The Michigan Daily-Saturday, December 1, 1979-Page 7
Big Mac makes no promises, tells no lies
By DENNIS HARVEY
Like the band's recordings to date,
Fleetwood Mac's Thursday night set at
Crisler Arena was a shrewd commer-
cial package-but one just saved from
the top-40 patness by the mysteriously
right chemistry between its members.
Admittedly, the Mac is neither one of
the best or the most original of 1970's
bands, and their music offers more
gloss than bite. But their finest songs
capture a feel of silky .folk-p6p-rock
catchiness that's effortlessly ap-
pealing. The concert at Crisler
managed disarmingly to deliver all the
expected hit tunes and pop postures
without stumbling into becoming
another banal ''geatest hits live" affair
(along the lines of the Doobie Bros.
recent cross-country trek).
The genial contrasts ofered by Mac's
five personalities have always lent the
group a vague communal feel, and
early on when Stevie Nicks danced
(well, sort of) around in her hippie
gear, swinging a tambourine, the show
became eerily reminiscent of such
1960's tribal groups as the Incredible
String Band. Of course, the Mac has
refined those folk-rock beginnings to
their current commercial limit, but
they retain a sense of fun and unity in
their stage personas. With one possible
exception, the members actually
seemed to be having a good time
(although "You're a great audience.
We really enjoyed playing for you."
must be overlooked and unconvincing
lines of all time by now), and that
feeling saved even the most predictable
tunes from banal familiarity.
THE POSSIBLE exception was
(sorry, boys) noneother than Stevie
Nicks. On Tusk, Mac's uneven new
double LP, Nicks' mystic-Venus, child-
woman act shows signs of wearing thin,
although her flair for arresting
melodies hasn't faded. The earlier
singles "Dreams" and "Rhiannon"
best explored her Age of Aquarius
spirituality; with melodies like those,
who cared if her act was just a tease?
But the new Nicks tunes, while
musically alluring, tread over such
familiar ground that they uninten-
tionally begin to expose the performer's
carefully spaciness as a mere pose.
In concert, unfortunately, Nicks all too
often took advantage of the oppor-
tunity to turn her musical poses into
physical ones. During such streamlined
pop constructions as "Save Me a
Place" and "The Chain," her head
hung in gloom - presumably an attem-
pt to indicate that she was taking the
lyrics very seriously, but one couldn't
quite tell whether hr x ession of
"vitr as due tt oe tjation r just
to I eta. Crouching tf~lrier of the
stage during instrumental breaks or
allowing her silk ponchos to whirl
around by doing a kind of half-dance,
halk-walk, she lacked the physical
grace to keep the strqaining-for-
moodiness pretentions of her stage
image from falling into silliness.
( But Nicks was in excellent voice
(contrary to the usual myths that
always picture her reduced to a sickly
croak), and even when her enthusiasm
seemed notably lower than the rest of
the group's, each entrance brought the
general male blood pressure up a fair
distance. Midway through the concert,
her reserve and pretentions melted
,with "Landslide"-her most touching
and personal song, and the set's most
surprising inclusion. For the remainder
of the evening more arty posturing was
avoided, and her appeal became
genuine rather than manufactured.
IF NICKS at her most artificial
sometimes seemed like a "guest star"
honoring the band with her appearance
(alone among the members, she
frequently left the stage for costume
changes and breathers), the rest of the
group formed an engaging ensemble.
Lindsay Buckingham, the moving
force behind most of Tusk, proved the
unofficial leader of the grop. His frantic
expressiveness provided a likeable if
sometimes excessive contrast with the
relative reserve of the other mem-
bers-especially bassist John McVie,
who managed to play for two hours with
a single expression of polite disinterest.
Christine McVie, wisely sparing us
her dismal new ballads on Tusk,
THESES - DISSERTATIONS
RE Fn- DT
provided strong keyboard support and
competent vocals on her own "Say You
Love Me," "Oh Daddy" and "You
Make Loving Fun." Mick Fleetwood
clowned aimably, if not very visibly,
behind his drum set, and emerged for a
surprising conga solo during an exten-
ded version of "World Turning:"
The show unexpectedly managed to
avoid any traces of dull predictability.
The inevitable hits (oddly, "Over My
Head" and "Go Your Own Way" were
excluded) were slipped in unpreten-
tiously between less familiar cuts and
six of the Tusk tunes. Of the new songs,
Buckingham's antic, "What Makes You
Think You're the One?" came off best;
most of these new compositions had
somewhat more energy going for them
live than on record, although the sheer
noise level of the concert occasionally
worked against the meticulous musical
THE EVENING'S only serious
casualty was "Tusk"-an arresting
cipher on record, and easily the
highlight of the Tusk LP, but a rather
disorganized mess in concert. The live
version boasted the recorded din of
thousands (?) of echoing voices, but no
marching band, and nothing much else
than sheer musical confusion.
