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March 28, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-28

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The Michigan Daily Saturday, March 28, 1981 Page 5




the crowd

After over a decade of persistent touring and the
release of almost a dozen albums, REO has finally
obtained not only the national popularity it has pur-
sued for so long, but also a more honest approach to
their music.
REO Speedwagon entertained a sellout crowd at
Crisler Arena Thursday night with selections from
their newest album Hi-Infidelity; currently No. 1 on
the Billboard charts, as well as material from
previous releases. Most important, however, was the
sincerity and confidence in their performance.
FRONTMAN FOR the group, Kevin Cronin,
thanked the Michigan audience for keeping the band
alive over the years. He never hesitated to stop the
show to introduce each song with a short story as to
how the tune came about - very effectively bringing
the audience closer to the performance on stage.
REO opened the show with "Don't Let Him Go"
from Hi-Infidelity. As the group moved into "Like
You Do" and "Keep Pushin"' from the 1977 live
album You Get What You Play For, Cronin grabbed
the audience with his showmanship.
REO's members have gotten older over the years,

but their audience certainly ha
primarily high-school age or slight
their feet when the band hit the be
"Tough Guys," the first single
featuring ear-piercing guitar riffs f
and founder of the group, Gary Rich
THE BAND slowed it's heavy pa
Me To Fly" and "Take It On The1
On Loving You," probably the mo
the group has ever done, Croni
But the lull was short lived, as
keyboards and Richrath spurred t
along on "Roll With The Changes
took over a confident lead on1
"Flying Turkey Trot," dedicatedt
mer airplane pilot.
After "Say You Love Me or Say
"Back on the Road Again", a tune
written and sung by bassist Bruce
it's regular set on a high note
"Ridin' the Storm Out."

at risler
sn't. The crowd, with scat-like crooning on "157 Riverside Avenue,"
tly older, came to the band's first encore tune. But the band wasn't
ginning strains of through yet, as chants of 'R-E-O" brought them
off Hi-Infidelity, back for a second encore featuring the classic
rom lead guitarist "Golden Country" and the upbeat "Shakin' It Loose
hrath. Tonight."
ce for "Time For REO played a total of seventeen songs, demon-
Run." For "Keep strating that they are a band that realizes and ap-
st emotional tune preciates how they got where they are-no matter
n took over the how long it took to get there.
Warm-up for REO was 707. The sole high-point of
Cronin stayed on their set was a rendition of their only hit to date, "I
the crowd to sing Could Be Good For You".
s." Richrath then The band, which originated around Livonia and
the instrumental migrated to the West Coast in search of a record con-
to the band's for- tract, had a very rough sound to their music... not
to mention trivial, unoriginal material and guitar
y Goodnight" and solos that sounded something like the guy next door
from Nine Lives practicing.
Hall, REO ended
with the popular Basically, 707 lacked a commanding approach to
their performance. Their only worth was in demon-
strating faults, which more than highlighted REO's
vocal versatility strengths.

REO's lead singer, Kevin Cronin, does his infamous pouty-Shirley Temple
imitation for the Crisler crowd Thursday night.

Steppenwoif glad to get a Second Chance

the ann arbor
film coopertive

America! Where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and
"Some songs, as they get older, just
et older. Some songs get truer," John
Way told the swaying, ecstatic mob at
Second Chance Thursday night. And
then came the hammerchords of "Mon-
ster," perhaps the finest song Steppen-
wolf ever recorded
It was rapture. The band pounded
the chords home with merciless zeal,
each beat energized with jackhammer
force, as the aged amongst us roared
the lyrics in unison. It sounded like a
boast, but Kay was right; the words
*ang truer than history itself, as visions
of Ronald Reagan danced apocalyp-
tically in our heads.
IF POLITICAL songs are passe, then

so was this orie. But Kay couldn't have
found a more endearing way to finish
the show, which is why he saved the
song for the second and final encore. It
ended a show that started out as a
whimper with a scream of outrage.
Steppenwolf in its historical sense has
survived the times remarkably well.
Only Kay remains from the original.
band, but he wrote and sang all of the
songs anyway, so who cares? His new
band pummels the ear with intense,.
ripping rock that hits the ground run-
ning, and Kay's vocals have retained
their ratchety grip.
KAY IS A MAN OF interesĀ±ing con-
trasts; a tall, sinewy, rough-hewn man
endowed with razor-strap vocals gritty
in their virility, Kay comes across as a
man who'd walk a mile for a Camel. It
was an image he exploited for "Five
Finger Discount," dedicated "to some

folks who had the balls to call them-
selves Steppenwolf." (By the way, Kay
informed us that "they've been put out
of their misery.")
His voice is one of harsh asser-
tiveness, the unyielding determination
that made "Born to Be Wild" the an-
them of an angry generation. Thirteen
years later, singing to a generation
rendered immobile by the rigor mortis
of passivity, Kay remains on edge. The
band's version of this immortal anthem
was thunderous, inflammatory in its
searing urgency, and still relevant to
the hysterical masses clogged
shoulder-to-shoulder on the dancefloor.
For a man with such a grainy per-
sona, though, Kay sprinkles his songs
with a surprising quantity of sentimen-
tality which is occasionally fatal. Many
of the newer tunes were burdened with
an overdose of Tragedy; "A Hot Night

