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January 14, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-14

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The Michigan Daily__A R T S_
Th ihgnDiyWednesday, January 14, 1981 Page5

'Reelin'

and rockin' with Chuck Berry

Br FRED SCHILL
"I'm still here," Chuck Berry
mischievously reminded the ecstatic
crowd crammed like jubilant sardines
into Second Chance Monday night,
"and I love it."
At fifty-four (or maybe forty-nine,
depending on who is doing the
guessing), Chuck Berry is still
magnificent. There is grey in the
slicked-back pompadour, but silver in
the fingers.
VIBRANT, energetic, smooth as an
eel in an oil slick, Berry was
Everyman's king of rock and roll Mon-
day night... for an hour.
One hour. Ten songs. That came out
to one shrinking dollar per song for the
700 or so faithful who filled the sparse
seats, clogged the aisles, and sat on the
dance floor. For both sets combined,
Barry made over $500 a song.
Oh, but it was glorious while it lasted.
Koko Taylor and her splendid Blues
Machine proved to the audience that
their relative anonymity was undeser-
ved as soon as Koko growled out the fir-
st few bars of "Let the Good Times
Roll." Those who cane only to see
Berry (and that encompassed almost
everyone) were - startled and
mesmerized by the tar-pit grittiness of
Taylor's versatile voice and the
smooth, scorching solos sent flaming
from the neck of "The Maestro's" lead
guitar. Taylor and the Machine shared
a passionate, hour-long love affair with
the blues that had the crowd learning
the lyrics and singing along to such
Taylor classics as "Hey Bartender"
and "Wang Dang Doodle."
THEY ALSO established the proper
context for Berry, whose own guitar
style is oh-so-obviously an impatient

extrapolation of the blues.
After an embarrassingly worshipful
introduction by some airhead DJ,
Berry and his band leaped feet-first into
his irreverent classic, "Roll Over
Beethoven." Genuinely taken aback by
the frenzied adultation of the crowd,
Berry reveled in the appreciative chaos
that followed "School Days," quipping
"I think I'm going back to school."
BERRY WAS spectacular. He wrung
paroxysms of shattering intensity from
the neck of his guitar in flickering, fluid
surges of energy. He displayed an in-
stinctive intimacy with a guitar that
makes him the master of its every
mood; he danced with it, he humped it,
he slashed the air before the outstret-
ched hands of the groundlings with it,
he crouched down face-to-face with it in
the raucous show-ending "Reeling and
Rocking."
Finally, he turned the stage over to
the dancers while he stood off to the
side quietly creating two, three, four
minutes worth of indigenous guitar
mastery. The guitar was a complete in-
strument in the hands of Chuck Berry;
he masterfully manipulated all six
strings at all positions, while almost all
guitarists today cannot stay away from
the highest notes humanly produceable.
Berry played almost entirely old
material, sharing the singing with a
crowd who largely wasn't even born
when he first made the charts with
"Maybellene." He mixed in a couple
of new songs, shared the stage with his
stunning and talented daughter for
three songs, did one encore, and left to a
cacophony of noise generally generated
in the hopes of getting more.
It was not to be. Although I would
gladly have paid ten clams to see

Taylor and Berry again, I expected a
little more than an hour's worth of
work. Even legends should earn their
keep.
Speaking of which, and at the expense
of ending this review on a sour note, it is
time for someone to reprimand the
management of Second Chance. This is
easily the worst forum for a concert I
have ever had the misfortune to be
trapped in. The management has no
concept of the term "crowd control,"
and anyone who doesn't believe- in
evolution after standing in line there is
living in a fantasy world.
People crammed themselves into the
V5

club's foyer in hopes of grabbing one of
the few seats around the railings-the
only seats from which one can see.
Those who got left out in this game of
musical chairs sat on the dance floor (a
privilege for which they paid ten
dollars) and jammed the aisles,
creating a fire hazard of unthinkable
porportions.
Hell, I couldn't even get to the
bathroom-and when I asked an em-
ployee if there was another one, I was
advised to "go piss in the street."
Second Chance is not a healthy place,
and until they clean up their act, it
would be wise to avoid it.

PUT'IEM AWAY,

1!!
p$ Wit
G are r s

If you can live without
-your cigarettes for one
day. you right find you
can live without them
forever.

_ JUST FOR ADAY. _

I,-

r

WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT?

