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September 15, 1977 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-15

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 15, 1977-Page
St x charms, back-up ... doesn 't
YX?

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By MARK BEYER
Last night's rain failed to dampen
the spirits of ardent concert-goers
with a taste for rock 'n roll; Ma-
sonic Temple in Detroit opened its
doors to a fairly typical crowd who
came to hear the sounds of, in order
of appearance, Cheap Trick, Spirit,
and Styx. Also in order of talent.
Cheap Triek's set opened the
evening, and with little delicacy.
These rockers, of the Volume School,.
combine a quasi-punk style with lots
of cheap circus buffoonery, aimed at
the under-15 set; their music was on
the whole, none too entertaining.
The group's most noticeable memK
hers were vocalist Robin Zander and
lead guitarist Rick Nielsen. Zander's
angelic face doubtless had the school-
girls' hearts all a-flutter, but seemed
rather bored by the whole affair.
Neilsen's guitar-playing and supple-
mental stage antics made him the
most watchable of the beings on-
stage. Combining spiderlike-fingers
and wild-eyed leers, Nielsen came off

as a sort of Ted Nugent-cum-
Huntz Hall.
The rest of the band consisted of Tom
Peterson and Ben E. Carlos; both
con-
tributed noise. Overall, C h e a p
Trick's search for a profitable rock
margin uhh, a rock profit margin
- uhh, well - seems to be following
paths set by glitter-and-punk groups.
Since they do sell records, apparent-
ly they have found their niche - an
unimpressive genre that can only
with accuracy be labeled Glunk.
Next act, please..
Which was Spirit, a California com-
bo. Led by guitar-man Randy Cali-
fornia (and appropriately-named at
'that), this band proved better than
their obscurity would suggest. Cali-
fornia, who evidently wishes he were
Jimi Hendrix, and even assumes the
dress and pose of the late rock star,
has enough skill, imagination, and
stage presence to keep a crowd
enthusiastic. Vocals were tactfully
scarce, though efficient when used,
notably on the band's most original

song, the breezy "Nature's Way".
California's emulation of Hendrix
peaked during a moving perfor-
mance of Dylan's "All Along the
Watchtower", made classic by Hen-
drix.
Spirit's driving rendition was aided
by accurate vocals and impressive
teeth-picking on the guitar (another
Hendrix trademark) and strong solo
playing. California himself, luke-
warm through most of the show,
seemed to come alive during this
number. Though not in .Hendrix's
ball-
park, his rapid riffs and slick slides
nonetheless showed precision and
talent.
An added treat during the closing
number was an excellent extended
drum solo reminiscent of Carl Palm-
er (of Emerson, Lake, and -); un-
like most, it held the interest of the
audience. And a surprise - the
drummer, a bald fifty-year-old gen-
tleman, turned out to be the father of
Randy California. The family that
plays together gets joint-contract
renewals.
Spirit,-while not a great band, were
enjoyable anyway; pleasant to the

.ear, and a good bit of fun.
The big act of the night took thefr
time coming out on stage. But the
audience didn't mind -soon enough,
mellow green and blue came up, and
Styx launched into the title cut of
their latest album, The Grand thu-
sion.
Styx consists of five of the most
productive and talented rock musi-
cians today. Its reputation and
record sales are founded primarily
on the extensive talents of the dual
lead guitars of James Young and
Tommy Shaw, and the crystailine
vocals and keyboard work of Detnis
D e Y o u n g. Providing exquisitely
strong and tight back-up rhythms ire
the brothers Panozzo, with John
striking drums and Chuck plucking-
a very deft bass.
After the opening new song, Styx
led the audience through such merm-
orable favorites as "Lorelei", "Light
Up", and one of their first hit,
"Lady". They wisely made the
biggest production number out of the
best song they do, "Suite Madamie
Blue'', a rock abstract of America.
The magnetic icy voice of DeYoung;
See STYX, Page 7

Immommommom-

Wilde

rather tame

By JOSHUA PECK
Vincent Price need not justify his as-
sumption of the role of the great wit Os-
car Wilde. Price has over 80 films and
nine Broadway plays to his credit, and
has written and edited nine books -
from cook books to art to the Bible. He
is, as much as anyone, the Renaissance
man of modern American theater.
"Diversions and Delights," playing
at the Music Hall Theater in Detroit
through September 18, is a theoretical
rendition of Wilde's final public ap-
pearance. Playwright John Gay has
used a "lecture," presented from a
stage in Paris a year before Wilde's
death in 1899, to portray the writer.
No such speech, was ever given, but
the setting is a convenient vehicle for a
review of Wilde's epigrams, works,
philosophy, and especially, his tragic
demise as an artist.
Act I is a stunning exhibition of
Wilde's derisive treatment of every top-
ic: from Puritans "who seem to die of a
sort of creeping common sense," to
morality, "the attitude we adopt about
the people we dislike." Even drama
critics "all can be bought. But judging
from their appearance they can't be
very expensive."
Wilde's witticisms provide great en-