in a Cold Town" concerned itself with
runaways and the godawful tawdriness
of it all, while Hoyt ("Joy to the
World") Axton's "Snowblind Friend"
again warned us of the dangers of
drugs. Ye heroin addicts, take heed.
THE IMAGERY THAT blessed Step-
penwolf's best work was absent from
most of the newer tunes, and the best
ones were matter-of-fact declarations
like "Business is Business" ("No mat-
ter how old/If you don't pay your
bills/You freeze in the cold") and
"Every Man for Himself." The latter
would serve as a fitting anthem for the
new breed of rockers.
None of the new songs conjured up
the vivid visions of older tunes,
however. "Magic Carpet Ride" stom-
ped rambunctiously, with Kay
providing a slide guitar solo that un-
coiled in long, tentative strides, and it

still sounds seductively wild. "The
Pusher," saved for the first encore,
drove Kay's anti-drug message home
with guitar-slinging force as people
ironically lit up their contraband.
The show was exhilirating and almost
communal after "Magic Carpet Ride,"
which came two-thirds of the way into
the show proper, but even the battering
musical arrangements couldn't ram
the newer songs down.
They were inspired, they were ap-
preciated, but Steppenwolf was not vin-
dicated by their Thursday night show.
Sadly, most of their life breathes through
the nd stuff



7:44O& 10:20-MLB 4
8:40-MLB 4

A bittersweet 'Sugar-mouth Sam'

Sugar-mouth Sam Don't Dance No
More could have been one more in a
string of plays that focus on that tired,
stereotyped theme of a black man who
walks out on his partner and then
returns, full of remorse and begging for
Sugar-mouth Sam Don't Dance No More
By Don Evans
'' The Stage Company
Canterbury Loft
March 26-29
Verda................... Catrina Ganey
Sam......................Charles Jackson
Directed by Robert Moses
Lighting designed by Ron Ta/or
Set designed by Robert Moses
Produced by James Danek and
William Sharpe
The ending was as predictable as The
Wizard of Oz. Not that predictability is
always bad, of course; sometimes it
can be quite comforting, allowing the
audience to focus on other areas such as
But Sugar-mouth just stresses so

heavily the fact that the two-person
cast is poor, black, and still trying to
find a niche in the world that it nearly
loses the two characters it seeks to
create and develop. Here the play is
saved by the performances of Catrina
Ganey as Verda, and Charles Jackson,
as Sugar-mouth Sam. They portray
lovers kept apart both by Sam's wife
and his own wanderlust.
GANEY, in particular, turned in an
excellent performance as the lower
class black woman struggling to sur-
vive, who is surprised one night by the
return of her lover, Sam. Her perfor-
mance is flawed only by the level of her
voice, which was several decibels
above normal. In an average theater,
most actors find it necessary to project
their voices. In the confines of Canter-
bury Loft Thursday night, where Sugar-
mouth was staged, that loudness was
hardly necessary.
The narrow confines of the Loft also
seems to have inhibited director Robert
Moses' staging somewhat. The stage is
simply too small to permit much
movement, and thanks to Moses' direc-
tion, the action often stressed the
triteness of Don Evans' script.

The second act opens with Verda and
Sam in bed after, we assume, having
just made love. Verda kisses Sam, gets
out of bed, and lights up a cigarette.
The symbolismg was so obvious that it
could have been a comedy sketch from
Saturday Night Live.
ADMITTEDLY, this kind of charac-
terization is difficult for anyone. Simply
saying lines without any kind of accom-
panying movement indicates, if nothing
else, a lack of motivation.
But that is hardly Ganey's problem.
A University Theater Department
student and veteran actress, Ganey
easily conveyed her points: She wanted
to take Sam back, but was afraid to,
fearing that Sam would leave her. A
simple point, made difficult.
Another scene, soon after the
reunion, has Verda and Sam trying to

cope with occasional bouts of awkwar-
dness together after their one-year
separation. Verda tries to find out non-
chantly why Sam left her in the first
place. Despite her efforts to be casual,
however, her nervousness shines forth
through stiff, forced actions.
VERDA HERE is attempting to fix
supper for herself and Sam. But Moses
has her awkwardly folding and re-
folding napkins and arranging and re-
arranging the dishes on the table, in an
obvious attempt to show the audience
that she is really having difficulty being
Moses' staging is here again distrac-
ting. If Sam can't recognize Verda's
problems, the audience certainly does.
It would be easier to sympathize with
the character if her actions weren't
quite so forced.

A Moving Stogy of Love in Action
The Movie
A Film on the Life of St. Francis of Assisi
$Sturday, March 28th-6:30 P.M.
First United Methodist Church
209 Washtenaw Ave.

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