Dir. Clive Donner. WOODY ALLEN made his acting debut in his screenplay
about a neurotic, sex-obsessed fashion editor who takes his problems to a
psychiatrist with the same character traits and a few more to boot. PETER
SELLERS is the Beatle-wig wearing Doctor of Psychiatry. Another Peter, this
one an O'Toole, is the patient. The rest of the neurotic cast 'includes
URSULA ANDRESS and several actors whose names are in the way-out go-cart
chase in the (neurotic) climax.
If all this is not enough, there is a Mighty Mouse cartoon, A COLD RO-
MANCE, to start the festivities.
7:00 & 9:00 at LORCH HALL

Chuck Berry thrills to the unexpected adulation of the college-aged crowd
-at Second Chance Monday night.

STEELY DAN'S 'GAUCHO':
Dull, but so clean! so careful!

CINEMA GUILD

CINEMA GUILD

W By FRED SCHILL
Never underestimate man's capacity
for self-indulgence. Steely Dan (Walter
Becker and Donald Fagen) has put out
a whole new album dedicated to the
preservation and enrichment of the
term. Gaucho has created whole new
worlds for egotism to conquer, and
Steely Dan has risen to the challenge.
C'mon, guys, you have got to be kid-
ding. You really meant to name it
Gauche, right? That is actually just a.
primitive joke, right?
WELL, THE JOKE is on us. There
are seven (count 'em) songs on
Gaucho; two are testimonies to them-
selves, one is a denigration of
homosexuality, one is a macho wish to
beat the crap out of the competition,
and two are tales of men on the make.
Only one song on the. entire album
("Third World Man") would engage the
attention of a contemplative three-
year-old for more than a few seconds.
The music is slapped together with
horn arrangements as the substance,
and simplified, ponderous rhythms as
the glue. Even the inclusion of guests
Larry Carlton, Rick Derringer, Mark
Knopfler, Tom Scott, David Sanborn,
Michael McDonald, and Randy and
Michael Brecker cannot breath life into
the corpse.
This is largely because their presence
is barely evidenced. Producer Gary
Katz has taken material that was
-already monotonous and given it an ad-
ditional somnolence beyond its own
power to achieve. Mark Knopfler's
potentially enlivening guitar solo on
"Time Out of Mind" wails away into
obscurity along with everything else,
forcing the listener to embark on a
tiresome venture to clearly hear just
what is being played.
THAT MAY BE just as well, con-
a

sidering the lackluster quality of the
music. It's a pity Katz didn't do the
same for Fagen's vocals or, please God,
those drippy sweet back-up vocalists he
included. Fagen has a vocal style that
defies musical traditions such as
melody with a stop-and-go, sputtering
-------------
sort of ambiguity that ridicules all ef-
forts to sing along. His back-up
vocalists supplement his inconsistency
with sugary, sound-of-Philadelphia
vapidity..
Not that it matters all that much.
Who really wants to sit and listen to
Fagen salivate pretentiously in "Hey
Nineteen?" "No we can't talk together!

No we can't talk at all," the older man
sagely observes, so (you guessed it),
let's just go fuck.
Who really wants to listen to Fagen
sing from the crotch in "Babylon
Sisters" (Babylon-decadence-get the
imagery?) or deliver snide stereotyped
judgments of homosexuals in the title
cut? And then there's the mature ap-
proach taken towards the fortunes of
love in "My Rival": "I loved you more
than you can tell/But now it's stomping
time."
For.those who tire of it all, Becker
and Fagen have undertaken to imper-
sonate the Doobie Brothers on "Time
Out of Mind," with the humble lines,

"Children we have it right here/It's the
light in my eyes/It's perfection and
grace/It's the smile on my face." Or
you can see the world through the eyes
of a celebrity in "Glamour Profession,"
where Fagen asks of Hollywood, "Who
inspires, your fabled, fools?/That's my
claim to fame."
Can you believe all of this? And the
saddest part is that the album hasn't
even enough character to be truly bad,
to be awful in that amusingly acciden-
tal sort of way. Gaucho is merely
boring:it is wholly devoid of value, an
unblushing altar before the shrivelling
spectre of Steely Dan.

the ann arborefilm cooperative \
Tonight PRESENTS Tonight

RUDE BOY

7:00 and 10:20

A look at contern porar En land .
Music by THECLASH

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