That side, however, the Mac concert
was refreshingly clear of false steps.
The group's pop fusion sound will never
mark them as one of the most daring or
creative acts of the decade, but they do
what they do with skill and intelligence.
Thursday night's final encore was
Christine McVie's "Songbird," a
disarmingly simple ballad of affec-
tion-a perfect end to a concert that, if
it offered very little of startling
originality, created more than an expec-
ted share of good will.
Daily noto Dy JIM KRUZ
The legendary Stevie Nicks, one of Fleetwood Mac's three lead vocalists, perks up and uncorks one of her typically
charming melodies at Crisler Arena Thursday evening.
The 1979 Soph Show presented Neil
Simon's 'Sweet Charity' at Lydia Men-
delssohn Theater last night. What
should have been a light, peppy musical
was instead an amateurish piece of
theater which required the audience to
be charitable in overlooking many
A dragging pace, slow pick up on
cues, and technical problems certainly
cannot be excused by the fact that the
play was entirely student-produced and
performed. Luckily, some parts of the
performance were salvaged by the
exuberance of individual performers.
Complete review tomorrow.
Tower, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109
Sat. 9-12. Phone (313) 665-3717
Daily Photo by JIM KRUZ
The sparkplug of the Fleetwoof Mac unit, guitarist Lindsay Buckingham
here lets his instrument speak in ways his facial muscles refuse (or are
passes away quiet
PALM SPRINGS, California-The
final curtain rang down on the Marx
Brothers comedy team here today
when the last survivor, Zeppo, died at
the age of 78-the only brother who
never made anyone laugh.
He entered the Eisenhower Medical
Center here last Sunday after a long
illness and his body will be cremated
Sunday. A hospital spokesman refused
to disclose the nature of his illness.
Zeppo Marx left his brothers' family
act in the midst of their fame. His last
film was Duck Soup in 1933 and the
others-Chico, Groucho and Har-
po-went on to make suck other
classics as Night at the Opera without
He was drafted into the act by his
mother, Minna, the daughter of a
yodeling harpist, when his fifth brother,
Gummo, retired from the stage soon af-
ter the' first World War to become a
The youngest member of the family,
Zeppo said he hated being on the stage,
felt overshadowed by his other brothers
because he was never allowed to
develop his comedy talents and felt he
would have had a nervous breakdown if
he had not left them.
Zeppo became the third biggest
theatrical agent in the United States
with more than 250 star clients. They
did not include the Marx Brothers,
although he once negotiated a picture
deal for them.
"With my brothers as clients, I would
never have gotten any work done," he
Zeppo was married twice and both
marriages ended in divorce. His second
wife, Barbara Blakely, married Frank
Sinatra in June, 1976.
The Marx Brothers entered show
business in 1906 when Mrs. Marx
created the Three Nightingales, con-
sisting of Groucho, Gummo and a girl.
Groucho at the time was amboy soprano.
They added another girl and became
the Four Nightingales and later expan-
ded to the Six Mascots, with Mrs. Marx
and her sister pitching in.
Finally, Groucho and Harpo teamed
up with Gummo and Chico - the
brothers were given their stage names
by a comedian named Art Turner-and
they became the Four Marx Brothers.
In his autobiography, Groucho and
Me, Groucho wrote: "We played the
towns I would refuse to be buried in,
even if the funeral was free."
The brothers hit the big time on
Broadway in 1922 when they starred in
a musical I'll Say She Is.
Their film careers began in 1929 and
Zeppo appeared in their first five pic-
tures, The Coconuts, Animal Crackers,
Monkey Business, Horsefeathers and
Chico died in 1961, Harpo in 1964,
Gummo in 1976 and Groucho in 1977.
The brothers left not only their films
for posterity, they left as an epitaph the
sayings of Groucho.
To a club which he joined in a weak
moment, he sent a telegram reading:
"Please accept my resignation. I don't
want to belong to any club that will ac-
cept me as a member. f'
Once asked by Greta Garbo to get off
her foot, he asked: "Is it much of a
walk?" Told he was obsessed with sex,
he replied: "It's not an obsession, it's a
Like brother Harpo, no quipts by,
Zeppo have been left to posterity.
Student Newspaper at The University of MichiganI
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The Ann Arbor Film CooperatFve Presents at MLB: $1.50
Saturday, December 1
WHICH WAY IS UP?
(MICHAEL SCHULTS, 1977) 7 only-MLB 3
In this film Pryor ploys three roles, one of which is a migrant farm worker who
accidentally becomes a celebrity in a Cesar Chavez-type migrant worker organ-
izing campaign. He gets run off the farm by the agribusiness hit-men, but is
re-hired in the "big city" as a management trainee where it looks like he will
be a flunky for some kind of minority quota plan. Pryor's other two roles are: