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November 19, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-19

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Saccharine songs spoil Young

How many of you readers out there
have ever wanted to write your own
rock concert review? (Raise your han-
ds.) Well here's your chance.
Reviewing shouldn't be limited to those
with access to typewriters and free
tickets. We are about to embark on an
exercise in participatory journalism.
It's not that I'm lazy'and want you to
write this article for me. It's just that
the Jesse Colin Young concert at Hill
Auditorium on Friday night left me
terribly confused. I'm still not sure if I
like it or if the show was any good. So I
decided, what the hell, why not give the
readers a crack at it? After all, this is
the land of freedom of choice, right?
Okay, go get your pencils and
crayons and have a seat and we'll
begin. I'll review the opening act
to give you an idea of what to do, and
because I'm sure how I felt about it.
Pay close attention to how and when I
use clever metaphors or catchy
ailteration. Feel free to take notice
right on the article; after all, this is
YOUR newspaper.
JACK TEMPCHIN was the (luke)
warm-up act. He shuffled onstage
wielding his guitar like a shield to

Daiy rnoo oy rPA
Jesse Colin Young stopped by Hill Auditorium for a concert Friday night.

There is a sound to many old records,
like those of Sam Cooke, say, or Carl
Perkins, or Little Richard. What comes
out mostly in these records is not an
outline, or a definition, of the artist's
personality, but a personality only
hinted at, defined partially by delivery.
Bruce Springsteen is like these artists.
Rather than -try to make us
experience something we've never felt
before, he pulls incredibly strongly at
common feelings we all have. I would
venture to say that one of the reasons
Springsteen has such a fanatical
following is that people see themselves
in his songs as often as they see him.
Indeed, all we know about Springsteen
is that he used to hang out in Asbury
Park, New Jersey, that he drives cars a
and motorcycles a lot, and that he
seems to be able to maintain a fulfilling
relationship for longer than one
BUT THAT IS all we need. His lyrics
are simple, yet uplifting, the musicians
that play behind him always sound as if
they are'having the times of their lives,
and his songs are usually shiny, tightly-
constructed pop'n'roll numbers.
Moreover, there is his unique, wobbly
: voice, which he bullies and leads until
1 he has fashioned a marvel of athletic
But hearing Bruce Springsteen and
the E Street Band on record is hearing
less than half the musician. On stage,
During his monolithic three-hour
telebrations, insignificant Springsteen
songs are made crucial, and what
seemed crucial before becomes merely
-a- trifling compared to the live
presentation. When things go well, and
they almost always do, the American
myth that you really can get what you
want, through prayer and theft, passion
and belligerance, rings out loudly from
the stage.
So it is with Springsteen's show at
,Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing Friday
night. At the end of his performance,
Springsteen cried out in mock torment,
"I'm just a prisoner of rock'n'roll!"
But long beforehand, it was clear just
who were the prisoners, and who held
all the keys.
BOUNCING BACK from a five-
month long summer tour that ended
only last October 1st, Springsteen
Tgave a show that was dazzling and
fresh. He delivered his usual few covers
: of oldies, opening the evening with
"High School Confidential" and
blasting a show-stopping (that is, if
B4ruce ever took the time to stop)
nedley of Mitch Ryder hits as one of
the encores.
The bulk of the show, of course, was
pure Springsteen, with many of the
songs greatly reworked.
"Backstreets," for example, featured a
gripping tale, seemingly half-
improvised and half-scripted, in which
springsteen agonized over one of his
favorite themes - betrayal. Inserted
towards the end of the tune, just before
a magnificept reprise of
"Backstreets," Sringsteen's vision of
the Big 'Lie haunted our minds.
And "Roselita" breaks off, as it has for
the past few years, into a Stax-Voltish
saxophone melody right in the middle,

-teen lig
giving Springsteen enough time to
introduce the band members to the
cheering crowd. Antics which have
been building all night between Bruce
and "the Big Man," saxophone player
Clarence Clemons, reach a head when
they inch up to each other, kiss and
break away to finish off the song. ,
Springsteen songs, including the
infectious "The Ties That Bind," the
haunting tale about life-with his father'
"Independence, Day, and the
devastating attack on insincerity'
"Point Blank." He also performed a
mesmerizing version of 'Because the
Night" (made into a hit by Patti Smith)
complete with a breath-taking guitar
break and "Fire" (which Robert
Gordon tried to make into a hit.)
The latter is a perfect vehicle for
Springsteen, letting him
simultaneously get the most out of .
sounding easy and swaggering, while
also sounding just barely in control of
his, desires. But it is also here that I
found something interesting. Though a
rapid-fire shift of emotion, climaxed by
a quick chuckle that gives the game
away, may be impressive, it still

Sts fires
sounds like Springsteen's singing
professionally, not convincingly.
The giveaways were here and there
through the entire show. Like Elvis
Presley, Springsteen can summon up a
particular emotion (or several in one
song) that will throttle the crowd, only
seconds later tossing it away with a
grin, a shake of the hips, and a quick
"aw shucks, I'm only Brucie" grin.
Unlike Presley, however, it doesn't
always work, and clearly trivializes
some of his delivery. As a display of his
talent, this spinning off of quick (and
quickly forgotten) emotion is awesome,
but as a display of honest feeling it is a
saddening cheat: and who wants
games, when Bruce can give us so
much more?
But the show was most definitely not
a cheat; perhaps the Presleyesque
acting is a product of simply not being
able to sing out of one's heart every
night for months at a time. With his
command of the stbge (running across
it, sliding over it, diving off it), his
display of stamina, and his
unquestionable love for his audience,
there can be little doubt there is much
at stake every night with Bruce
I have a friend who cherishes the
memory of the splinter he received
from the boardwalk at Asbury Park,
and know several who have driven all
over the midwest just to see
Springsteen shows. More than any
other artist that has emerged in the
seventies, Springsteen elicits, and
commands, a staggeringly loyal
And while one can only guess how
long he can go on satisfying their
demands, playing three-hour shows
and performing coronary-inducing
encores, he proved all night Friday that
he will be shooting for the stars for a
very long time.

Undergraduate Political Science Association
wine and cheese gathering
MONDAY, Nov. 20
3-5 p.m.
6th floor lounge-Haven Hall
For more info, call 763-2227 or stop by 6618 Haven Hall

Norma G.

I Recent Sculpture I TE '.xTR RUND0 oFEASAEQM
& Drawings II U N£GME~W TO IELN

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