The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, October 31, 1979-Page 5
EL TON JOHN.
The Captain ain't so fantstic anymore
U-M Dept. of
Theatre & promo
By DENNIS HARVEY
"Is there a place for Elton John in the
1980's? Certainly - but unfortunately
that place may be in the bargain bin.
Elton is so purely a product of the
seventies that he already seems a little
dated. He rose from the flood of singer-
songwriters at the beginning of the
decade, rode the crest of the glitter rock
wave at its peak, and is now floundering
about in the muddle of wan disco
imitation at its close.
At the commercial height of his for-
mer partnership with lyricist Bernie
Taupin during the Yellow Brick Road-
Captain Fantastic days, Elton shrewdly
packaged his undeniable gift for
streamlined melodies with a sense of
camp showmanship that made. him, on
stage, the Ann-Margret of rock.
Lacking David Bowie's bizarre deca-
dence and Alice Cooper's cash-register
gore, Elton's brand of glitter rock was
the purest show-biz, all Las Vegas glit1
ter and flash.
BUT THE performer's four LP's sin-
ce Captain Fantastic have been in-
creasingly weak pop entries that have
weakly edged toward disco in a futile
attempt to keep up with the times.
Elton now seems pretty soppy when
compared to the chilly come-on of the
latest teen scream, the Knack; even
Billy Joel, in many ways John's suc-
cessor to the piano-pop glitter throne,
seems a far more cynical and rock-
Elton's Tuesday night set at Hill
Auditorium offered two hours and forty
minutes .of reassurance for the faithful
, and there seemed to be thousands of
them in the audience - who were con-
tent to hear every juke-box favorite
from "Your Song" to "Mama Can't Buy
You Love" very competently rehashed
by a still skilled, if somewhat aloof, per-
former. All expectations were met.
Elton was in excellent voice, the choice
of material was a generally effective
mix of hits and more obscure album
cuts from throughout the last ten years,
and his keyboard work was as per-
suasive as ever. The old burlesque
clownery of five years ago is apparen-
tly gone for good; Elton entered without
fanfare in a fairly tacky but relatively
dull Day-Glo green suit, played entirely
solo on each of the two stage pianos for
the first hour and a half, and then
in a feeling of premature, plasticized
nostalgia. Indeed, the stark musical
approach worked well for the most
part, focusing all attention on the
performer's frequently dazzling
keyboard breaks and the durability of
his older material.
Songs from such earlier LPs as Tum-
bleweek Connection still had some
feeling to them, and inevitables like
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," though
admittedly pretty tired, would have
won audience support even if they had
been sung in pig Latin._Nothing could
smirking background antics made it
seem as though his greatest ambition in
life was to star in the sequel to The
Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Reduced to the sound of a single piano.
and tambourine, such barroom dumb
classics as "Benny and the Jets"
seemed pretty wan, and Elton's overex-
tended audience-participation pleas
only underlined the vacuum. Though
the final encores brightened up a bit
with a cheering medley of classic R & B
tunes and an O.K. mix of "Saturday
Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Pin-
which, wisely, was performed), is har-
dly a step in the right direction. Until he
finds some new gimmick or formula,
Elton John may just continue to fade
away from the charts.
At present, he's too dated a figure to
make teenybopper hearts tremble
anymore, and still too recent and
familiar to qualify as nostalgia.
Tuesday's performance was
professional, modest, sincere and,
finally, just another sign that there is
probably nothing but rehashing to look
forward to in Elton's future career.
Tickets available at
the PTP ticket
League OR at
~ ~, ~ Trueblood Box
Office prior to
The Ann Arbor Film Coopelate Presents at Aud. A $1.50
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31
(Curt McDowell, 975) 7 & 9--AUD. A
The return engagement of an x-rated feature by two favorites of the 16mm
Festival-Curt McDowell and George Kuchar, who wrote the script. "Erotica at
its most hilarious . . an outrageous parody of the old dark house plot .
sex is great fun in this film, which is absolutely, definitely not for prudes."
'-Kevin Thomas, L.A. TIMES. "Genuinely touching, frightening, and sexy,: . . a
dark and stormy night, an assorted group of strangers (four men, three
women, and a gorilla) stranded in a remote Victorian mansion, and a crazed
hostess with her husband pickled in a jar."-John R. Taylor, SIGHT & SOUND.
Tomorrow: Oliver's HENRY V at Aud. A
Joe Dante's -1976
Paying loving homage to B-movies, this satiric compilation of cliches focuses
on the misadventures of four would-be actresses: naive, big-busted Candy,
casting couch gymnast Jill, roller derby queen Bobbi, and the queen of the B's
Mary. With Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Short: MAKE ME,
PSYCHIC-Sally Cruickshank's latest Quasi cartoon starring Quasi, Anita and
Rollo. A Halloween Treat.
Thurs: Guest Lecturer Linwood Dunn
Daily Photo by LOREN PORTNOW'
Captured in various poses is British rock star Elton John as he appeared Monday night in Hill
Auditorium. The two-and-a-half-hour concert was rather lackluster, as Elton showed he may not
be quite in tune with the times.
remained equally restrained when
joined for the second half by veteran
percussionist Ray Cooper.
