, but then again other tracks like "What's the Buzz" are pretty darn hoppin' amongst the world of JCS recordings.Overall: A good rendition of the original that doesn't stray too far from it. Worth it for the performances of Caiphas and Annas, Jesus, Pilate, and Mary M. But probably the 1996 London recording or the original 1970 recording would be a better 1st buy."
"This is the version that takes the rock out of the rock opera. Paul Nicholas (Jesus) has a nice voice, but he isn't a rock singer and this part really needs one. He can't reach the high notes and falls rather flat on some crucial passages. I quite like Keith Burns as Judas and Claire moore as Mary. Victor Spinetti's Herod is very amusing. But most of the other singers seem to lack the passion that is required (listen to the lifeless 'Pilate's Dream' and 'Simon Zealotes').There are much better versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, but musical lovers who aren't too fond of rock music might prefer this smooth take."
Heaven on their minds
Stephanie Lenz | Pennsylvania | 09/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard lots of versions of JCS and what puts this one over the top is quite simply Keith Burns's exceptional performance as Judas. Judas, IMO, is the star of this show. Without a flawless performance from the actor portraying him, this show can fall apart. The raw, electric emotion in Burns's voice brings everything about the character right up into your face. And that's just the vocal. The image I have of him possibly *performing* the role live and in front of me is more than I could bear. Of course, the other vocal performaces are wonderful as well (Claire Moore -- flawless), but to rate an album featuring a performer with this intensity and understanding of a character any lower would be an injustice. Hence, my compulsion to write this little review. Buy it. Enjoy it."
JHS | Manhattan, NYC | 02/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As you all already know, there's been many copies of this Rice and Webbers' muscial, but there hasn't been a cd that contains a more modern stlye of JSC like this one!! It has everything one wants in a JSC cd, singers that can really sing,musicians that can really play! When I first bought it,I was excited and happy because I finally bought a good and up to date JSC cd. If you want a more up to style JSC cd, BUY THIS ONE!!!!
(Warning: the only thing that made me give this cd 4 stars other than 5 was the sometimes good vocals of Paul Nicholas. I felt that Webber should have recast Paul, he ruined a few good lines in the rock-opera) Other than that, BUY IT!!! Its like listening to a LIVE production of JSC performed right at your home! "