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June 08, 1978 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-08

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Page 8-Thursday, June 8, 1978-The Michigan Daily
St arship plays Pine Knob

As part of their national tour, suave
Grace Slick and the Jefferson Starship
touched down at a virtually sold-out
Pine Knob Tuesday evening, enter-
taining the earthlings as only the
rejuvenated Starship can.
The members of the Starship really
seem to think they are in a class by
themselves. Not that they're more
egotistical than any other rock per-
sonalities, but one can sense a more
sophisticated aura about them; their
stage show was more precise than the
Michigan DAILY
comparatively ragged performances
one expects of Ted Nugent and others of
his ilk, and the expertly timed lighting
cues and elaborately colored backdrops
combined for a visually attractive set-
IN SPITE OF the large, white-
framed sun glasses she donned for over
half the show, almost as if to remain
anonymous, Grace Slick could still
command an overpowering stage
presence when she wanted to. She kept
on one spot for most of the evening, but
when it was her turn to solo, there
seemed no doubt as to who was running
the show.
The nine-person ensemble began
their two-and-a-half hour set with an
exuberant "Ride The Riger," however
the boyancy of the number did not

typify the spirit of the evening. The
sound the Starship is after was better
reflected in the smoothness of "St.
Charles," and in the ttnes from their
recently-released Earth that comprised
a good half of the show. Technically, the
concert was a rather impressive feat,
and the way the band spruced up songs
off of Spitfire and Earth kept the show
from lapsing into the canned type of

performance one often runs into from
an overly-slick rock ensemble,
THE SONG selection was, on the
whole, pleasing, although the audience
certainly fell short of being stirred to
new heights of frenzy. The bouncing,
vigorously ryhthmical "Dance With
The Dragon" was the best tune of the
evening, but it was unfortunately
followed by a rather anticlimactic
"Somebedy To Love."

Most of the songs had tension-filled
beginnings, but a fair amount seemed
to drift into never-ending finales, as if
the group had decided "the longer the
better." Still, the crisp performances
and tasteful selection indicated that the
Jefferson Starship has not succumbed
to the superficiality of many 70s bands'
stage facades, and that I find somewhat

The Jefferson Starship performed Monday and Tuesday nights at Pine Knob. Pictured above are Starship premiere members
Grace Slick, left, and Paul Kantner, right.

Rescued by technology

Ah, the marvels of technology.
Technology can provide small, black
boxes that allow for world-wide com-
muniction with nary a second's delay.
In the case of movies, it can transform
a potboiled concoction like Capricorn
One, which otherwise wouldn't be worth
its weight in celluloid, into passable en-
tertainment-enough, at least, to keep
one numbly glued to the screen for two
hours on a lazy summer afternoon.
If you've missed theadvertisements
thus far, hear now that Capricorn One
concerns the means by which a
coniving, Jack D. Ripper-like Nasa
commander (Hal Holbrook) embarks
upon an intricate scheme to fake the first
Mars-landing. It seems that the com-
pany which provides life support
systems has shortchanged the space
program-the fatally faulty apparatus
can only do its stuff for three
weeks-and Holbrook won't tolerate
any screw-ups for fear of having the
program permanently axed out of the
federal budget.
IN THE MIDST of this already
outrageous plot, the movie sustains it-
self by including some gratuitous action
sequences, throwing plausibility to the
winds, and tossing in a bevy of gover-
nmental conspriacy cliches and un-
believably stock conversations concer-

ning the mertis of the space program
and the cynicism of our age.
What is disappointing, even in a
thriller as obviously canned from the
start as this one, is that the premise
could have been exploited to the ends of
an intriguing, though admittedly far-
fetched, satire on the manipulative
potential of our hyper-technological
society. Just think if the moon landing,
which had more teary-eyed individuals
of all nations gathered around their
television sets thananyother single
event, was an out-and-out fraud. The
satirical overtones, let alone the
humorous possibilities, are large in-
IT APPEARS, though, that such
social speculation is not well-enough
grounded in television thinking to have
interested Peter Hyams, Capricorn
One's writer-director. Instead, the
movie misplaces its Mars-landing hoax
idea in the second half, diddling away
time by chronicling the exploits of a
bumbling journalist (Elliot Gould) who
is inspired to investigate the bogus
mission by a clue (give by one of the
astronauts in his "Mars-to-Earth"
communication) worthy of one of the
Riddler's on Batman.
No, Capricorn One wastes no time
exploring either the social or purely
human interest aspects of its story;
why, one of the few actually interesting-.

characters, a wise-cracking astronaut
played by Sam Waterson, is given all of
twenty lines. (His space compatriots,
O.J. Simpson and James Brolin, are so
uniformly bland, that one doesn't much
care whether they live or die).
HAD THIS movie been made back in
the glorious days of Escape From Plan-
et X, it would no doubt have aspired to
nothing higher than a Roger Corman
level of H-picture amateurishness,
without that director's flaked-out sense
of humor. But that is where technology
enters, in the guise of machine-smooth
camera pans, diamond-edged editing,
and flashy cinematography. All of this
gift-wrapping gives the film the aura of
a samsonized synthetic artifact,
unoriginal, perhaps, but carried off
with a dash of slicing flair. The result?
The movie is palatable! But, only up to
a point.
Oh, I suppose that the sequence with
Gould racing around town in his
brake-less car at 100 miles per hour is
fun, and that the helicopter chase at the
end rivals the ski chase in The Spy Who
Loved Me'for kinesthetic thrills. The
question is, when will the effect of
pyrotechnical polish wear off? When
will "filmmakers" like Peter Hyams
have to throw in an idea or two to make
theirrancid-little-creations stick?

The Professional Theatre
Program (PTP) yesterday an-
nounced its schedule for the up-
coming year's Guest Artist
Series. The schedule will run as
She Stoops To Conquer-Octo-
ber 18-22
Richard II-November 29-
December 3
The Inspector General -
February 14-18
The River Niger-April 11-15
The Inspector General, univer-
sally conceded to be one of the
great European comedies, is
Gogol's high spirited satire on of-
ficial crookedness and human
stupidity. She Stoops To Conquer
is a classic 18th century Ren-
naissance comedy.
IN A MORE somber vein is The
River Niger, which centers
around a Harlem housepainter,
poet, drunk, and patriarch,
whose son returns from service in
the air force. Richard II is
Shakespeare's historical drama
bout the struggle with Boling
Broke (Later Henry IV) over
possession of land.
The guest artists for each of the
productions have yet to be
determined. Auditions for all the
plays are open to anyone, and
students are encouraged to par-

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