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October 31, 1978 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-31

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-Tuesday, October 31, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Low key Morrison mired in mediocrity

Bigger and Better Than Iver
NOVWMBER 3,4,5
Friday, 3-10 pm- Saturday, 10 - 9pmn
Sunday, Noon- 5pm

By DAN WEISS
Before Van Morrison began his Sun-
day night concert at Detroit's Masonic
Temple, a local promo man stepped up
to the mike to hype some local concerts.
"If you want to see something really
different," he subtly predicted, "catch
Generation X at the Punch and Judy
Theater." Jeanne Dixon would have
been proud of him.
Morrison's show was not anything
different; it was an exercise in conser-
vative planning and prosaic execution.
The only surprise was in the or-
dinariness of his performance. And just
like recreational sex, it felt good at the
time, but there were no memories to
hold onto afterwards.-
THE EVENING began ominously.
with a thoroughly mediocre perfor-
mance by Dave Edmond's Rockpile,
doing their version of high-spirited
rock. The sound numbing, the riffs were
familiar and the songs were undoub-
tedly stolen from Chuck Berry and
Jimmy Page's wastebaskets. Rockpile
was a classic case of the proverbial
round peg in the square hole. Having a
rock. 'n' roll boogie-til-you-puke band
warming up for Van Morrison was akin
to having Devo preluding the Guerner
String Quartet.

rpenter Rd " 971-4310 * Ann Arbor

HALLOWEEN
at the
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ESDAY, O0TOER 31
* Happy hour begins at 6:00 p.m.
Lasts all night-25C OFF ALL DRINKS
*Prizes for best costumes
StAoe r ResHitAUri
ACROSS FROM HILL AUDITORIUM

For Van Morrison, moderation was a
by-word. Controlling the band with sub-
tle han motions, he allowed keyboar-
dist Peter Barnes and lead guitarist
Bob Tench just enough room for solos,
without letting them explore anything
new (not that it might have yielded
anything noteworthy: the keyboard
solos were Keith Emerson rip-offs, and
Tench seems intent on reviving the
ghost of Jimi Hendrix).
OPENING WITH "Moondance,"
Morrison controlled the audience mood
with the pacing of his songs. He alter-
nated new songs with old hits; the show
felt like he was pumping his brakes on a
long, icy skid. And when the juices
really began to flow, Morrison drained
them off by turning over the stage to his
backup singer and her version of
Morrison's "Crazy Love," which made
Helen Reddy's version seem definitive.
But perhaps the saddest part of
Morrison's need to keep things cool was
the constraints he put on himself. Van
Morrison is one artist who has never
shied away from taking chances. As he
once wrote, "In order to win, you must
be prepared to lose sometime."
Despite his risk-taking past,
prominent on such masterpieces as
Astral Weeks and Vedon Fleece - both
conspicuously missing from the concert
- almost every time Morrison seemed
primed to push things something inside
seemed to hold him back.
TOWARD THE end of "Into the
Mystic," when he sangd"I want to rock
your gypsy soul." he was searching his
soul, reaching deep in his throat almost
ready to gral the final, unreachable
note, when he hesitated and slipped
back, leaving the organ to try and fill
the void. Our gypsy souls were
unrocked.
It was Morrison's versions of his
classics that let us down the most. "I
Wanna Make Love To You" was turgid,
and lumbered like a dinosaur on its last
leg. "Wild Night" didn't race through
the approaching life-saving night, but
stayed home and waited for bedtime.
"Caravan" was saved for the encore
and was shackled by Morrisons'.
restraints. Instead of turning the band
or himself loose, all plugged along as if
following a script, down to Morrison's
two requisite leg kicks as he stutters
"burn it up" at the end. His impromptu
kicks at the end of The Last Waltz's
"Caravan" was one of its true joys.
Sunday night, there was nothing more
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than planned spontaneity. I was sur-
prised he didn't tell the crowd when to
clap.
SURPRISINGLY, the high points of
the show were the songs from his new
album Wavelength. Granted, the soun-
ds don't explore any new ground, but
Morrison's artistry stems from his
ability as a singer to not only make the
ordinary sound interesting, but impor-
tant. He uses his voice as an instrument
and creates sounds that tremble and
convulse with life, that shake your
spirit to its roots, and delve into the
darkest reaches of his mind. If you've
ever heard "Listen to the Lion," you
know what I mean. For example,
"Kingdom Hall's" ee-do-do-do's" at the
end were infused with Morrison's
spirited, uplifting dancing. Morrison's
repetition of the words "my lover" in
his current hit "Wavelength" shud-
dered with the struggle for redemption.
Wavelength's "Natalia" was the
high point of the show, perhaps because
the song is about control. "Natalia"
captures the internal torment and slow
death of a jilted lover trying to

sublimate his aching desires.
It works so well because the song
requires control, like a car steadily
creeping towards a cliff with cut brakes
and locked doors. He sings with a
smoldering intensity, and "Natalia"
vibrates with Morrison's internal
struggle for survival by steering clear
of that death-shrouded cliff.
MORRISON'S singing on "Natalia"
demonstrates the depth of his artistry.
As Bob Seeger once said "I think every
last one of us has a connection with Van
Morrison. I got from him a sense of
commitment." People like Seeger,
Graham Parker, and Bruce
Springsteen had the foundation of their
music built by Van Morrison. His com-
mitment to soul and spirit, through his
electrified poem/songs was the vital
link between black rhythm and blues
and white rock and roll. We expect so
much from Morrison only because he
has raised those expectations and their
stakes time after time. When he sings
safe songs with bland arrangements
devoid of risk, we have to be disappoin-
ted.

