THE MICHIGAN DAILY
THE MICHIGAN DAILYIPageIThree
The stage belongs to Bowie
. . .
... Mr. Stardust himself
By EUGENE ROBINSON
David Bowie is a star.
He's not a rock and roller, his
singing is good but not outstand-
ing, and he could hardly be called
a musical genius. But he does
have that ethereal quality which
demands attention and a certain
amount of genuine respect.
Encased by the thickest, juic-
est hype to come across the
Atlantic in years, Bowie toured
the States last year and proved
he had talent. His energetic,
downright thrilling, stage show
effectively demonstrated that he
was a far more substantial per-
former than most expected.
Bowie showed he was well-versed
in music and practiced at the
art of Entertainment.
Now in the midst of his second
American tour, he is reaffirming
everyone's first impression by
presenting an even more electri-
fying stage act. He did just that
early this month in Detroit.
Bowie's act is above all well
choreographed and well assem-
bled. After an amusing set by
his warm-up unit, an English
group called Fumble which pre-
sented acceptable versions of
early Sixties rock and roll, the
-- tone was set for Bowie's act by
a few tape recorder bars of "Ode
Bowie's group, the Spiders
from Mars, strode on stage to
Mooged Beethoven and an ab-
solutely irrational strobe. Then,
as the Motown audience rose to
its collective feet to get a better
look, then . . . Mr. Stardust
himself, walking cooly, proudly,
even haughtily on stage, wearing
a symmetrically striped royal
Pure glitter. Pure class.
The band rocked into the first
number, "Hang on to Yourself,"
and guitarist Mick Ronson pro-
vided a stunning solo. But nobody
really noticed. Bowie had the
audience mesmerized, following
him withtheir eyes wherever he
As usual, Bowie's voice took a
while to get in gear. But by the
time he moved into the third
number, the stunning "Five
Years," all systems were Go.
The audience screamed, they ac-
tually screamed, just like they
were watching the Beatles in '65.
But this was Bowie. In '73.
Bowie's visual impact lies at
least at the heart of his stage
act. He is incredibly thin and his
skin is pale; he resembles a
sheet stretched taut over thin
railroad ties. On stage he is con-
stantly moving-dancing, play-
ing with the microphone and
mike stand, leaning on his enor-
mous bank of amps; seductively
jutting his ass out at Ronson.
His hair is redder than hair
should ever be, almost orange,
all lustrous and shiny and shock-
ingly piled on top of his head.
Bowie was a mimist years ago,
and still has amazing control over
alluring, no matter what your
sexual preference might be. And
he has a huge, strong smile; a
smile which hints at a genuinely
Bowie changed costumes al-
most as often as he changed
songs. First a purple robe with
glittering stripes, fitting tightly
at the top and bottom, hanging
loose in the middle, swirling
around in the midst of the strobe.
Then the Spiders rip off the robe,
to reveal spray-on black pants
and tiny gold and silver chains
covering his chest.
Then offstage for a complete
change. Bowie reemerges in a
flowing yellow robe. Once again
the strobe begins, once again he
swishes his robe back and forth
to the Spiders' beat. Again the
Spiders rip the robe from his
body, this time exposing a plaid
hot pants suit and separate arm
and leg coverings.
Bowie and his band were con-
sistently good, and at times were
brilliant. All of the material save
two numbers came from already
released albums. Bowie even
threw in a surprise, an acoustic
number called "The Port of Am-
The real dazzler of the set was
"Space Oddity," served up all
silvery and gold bomplete with a
huge mirrored ball and brazen
spotlights seemingly of every hue.
Bowie closed his regular set
with a most outrageous "Suffra-
gette City." He loved Detroit;
Detroit loved him. The energy
was high, the mood perfect.
He returned with another sur-
prise, the Stones' "Let's Spend
the Night Together." Bowie sing-
ing Jagger? The audience
screamed again. The band went
into an extended jam, then off.
The faces of David Bowie
HURON-AT STATE ' 769-2200
Opening at 4 o'clock for dinner, cocktails and snacks.
IJ121 u ivest
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of 4 Academy Award
Including Best Picture
and Best Actress
"An Epic Voyage,
An Epic Film"
-Susan Stark, Det. Free Press
his body, moving
it in all direc-
in several at
His movements are feline and
FILMS-Cinema Guild presents Eleventh Annual Ann Arbor
Film Festival tonight at 7, 9, 11, Arch. Aud.; Political
Science 351 Films shows Behind the Lines (Mozambique)
by the Liberation Support Movement tonight at 9, Lec.
Rm 1 MLB; History 104 Film Series presents Bergmann's
The Seventh Seal tonight at 7:30, UGLI Multipurpose
Rm; RC Astronomical Film Festival shows The Quiet Sun,
first still photos from Apollo 17 tonight at 9, RC Aud.
MUSIC-William Doughtry, Hampton Inst. speaks today at
4:10 on "Pioneers in Black Music," Cady Rm, MLB;
Music School presents Kathy Webster, flute, tonight at 8,
SM Recital Hall.