tertainment. They are enormously en-
hanced by Price's exquisite timing, but
cleverness alone does not a successful
play make, and "Diversions and De-
lights" is sadly lacking in almost every
other way.
At the time of the imaginary licture,
Wilde had (in real life) recently been
released from jail after a conviction for
homosexual involvement. In prison
Wilde had suffered an ear injury which
produced great, pain and occasional
lapses of balance. Price's hobbling
about the stage in imitation of Wilde's
bouts with pain are awkward, phony
and unconvincing. Sad to say, he is not
the physically able actor he once was.
The second act is virtually devoid of
the witty epigrams that pepper the fir-
st. Playwright Gay, it seems, realized
that continuing in the same vein would
project a superficial and trivial char-
acter. The script turns towards the seri-
ous side of the aesthete's thoughts, a
fiery showcase the Wilde's pessimism
of his declining years. It misses sorely
in several respects.
Part of the problem is that there is
simply too little time after the intermis-
sion to convey an adequate summary of
Wildian thought. Price is forced to
change his mind without any visible
motivation. In the course of three min-
utes, for example, he admits that he

doesn't expect to write again, finds
himself on his feet and proudly, defiant-
ly even, proclaims his intention to re-
turn to the pen.
A smooth transition would have work-

know, but it is well done with the excep-
tion of the agony-act.
Costumer Noel Taylor detracts from
Price's otherwise striking appearance
with a perfectly hideous hairpiece. The
set and lighting are ordinary.
In a brief chat with the reviewer after
the show, Price confided that the script
is still being polished. Perhaps this pot-
pourri of a play will bloom into a dra-
-matic whole when the rough spots in the
second act are worked out.
Despite all it's shortcomings,
"Diversion -id Delights" and its lone
performer manage to compel and de-
light. The difficulties are .indeed bal-
anced by a glimpse of the late 19th cen-
tury through the eyes of a genius.

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Vincent Price
ed. Hamlet is indecisive, but he man-
ages to convince us of his sincerity by
virtue of Shakespeare's plodding,
rational writing. Price's jumps of rea-
son were simply not thought out.
Price's Wilde is a hoarse, lisping,
mincing wandT egr. Whether this is i
snide allusionfto Vilde's sexual pref-
erence, or a historical rendition, I don't

'Soap

*

Just a sitcom, not opera

By NINA SHISHKOFF
After all the bally-hoo over Soap,
ABC's adult serial, it's a bit of an
anti-climax to see the first episode.
Various churches and p r e s s u r e
groups have denounced the show for
loose morality and rampant sex, for-
portraying situations sure to contam-
inate the minds of the young; yet the
show hardly seems any stronger than
the average episode of All in the
Family, or Maude.
The plot of Soap centers around
two families. The rich family, the
"dates, consist of a philandering hus-
band, status-seeking wife, a daughter
'who is a nymphomaniac, a bratty
ron, and the husband's crazy old
father who seems to think he's a
major in World War II. They are
served by a surly black cook who
-hates all of them, but especially Mr.
Tate; he put sugar in his coffee, even
though he's a diabetic, and gleefully
insists on serving him high choles-
terol foods.
The Campbell family is headed by
14urt Campbell (played by Richard
l1ulligan) who killed his wife's
previous husband, although s h e
doesn't know it. (She is the sister of
,Mrs. Tate.) They have a son who
thinks he's an Italian mobster and
another who's gay, although really
both are the sons, of course, of the
man Campbell killed.
a The plot, obviously, is tangled, and
promises to get progressively more
so as the series progresses. Despite
the plot, Soap doesn't qualify as a
veal soap opera, or even a spoof of
one. There's not a lawyer or doctor
on the show. Except for the continu-
ing plotline, it remains a situation
comedy, along traditional situation
comedy lines. Crazy grandfathers
4nd bratty kids are species particu-
,ar to sitcoms.
What doesn't come across in the
sensational ad campaigns ABC has
aired, is that Soap is a well-written
original score from
TAD WAD

although unevenly amusing. The
acting is very good, in a campy sort
of way, and all the characters mesh
well.
The show runs smoothly, except for
two things. Some unnecessary slap-
stick is thrown in (two of the char-
acters have a food fight), and it jars
with some of the more sophisticated
humor. Also, some smoothness of
elpse jazz presents

flow is lost as the scene switches
from family to family. There should
be more interaction between the two
families; but perhaps that will
develop in future episodes.
Controversy for controversy's sake
is a gimmick, and Soap is very
gimmicky, but if its present level of
writing holds up, anything can, be
forgiven.

m

jean-luc
PO NTY

- r' F W 100 I'

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