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August 14, 1974 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1974-08-14

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Wednesday, August 14, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five
Mitchell at Pine Knob:
The bands and the roadies

By RON LANGDON
JPoni Mitchell came to Pine
Knob last Thursday and Friday
to turn in two sterling perform-
ances to capacity crowds. The
audience had arrived, ready to
receive a new queen of roman-
tic song, and they were not dis-
appointed.
Mitchell seemed to have come
perfectly at terms with the
regal role into which she has
been cast, the worship and the
pure nonsense. Her attitude to-
wards the audience was a deli-
cate balance between warmth
and sensibility, in sharp con-
trast to last January's perform-
ance at Hill, where she seemed
quite nervous and giddy.
She flowed gracefully around
the stage in her loose-fitting silk
pant-suits, moving between her
piano, her guitars, her dulci-
mer, and the microphone. Her
performance similarly travelled
through a wide range of mu-

sical styles: country-folk, jazz,
rock, and semi-classical, as
well as a lot of casual conver-
sation between songs, and some-
times during them.
Her back-up band, the L. A.
Express, led by Tom Scott on
woodwinds, turned in a per-
formance that was as remark-
able for its instrumental vir-
tuosity as it was for its lack of
balance and mix. Like at Hill,
the band came on first alone, to
assault the audience with half
a set of snazzy, brassy, point-
lessly cool uptown jazz played
at near ear-splitting volume.
It struck me that the Knob's
"music theatre" has an acous-
tic quality not unlike a high
s c h o o I gymnasium, and
the L. A. Express could have
been a marching band, for all
the quality of the tone they
were producing.
The audience was still rather
favorable, however. To my

Records in review
STEVIE WONDER'S got a new album out. Of course, it's
great.
It's called Fulfillingness' First Finale. (Tamla 332). It's not
revolutionary - Stevie's approach hasn't changed too much since
Innervisions. But it's no formula album, either. This is a master-
piece in its own right.
In the last few years Stevie Wonder has been creating his
own musical world, doing all kinds of things no one ever expected
from a one-time puppet of Motown. And he seems to do them
more fluently with each album he turns out. FFF continues this
happy trend.
Stevie's instrumental ingenuity breathes life into songs whose
themes are far from new - "Please Don't Go" is a classic
example. And his overwhelming human warmth makes his up-
beat songs some of the most irresistible around.
The remarkable synthesizer work that marked Stevie's last
three albums is still there, as playful and effective as ever.
And Stevie's singing is liquid gold, as expressive as he's ever
been.
Fulfillingness' First Finale is going to sell millions - and
it deserves to. Stevie Wonder is a national resource.
-Tom Olson
"This is an album of songs
and stories set to musie per-
formed for your dancing and
dining pleasure by FZ and some<
of the people he likes to record
with." (-from the jacket)
Once Frank Zappa was an
artist fiercely concerned with
shaking his audience out of
their routine ways of exper-
iencing. With the release of
Apostrophe (') (Discreet, DS
2175), Zappa clearly seems now
to be settling into a mellower
state. There is no urgent mes-
sage or sarcasm, or blatantly
raunchy vocalization in t h is
collection of "songs and stor-
ies."
But this album is still pure Frank Zappa
Zappa - with his outrageously
imaginative lyrics, exciting guitar work; the fun he has with
words. ("Language . . . is almost obsolete," Zappa has said.
". a by-product of the technological growth of civilization.")
FZ fans will find this to be a pleasant new extension of his
work.
-Ron Langdon
AN LIGHTNING strike twice in the same place? Hopefully,
Wendy Waldman can generate a large enough spark with her
second album, Gypsy Symphony (Warner Bros. BS 2792), to
ignite the audience that has recently made Maria Muldaur a star.
Waldman, like Muldaur, has been playing with jug bands in
L.A. for the past five years. Her first album, Love Has Got Me
released last year, received much critical acclaim, but not much
public attention. Undaunted, she has perfected the flaws of the
last album and has put together another great album.
Waldman combines the fire of Muldaur with the melody
of Laura Nyro. Her music is a combination of show tunes, blues,
and country-folk, but her style is her own - voice, guitar, piano,
and dulcimer., The combination gives an album equal to the
strength of Carole King's Tapestry.
Unlike King, Waldman generates a lot of emotion and depth
in her songs: her version of "Mad Mad Me" surpasses that of
Muldaur (who appears in the background vocals in this album).
But she, like.King, can be mellow, as in "The Road Song".
Gypsy Symphony, with a little. help from her friends, should
make it for Wendy Waldman.
-Vikd Bankey

