Remembering 1,000 Airplanes on the Roof

I’ve been sorting out CDs I hardly play any more ready to sell on ebay. Came across some Philip Glass CDs and remembered that in the late 80s, while I was at Liverpool Polytechnic I went to see him live in Glasgow with my mum, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof is described as ’science fiction music drama’ and was a cross between a concert and a film, lots of back projection of strange scenes and some brilliant music – I haven’t forgotten it.

The character “M” recalls encounters with extra-terrestrial life forms, including their message, “It is better to forget, it is pointless to remember. No one will believe you.” Are the surrealistic details an accurate recollection of a voyage through space, part of a drug-induced nightmare, or the beginning of a mental breakdown?

Michael Walsh (Time) called it “part Freud, part Kafka, and part Steven Spielberg” and declared that “operatic design may never again be the same.” Peter Goodman (New York Newsday) said, “the powerfully hallucinogenic musical monodrama … is a child of the ’80s in every way.” Michele May (Potomac News) called it “a light show, a ballet, a spoken opera, an art exhibit, a lesson in Zen. Above all, it is a totally innovative entertainment form.”