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May 12, 1976 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-05-12

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Arts & Entertainment Wednesy, M1,96Ag
NO! ........... Ponmet rock concert:
> Let the buyer beware

Daily Photo by SCO I I t.K
Elton John: Here and There
'Here and There.
Elton John, again
Elton John has come out of the closet to give the junior-
high school jet set a new album to dig. Here and There, a
live album recorded over two years ago in London and New
York, is an interesting album in that it was made during
Elton's transition period from the status of serious musician
to that of pop prostitute.
The quality of his albums started to decline slowly with
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Caribou, and eventually hit
rock bottom in Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cow-
boy and Rock of the Westies. Songs such as "Philadelphia
Freedom", "Island Girl", and Elton's versions of "Pinball
Wizard" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" added to the
insult to AM Radio listeners already plagued with musical
Compared to what he has done on the last couple of
years, Here and There is a refreshing look back at a some-
what more honest pop star.
Familiar tunes like "Funeral for a Friend", "Honky
Cat", and "Crocodile Rock" sound just as good as ever,
while ballads like "Rocket Man" and "Border Song" are
performed adequately.
Sorely missed on the album are a couple of John's songs
that really show off his talent: "Burn down the Mission",
"Your Song"-after a couple of hearings of Here and There,
the listener becomes keenly aware of the loss. The album
is merely a collection of singles and hopelessly dull. While
Elton is wearing one of his effeminate but so-typical cos-
tumes on the album cover, it is hard to visualize one of his
concerts while listening to the songs. Hence, rather than
appearing fresh, the music appears stale. For all of that,
it might as well have been a studio disc.
When Elton John started out at the Troubador in Los
Angeles (the year was 1969), his impact was subtle. Every-
one panned his first album, Tumbleweed Connection, and
predicted that with "Your Song" he would become that too-
familiar phenomenon-the one-song artist who disappears
inside of a year.
He didn't.
Elton's next album, Elton John (containing "Take Me
to the Pilot' and "Your =ong", among others), was a sleep-
er. But as it slowly took off, people began to recognize him
for the rock superstar he was shortly to become. If fame
came slowly to John, so did a sense of proportion. His eye-
glasses began to match his ego, and musicianship went
down the drain.
But he still had a few fine albums left in him. Madman
Across the Water was lyrical and heartfelt, Honky Chateau
had a couple of truly excellent cuts ("Mona Lisas and Mad
Hatters", "Rocket Man"), and Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only
the Piano Player had "Daniel".
Then came his transition period, characterized by Good-:
bye, Yellow Brick Road (including the title song and the
wonderful "Harmony") and Caribou. Clearly he was de-
scendmg to the level of the twelve-year old groupie, such as
the type Shelly Duvall played in Altman's Nashville. r
Here and There is not a total loss. The songs are a step
up from his recent material, and, at least, he hasn't had the
gall to record his version of "God Save the Queen".
There's hope yet.:

Musical mayhem was ram-
pant at Ponmet Stadium Satur-
day night in Pontiac when Ted
Nugent, Foghat, and Aero-
smith faced a throng of eighty
thousand teenage rock mani-
The show was more an event
than a concert, a coldly calcu-
lated event designed to make
money. The ticket prices were
incredibly steep, especially
since the production was mount-
ed incompetently and exploi-
tatively. It was virtually im-
possible to see the acts be-
cause of the size of the sta-
dium. To alleviate the prob-
lem a massive video screen
was suspended above the stage,
which proved ineffective until
the stadium got totally dark,
which it never did. The acous-
tics were abominable: a bilevel
structure built from outsize
amps pumped distorted sound
into a convulsive echo.
No one else seemed to care
however, and it was obvious
when Ted, Nugent took the stage
that the crowd was hypnotized
by the heavy metal music. Nu-
gent gave an energetic, explo-
sive performance that was fla-
vored by his distinctively De-
troit sound. As the survivor of
the Amboy Dukes, Nugent has
developed into an elder states-
man of high energy music. His
guitar work and singing were
stellar and his stage manner

captured the wildness of rock
and roll at its most primitive.
His back-up group was power-
fully tight and responsive, espe-
cially during the classic "Jour-
ney to the Center of the Mind."
Though the younger audience
may have been somewhat skep-
tical, Nugent proved his enor-
mous talent in the encore num-
ber "Motor City Madhouse", an
unadulterated dose of pure en-
ergy and addictive beat.
Foghat is part of a different
tradition, the British blues-
rockers. Their set contained no
more than eight songs, includ-
ing incredibly long versions of
"Slow Ride" and "I Just Want
to Make Love to You". The
musicianship was incredibly in-
tricate, with Rod Price's slide
guitar work and Dave Pever-
ret's leads alternately inter-
twining and unraveling.
Unlike Nugent, there was no
center of attention, visually or
musically, in Foghat's set.
They are four interdependent
musicians, who work together
like -precision instruments. As
such they weren't as exciting as
Nugent, but their music and
performance were captivating.
Their live sound is far superior
to their recorded tunes, espe-
cially in Peverret's vocals. His
voice was raw and heavy in the
tradition of blues artists, and
his vocal expressiveness more
than compensated for his iner-
tia on stage.

Aerosmith, the headliners,
were greeted by an insane and
frenzied ovation, which was
far from deserved. They are
quite possibly the worst group
I have ever seen, and probably
the most successful of the nou-
veau punk-rockers. Their set
consisted largely of new songs
from their new album, and hit
singles. The music was unima-
ginative, largely a background
for the lead singers wailing and
unrhythmic gyrations.
Judging from the audience
reaction, it was obvious that the
group could do no wrong, but
when a group believes it as
well, there is trouble in the
offing. Punk-rock reaches its ar-
tistic height when the artists
involved have a good sense of
the ridiculous like Jagger, and
JoHansen (lead singer of the
New York Dolls). The trouble
with Aerosmith, particularly
their vocalist Steven Tyler, is
that they take themselves too
seriously, which destroys the ef-
fectiveness of the musical style
and stage performance in the
As a cultural event, the show
was unparalleled. There was
music, visuals, atmosphere and
drama that truly reflected the
the derangement of the teen-
age rock scene. As a musical
event it was chaotic, and
maimed at best, but even so, a
testimonial to Detroit's rabid
tastes in rock and roll.

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