amazement, people cheered and
applauded when they finished
their numbers.
(It seems to have become a
perennial question at concerts:
Can all these people possibly
have wax in their ears? Or is
there some little known reces-
sive cromosone that has placed
my ears into another decibel
rating? I asked several people
around me point blank if they
thought the music was too loud,
a n d several g a v e me a
"No . . ." and a questioning
look.)
Until about a year ago, Tom
Scott was chiefly a studio mu-
sician, known among music
circles primarily for his work
on television soundtracks and
the like.
His relationship with the lady
began one day when he dropped
into the studio where she was
recording For the Roses, and
played for her his band's re-
cording of "Woodstock."
Reportedly, Mitchell, who
Scott says "does not even know
the names of the notes on the
piano," was very pleased by
the arrangement. She asked
Scott if he might arrange and
play some backgrounds for the
LP she was working on. They
have stuck together ever since.
Her association with the L. A.
jazz band has since come to
comprise a radical new direc-
tion for this folk singer from
Saskatoon. Mitchell and the
group played several new num-
bers Thursday night, as yet un-
recorded or released. In all of
these, the lady abandoned her
guitars to stand in front of the
mike and croon, jazz style.
It appears that she may wish
to be a folk singer no longer.
After about a half an hour of
mildly abusive electronic jam
by the back-up band, an un-
seen voice announced, "Ladies
and gentlemen, Miss Joni Mit-
chell . . ." and the lady flowed
out from behind the amplifiers,
to a warm, healthy roar. She
said nothing, but busied herself
with her tuning for a minute,
and then began -her act with a
rather jagged rendition of
"Free Man in Paris."
After that she performed
(with the band) a slower, more
thoughtful version of her Top-40
proposition number from For
the Roses, "You Turn Me On
I'm a Radio."
I had completely forgotten
about the politics of the even-
ing at this point. I was genuine-
ly surprised, then, when, after
a shuffle of people on stage, she
turned and smiled and spoke
her first words to the audience:
"The president has resigned."
The crowd went wild, in a
relaxed sort of way. The band
and the audience retired for a
couple of minutes of joyous,
formless celebration and relief.
Frisbees flew. Someone held
up a little four inch Sony TV
and showed it all around, so
everyone could see our ex-presi-
dent there two inches tall, be-
hind his podium with the Great
Seal.
Her mnusical performance, for
the most part, was somewhat
casual and geared towards the
lighter side. The emphasis was
on entertaining. I find this a
disappointment, maybe, but
even when concealing her depth
of feeling she is still tremen-
dously talented. Her talent is all
the more remarkable when one
considers that it was not until
after she was in her twenties,
and married to folk singer
Chuck Mitchell, that she began
to pick up guitar.

She now plays guitar flawless-
ly, utilizing several of her own
tumings, which she devised with-
out any formal knowledge of
chord structures.
Similarly, she plays piano

beautifully, and is a distinct
songwriter, with a style all her
own.
But her strongest musical
talent is her voice. She has got
the most marvelous tone, range,
and volume; and in particular,
she does not merely haul a
song out and sing it, but per-
forms it with all the inflections
she used in the recording, or
that suit her mood at the time.
The audience was an afflu-
ent and respectable mixture of

Michigan Daily
Arts

gifts, and people (usually wo-
men) shouting, "We love you!"
and twice people lept up on the
stage to present her with a
gift and a kiss.
The second time, a woman
stood inches in front of her,
waving her arms and frantically
pleading out near tears some
vital communication, as two
stagehands tugged at her arms.
Mitchell listened for a moment
with an expression of deep con-
cern and a gesture to the stage-
hands not to molest her, and

jet-setters and soft-core freaks.
Behind me sat a grandmother-
ly woman with a group of young
people, martini in hand. I did
a double take when I noticed
the boy next to her (who look-
ed as if his mother could have
just scrubbed him behind the
ears before sending him off for
the evening show) was drawing
in on a joint, from a pair of
tweezer roach clips.
The grandmother gave me a
pleasantly numb smile, as only
a grandmother can.
Like a visiting monarch, Mit-
chell was received with several

then the two women hugged.
"You know, you put me in a
position that is very marvel-
ous . . ." she said, looking up,
shielding her eyes from the
lights, ". . . but also kind of
strange, calling out from the
darkness, 'We love you!'
"I feel like I am out in space
up here - I can't see you. I
feel like I am on a planet with
two moons, a blue one and a
pink one," she said, referring
to the two spotlights. "Then ev-
ery so often somebody lights a
cigarette, and I think it is
See MITCHELL, Page 9

Joni croons

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