REVIEW

 

OSMONDS
Osmonds On Tour 1973 [no label 1DVD PAL]
BBC documentary.

In these dark days when our senses are constantly being pounded by one manufactured idol after another, it's hard to remember a time when such talents were actually forged organically, arising fully formed from a distinct environment, to take the world by storm without the assembled hordes of multi-media hell to first hold our noses till we finally open our mouths.

The Osmonds were such a phenomenon and, though this marvelous BBC TV documentary does not really get into the machinations that thrust the toothsome siblings into view in the first place (nor the manipulations that kept them there), this snapshot of a week in their lives is a fascinating reminder of the sheer pandemonium that those magical names… Donny, Alan, Merrill, Wayne, Ringo and Bert… were capable of arousing.

Opening with the Osmonds' traumatic arrival at London airport, where a balcony packed with screaming fans collapsed; and ending with them slipping back out of the country a handful of gigs and broken hearts later; Osmonds On Tour 1973 is a portrait of a world we will never see again, as the most fabulously wealthy young men of their generation are smuggled from one grimy provincial backstage to another, by minders and associates who could have stepped out of the crowd scenes for Only Fools And Horses

Shabby facades and uniformed commissionaires, spotty teenagers in full Donny drag, and the whole family along for the ride as well, mom and pop Osmond, shy sister Marie, and the dreaded Little Jimmy… a little less chubby than we remember him, but just as irritating. He wants to be your long-haired lover from Liverpool, you know, but the tour goes no closer than Manchester, and you could strip paint with his speaking voice. 

The full glory of the Osbros stageshow is here, from the karate routine to the rock'n'roll oldies, and onto the brutal "Crazy Horses" - a song so heavy that even "grown-up" music fans agreed that they kinda liked it. We see Donny hurt his hand onstage, and the whole clan head for a Mormon church, to murmur dutifully in all the right places. And, just to confirm how bizarre the whole thing is, there's no drinks, no drugs, no swearing… and only the tiniest hint of sex, as we see Married Merrill wriggling on a bed with his wife of one month, Mary. But they're fully clothed and the rest of the family are watching… and you have to admit, they all look so happy that you really feel for the teenies who have taken their place in the modern firmament. Will they ever experience such joy as the Osmonds? - Dave Thompson

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June 22, 2007