When I was 12 years old, I went to my first musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. My parents were non-practicing Catholics and blandly irreligious by the time I was born. I had a general grasp of the New Testament but don’t recall any particular expectations of the outing except that it was a new and exciting experience. My parents later said they wondered how the crucifixion would be depicted without it being a total downer. I quickly realized watching a live performance eclipsed listening to any recording. It was invigorating and captivating and I found myself completed immersed. Had I a shred of singing, dancing or instrumental talent, I might have toyed with the idea of going into the theater.
I loved the songs including the theme showstopper. However the last instrumental at the end of the show did it for me, John 19:41. Although it had swelling strings and flutes, there was a certain simplicity that was both beautiful and uplifting. Afterwards, my parents bought for me the cast album which I still have.
There have been many versions of this instrumental over the years, but I think the original 1970 version is the best. I found some YouTube videos with either distracting graphics or poor sound and had to settle for an excerpt from the 1973 film. (I’m not a fan of the film. For me, it failed somehow to translate the energy of the musical.) So, turn up the volume, close your eyes, and just absorb the music.