Rock Hall and Jonathan Demme Bring the 'Power of Rock' to Cleveland in a New Experience

Jun 30, 2017

Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris (left) and Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes (a 2016 inductee) were on hand to launch the Power of Rock Experience.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unveils its $9 million "Power of Rock" theater Saturday, which features a seat-rumbling film of inductees by director Jonathan Demme.

The new theater is bathed in purple light and dwarfed by speaker columns, which ties in with Prince closing the 12-minute film with his now-legendary performance of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The short film is the centerpiece of the “Power of Rock” experience. Lead designer Christian Lachel says visitors will see footage they’ve never seen before from 32 years’ worth of induction ceremonies.

“Even though you may have seen the Prince piece before on YouTube, if you go in and actually look at the cut and you look at the different cameras, a lot of these have never been seen by the public. There’s just shots that would make no sense, but emotionally they made sense.”

Jonathan Demme is best known for "Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia" and the Talking Heads' documentary "Stop Making Sense." His short film on Rock Hall inductees was his final work before he passed away from cancer earlier this year.

Glenn Hughes, bassist for 2016 inductees Deep Purple, was on-hand for the preview, and said the theater helps showcase the healing power of music.

“I know for a fact that this extremely incredible place that I’m standing in right now changes the lives of many people around our planet. And I’m so honored to be part of this establishment. This is the Power of Rock experience: let you freak flag fly.”

The Power of Rock is the gateway to a set of interactive exhibits in which visitors can share their stories. The backlit glass walls featuring inductees' signatures have been retired, and will be replaced with a new exhibit in time for next spring's induction ceremony in Cleveland.