Sander con veys strength

For me, the great deception began
with Morrison's saxophone that
remained onstage and unfingered
throughout the night. I knew it was
there, and what he could do with it (or
perhaps, more importantly, what he
would try to do with it) if only he would
let go, even for just an instant. Leaving
it onstage only raised, our hopes, and
ultimately left our expectations of his
performance not quite shattered, but
simply deflated. The sax sat there, its
gilded untouched keys a symbol of - o
perhaps a testament to - Va
Morrison's tormented attempt to con
trol his genius, which eventually, a
least Sunday night, controlled only him

PIRANESI DRAWINGS
NEW YORK (AP)-More than 13
drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranes
will be on exhibit at the Pierpoi
Morgan Library through Nov. 26. : %
The library says the sha
commemorates "the 200th anniversar
of the death, of the great Venetia
draughtsman, etcher, archaeologist
theorist, architect and decorator."

By CAROL WIERZBICKI
If someone were to show you
photographs of pre- and post-war
Germany, what would you expect?
Scarred battlefields? Steely-eyed'
generals? Shattered churches and town
halls? August Sander, whose exhibit of
photographs opened at the University
Art Museum last Friday, gives us
photographs off... people. Sander died
in 1964, but left a rich legacy of those
who made Germany - from important
artisans and military figures, down to
the smallest child.
The first photo in the display is that of
an architect and his wife. The
composition is what first strikes the
eye; the woman's head is shown in
profile, turning away from her
husband. There is something in the
man's face, fully exposed but looking
off into the distance, that suggests a
former anguish covered over by. the
years. This unusual pose clearly
conveys a sense of detachment between
the two, that perhaps stemmed from
the need for individual strength of
character vital to the survival on the
Germany of the 1930s.

THE COLD starkness of such
photographs, however, is relieved
occasionally by witty cynicism, as in
the wry portrait of a Cologne painter, be-
speckled and smiling slightly. From the
introspective and brooding, to the
highly expressive, Sander shows a
wonderful command of mood; though
intelligent use of shadow and
positioning, he is able to make the
photograph convey the desired emotion
or personality.
Several paradoxes appear in

Sander's
example,
contrived
quite
period
picture
clerk
much
shoulder

work. So
appear
f, while
unorthodox
of time,
of a
holding
the way
a rifle. S

me poses, for
stiff and
others are.
for that
as in the
stately head
an umbrella,
one would
till others are

very turbulent; they seem to capture
the person in a moment of passion or
fear. Both of these emotions appear in
the photo of a seated young man. Hand
over his heart, leaning slightly forward,
he gave me the impression of a soldier

w

"Expert and Parent.
in #qmericanCulture"g
WILLIAM KESSEN
Professor of Psychology
Yale University
Today at 4:00 PM
Schorling Auditorium,
School of Education

going off to war, torn between fear fo
his life and love for his country.
THE PACEMENT of children (in the
few photos devoted to them) is very
contrived, and the poses are somewha
stiff, as they stand motionless with toy
or dog. Balance, rather than liveliness,
seems to have been Sander's aim here.
But the next photo, "Circus Artists," is
marvelous. The character of each
subject - a burlesque dancer, a black
usher ,with a remarkably creased face
- comes forth, and there is no need to
analyze their distinct personalities. The
circus members, 'gathered before the
simple backdrop of a trailer end, create
a tension and variety, so that this is not
only a photograph of circus people, but
a cross-section of humanity.
Another composite photo is Sander's
"Musicians." The women in cloche
hats, smiling shyly, the men wearing a
wide range of facialexpressions - this
portrait looks more like a famil
wedding than a gathering of prominen
musicians. It is this wonderfu
ambiguity, this exposure of celebrities
as people, that makes Sander's work so
fascinating.
SANDER'S personal, psychologica
approach becomes even mor
pronounced as one moves on to a serie
of works describing people's positions
in society. Three revolutionaries sit
casually on some porch steps, hair
tousled. A sailor poses on a bridge,
smiling exuberabtly. A master baker
looks up from his mixing-bowl, the very
image of a puffed-up hautier. A
secretary sits behind her stodgyrdesk
and typewriter, a hint of mischief o
her face.And a WWI military officer,
with riding crop and haughty stance, is
a chilling reminder of the ruthless side
of humanity. This faithful study o
costume, personality, and vocation i
one of the best commentarier o
working-class life I've ever witnessed.
August Sander served in the military
during WWI. He photographed
important cultural and military
contributors to Weimar Germany. Ye
Sander retained his sensitivity to the
individuality of these people. Rather
than fitting them into his (or someone
else's) conception of what they should
be, he allows them the freedom to b
themselves.
Student Honored
At the annual meeting of-th
American Public Health Association it
Los Angeles, California, it wa,
announced that Carolyn Zinn;, a
graduate student in the University
Human Nutrition Program, Departient
of Community Health Programs of the
School of Public Health, has been
awarded the 1978 Helen R. Stacey
award. This is given -for graduate
education at the masters degree level it
public health nutrition.

,'/
1

-
Founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

'EE INTRODUCTION to the
Transcendental
Meditation

s
a

Program
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1

8:00 P.M. Main Lounge, Jordan Hall
8:30 P.M. Concourse Lounge,
Markley Dormitory

U

(GUITAR MASTER

or every Wednesday-Noon & 8:00 P.M.-Michigan Union
For Information Call 6688256 Room 4111
(C) 1976 World Plan Executive Council-U.S. All rights reserved.
Transcendental Meditation is a series of WPEC-U.S. a nonprofit education organization

TKE
at the SECOND CHANCE
Ann Arbor

in

a special

performance

__ U U ~ ~

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