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January 28, 1981 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-28

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ARTS

Page 7

Wednesday, January 28, 1981.

The Michigan Doily

1~

Detroit's uneasy Ryder

By FRED SCHILL
The spirit was willing, but the flesh
was weak. Mitch Ryder grimaced
through a set of pounding, sonic rock 'n
roll at Second Chance Monday in an at-
tempt to give life to a comeback attem-
pt that so far has languished in concep-
tion.
Immaculate it wasn't, but the music
Ryder's excellent band churned out
revived much of the zest and spirit of
his glory years. Even the newer
material was given a smoking sen-
sitivity and tension that ultimately lit
the fires of the sluggish audience.
THOUGH DENIGRATED by the
critics, the new songs jumped to life
tempestuously, churned with intense,
pumping rhythms, rocked with con-'
tagious insistence. There was little in-
novation to speak of, and the lyrics
were mostly downright dumb, bot
nobody ever accused Ryder of genius to
begin with.
The strength of the material Monday
night was its spirited fervor, its catchy
enthusiasm. The band has an uncanny
feel for the music; they can control the
pace and intensity wonderfully,
building songs to a fever pitch with
smooth but dramatic changes of pace.
WAccented with pounding downstrokes,
the music was infused with torrential
jams and reflective solos.
The band, in fact, saved the show
from the struggling Ryder. Perhaps it
was all those years working in a
warehouse, or maybe he's been
playing too many gigs, he might even
have that Asian All-Star flu that's been
going around-I hope for his own sake
that he has some excuse, because
Ryder's voice was AWOL the whole of
the set.
PART OF THE problem was the
sound, which caused occasional;
problems all evening, but that clearly
cannot be the scapegoat for Ryder's
withered vocals. His voice cracked
repeatedly, had the range of the Chip-
munks on a bad night, and was not up to
the pace of the more rollicking tunes
like "Too Tight," "Tough," and "I
Don't Wanna Die."
He did manage to save a couple of
classic medleys, an accelerated "C. C.
Rider/Jenny Takes a Ride" and a siz-

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Dlaiy Photo by i I UZ
MITCH RYDER STRAINING with the effort of it all during his Second
Chance appearance Mondlay night. Ryder's band was sharp and energetic,
but Mitch found himself struggling with screamless screams and a cracking
voice.

zling rendition of "Devil With A Blue
Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly." Both of
the medleys were identical to the ver-
sion Bruce Springsteen recorded on No
Nukes, which leads to some uncomfor.
table conclusions about the Boss. Ryder
has been doing this material for years,
but it has lost none of its vitality or
vigor-even with Ryder's erratic
vocals.
Otherwise, the songs suffered from
Ryder's vocal limitations. The attem-
pted screams remained attempts most
of the time, and everything else was
strained and tentative. Doubt about
Ryder's health rose in my mind; as a
performer, he was torpid and his
movements minimal, while his face
seemed perpetually twisted into a
strained grimace.
INDEED, RYDER'S opening com-
ment, "We deserve about 20 points for

even getting started tonight," may
have been more sincere than it seemed.
Unless his voice is down for the count,
though, I think there is reason to
believe in Ryder again. As he said, "It's
not really a show yet, but someday it
will be."

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