POETRY-Galway Kinnell reads his poetry this afternoon at
4:10, Aud. 4, MLB.I
By HARRY HAMMITT
Paul Butterfield has been on
the scene now for quite some
time. Starting in about 1964, he
was almost solely responsible for
the gigantic white blues boom
which came to full fruition in the
late '60s. With the formation of
the Paul Butterfield Blues Band,
with both Mike Bloomfield and
Elvin Bishop, the young white
blues enthusiasts in the United
States had their first strong voice
in the blues movement.
Both The Paul Butterfield Blues
Band and East/West set the
standards for the white blues that
would follow. Once the band had
established themselves as a
prime blues force, they broke up.
Butterfield came back within a
year with a new band, now called
just the Butterfield Blues Band.
This group stressed horns and
began a unique fusion of blues,
jazz and rock, reaching its epi-
tome in the excellent In My Own
Dream. This band had a number
of personnel changes over the
years and finally disbanded about
a year ago. Since that time,
little had been heard from But-
terfield, but now he is back with
an entirely new band, new ap-
proach, and new label. His new
release is simply called Better
Days (Bearsville BR 2119).
Better Days is the name of the
new band which, while being
Butterfield's band,boasts some
other fairly well-known musi-
cians whose union might seem to
come as a surprise. Aside from
Butterfield, there is Geoff Mul-
daur of the old Kweskin Jug
Band, Ronnie Barron who is a
southern musician with much the
same background as Dr. John,
Amos Garrett who is a guitarist
out of the Toronto folk circuit,
Billy Rich who is a session bass-
ist who most recently played
with Taj Mahal, and Christopher
Parker who is a young drummer
the band picked up on the way.
Butterfield and the rest of the
band still make their residence
in Woodstock, or perhaps now in
Bearsville, New York. Now that
this area has lost the aura of
charm it had from the Festival,
the musicians up there can just
lay back and relax, and that's
just what Better Days does.
The band has evolved a new
sound for Butterfield, a combina-
tion of laid-back blues, the purity
of early '60s folk, and a dose of
pop overtones. As such, the music
is soothing and never demands
an unnecessary level of energy.
For those who are sick and tired
of being bombarded by loud
music or imitation folk, this
album presents a way out of the
dilemma. There is great variety
here running from the controlled
s'irging of the rocker "Highway
28." to the pure folk feeling of
"Rule the Road," to the soft
gospel approach of Nina Simone's
"Nobody's Fault But Mine, to
the simplistic production num-
bers like "Please Send Me Some-
one to Love" and "Broke My
The band is tight, but always
simple with little or no unneces-
sary frills and flash. Butterfield,
Muldaur, and Barron do all the
vocals. Butterfield is perhaps the
best of the trio with his power-
ful blues delivery, but Barron has
an intriguing Leon Russell- Bobby
Bland delivery. Vluldaur has a
good voice for folk, and whereas
his voice lacks the power of
Butterfield's, he comes across on
blues numbers which he sings
with a soft melodic approach
where he sounds reminiscent of a
white B.B. King.
The band takes excellent ad-
vantage of having three decent
vocalists by intertwining their
voices throughout the songs, par-
ticularly on their excellent sim-
plistic but strong rendition of'
"Buried Alive in the Blues"
where all three vocalists trade
off the lead blending into one
unit. The vocalists also sing in
unison at times which tends to
give the songs a desirable tinge
of gospel, particularly on "No-
body's Fault But Mine," which
comes off sounding like a folpk
As for the instruments, the
soloists consist of Garrett's gui-
tar, Barron's keyboards, particu-
larly organ, and Butterfield's
harmonica. Garrett is by no
means a great guitarist, but he is
pretty tasteful and intelligent.
He does some nice acoustic work,
plays some jazzy solos around
the melody line, and opens up
for some intense blues on the
"New Walkin' Blues." Barron
plays excellent back-up piano on
"Please Send Me Someone to
Love," "Done A Lot of Wrong
Things," and "Buried Alive in the
Blues." He really rocks on "High-
way 28," keeping the whole thing
moving and playing a nice solo.
He takes an organ break on
"New Walkin' Blues" which is
good but not unusual.
By far the star of the band is
Butterfield with his hard-hitting
hard-hitting harmonica. Contrary
to reports that Magic Dick of J.
Geils is the best white harmon-
ica player, Butterfield is with-
out a doubt the best. On this
album he has a chance to try
out some new styles, mainly a
mellow Sonny and Terry style on
"Baby, Please Don't Go." His
weaving harp, sounding com-
pletely unique but a bit anala-
gous to a soprano sax, pours out
ofer the music in a tightly-
controlled fashion that is incred-
ible. His solo on "Done A Lot of
Things Wrong" is masterful and
one of the highlights of the al-
In general, the prime-movers
in this band are about 30 years
old, and when you get up in that
age bracket, there seems to be a
tendency to level off and lay
back. This is what Butterfield has
done and he has presented us
with some very fine and well-
done blues and folk. Perhaps this
is not Butterfield's finest record,
but it is an auspicious start in a
4 ACADEMY AWARD
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