NO LEAPS, no flashy effects, no
schmaltz (aside from a rather corny
fading-sun effect on "Don't Let the Sun
Go Down on Me") and, amazingly, no
glasses. Not even a single pair of wire-
If the singer has abandoned his for-
mer campy theatrics for a more sober
approach, fine. A return to the' old
gaudiness in full force might be fun, but
it, would probably finally have resulted
save such vintage hokum as "Candle in
the Wind," and "Rocket Man" collap-
sed-as Elton went on (and on and on)
singing ". . . andI think it's gonna be a
long, long time ..." an all-too-appro-
priate comment on the endless length of
his live version. But in general the first
half of the concert held up well enough.
WITH THE arrival of Ray Cooper,
the pace slackened and things began to
fade a little. Cooper's flashy but largely
superfluous percussion work was more
of a distraction than a help. His
ball Wizard," the show had lost its
To this slightly less-than~dedicated
fan, it was just pretty dull.
ELTON JOHN remains a fine
keyboardist, and his best material still
has some strength, but Tuesday's con-
cert revealed that he's in a relatively
uninteresting state of transition, with
his peak days of both songwriting and
showmanship behind him and no new
ideas in sight. The banal disco sounds of
his new LP, Victim of Love (none of
7:00 & 9:05
OLD ARCH. AUD.
IASK. THEM WH'YI
Union blasts city action in cereal trust case
BATTLE CREEK (UPI)-Five union
leaders filed suit yesterday to prevent
the city of Battle Creek and Calhoun
County from intervening in the Federal.
Trade Commission (FTC) effort to
break up the major cereal companies.
Earlier this month, the city and coun-
ty filed suit in U.S. District Court in
.Grand Rapids demanding that the FTC
be forced to complete an environmental
impact statement before it goes ahead
with its shared monopoly suit against
Kellogg's, General Mills, and General
THE TWO governmental bodies
claimed the proposed corporate
breakup would eliminate 2,650 jobs
nationwide, the bulk of them in the Bat-
tle Creek area.
But the AFL-CIO central labor coun-
cil, which filed suit in Calhoun County
Circuit Court, claims the city-county
suit against the FTC is an action to
protect special interests rather than a
service that would be provided to any
"Kellogg and the other cereal makers
should be able to take care of them-
selves," AFL-CIO attorney Edward
Welch, Jr. said. "We seriously question
whether the city and county would take
the same action if somebody else were
accused of breaking federal law."
"We don't want to see people unem-
ployed," Welch added, "but we
question whether there's real evidence
there will be unemployment. That's
what the cereal makers have said but
no one's looked into it."
'We seriotsly giestiont
whethertlie City arl d cotunty
WoUld take the sae aetion if
some body else Mere ac-tused
o f breaking federal lau.'
-Edarl Welch, Jr.
A FL-CIO att orney
Welch's clients on the AFL-CIO board
include the president of the Inter-
national Printing Specialties Union at
urges basic changes
(Continued from Page )
"OUR OWN assessment and our
decisions on what to do cannot be made
immediately, and we'll have to be very'
careful and very methodical in our
recommendations to the public," he
The panel was sharply split on
whether to propose a broad
moratorium on the construction of new
nuclear plants. A majority of the 12
members had wanted such a
moratorium, but they differed on
details and none was recommended.
Industry officials generally ex-
pressed satisfaction with the report, but
anti-nuclear groups criticized the panel
for not urging a moratorium on new
A STATEMENT issued by General
Public Utilities Corp., the parent firm of
Metropolitan Edison Co., which
operated Three Mile Island, said the
report's conclusions "lend support to
our belief that the Three Mile Island
accident involved the entire industrial
technological and regulatory structure
of nuclear power."
-Floyd Lewis, chairman of a utility in-
dustry committee formed to study the
accident, interpreted the report as a
signal that "nuclear power should go
But consumer advocate Ralph Nader,
who formed the anti-nuclear Critical
Mass organization, said the com-
mission's report "shows an industry
and a technology that is running out of
control." He said the commission's
recommendations "have no teeth" and
offer only "piecemeal reforms." Nader
said the panel should have recommen-
ded a moratorium on further construc-
tion and licensing of nuclear plants.
Dan Ford, a spokesman for the Union
of Concerned Scientists, said the report
"seems pretty good to us," but ex-
pressed disappointment that "it does
not squarely address what to do with
the more than 70 plants already
operating around the country."
Ask a Peace Corps volunteer why he teaches business
marketing techniques to vegetable farmers in Costa
Rica. Ask a VISTA volunteer why she organizes the
rural poor in Arkansas to set-up food co-ops. They'll
probably say they want to help people, want to use
their skills, be involved in social change, maybe travel,
learn a new language or experience another culture.
PLACEMENT CENTER STUDENT ACTIVITIES BLDG.
OCT. 30 - NOV. -1
I'- PERPS h1TA
"Gimme a D *
Gimme an A*
Gimme an 1,... L ...Y~
Give the MICHIGAN DAILY
that old college try.
CALL 764-0558 to order your subscription
The University of Michigan
in cooperation with
The School of Music
In Joint Concert With The
NOV. 2, 1979 8:00 p.m.