The Michigan DoilY
Wednesday, February 3, 1982
Prince displays talents
By Mark Dighton
HE EXCITEMENT at Hill Auditor-
ium was such Monday night that it
didn't seem to really matter if either of
the bands played well at all. The
audience was united with the
knowledge that we were onto something
good that others were only beginning to
recognize. Yes, hipness is a heady drug
and we were high on it Monday night.'
We all knew that Prince is so hot that
this would probably be the last time.
we'd see him before the arena circuit
puts him out of touch forever. Already
he seems to be evidencing that
separation. But more often than not we
still held that connection with him, and
through him, with each other.
As the lights went down for warm-up
band The Time, the feeling of mass an-
ticipation was almost tangible. And The
Time didn't disappoint. If it didnt mat-
ter how well they played, they didn't
seem to know it; they turned out an im-
peccable set of keyboard-drive funk.
The Time are perfect foreplay to
Prince (a metaphor which I'm sure
Prince would approve). Their sound is
obviously derived from Prince, but they
make it distinctly thrilling in their
own right. Their presence filled Hill
Auditorium, not just with an arena-
sized sound, but also a magnetism that
held the audience together. They
managed this energy like pros, holding
it just under the breaking point,
sparking it only when Morris Day
touched someone in the audience or
tossed them a rose. Then it passed like
an electrical current through the
audience, inciting screams or shudders
After that ecstatic foreplay, the sex
was a bit disappointing. Not that it
wasn't good; just that it wasn't quite as
good as the preceding might have led
you to expect.
PrinZe is at a difficult point in his
careern; he's definitely made it to the
top. That much is quite clear. However,
he no longer seems clear on what it was
that originally got him there. In con-
cert, he plays down his music i4.favor
of his by-now-infamous unchained-libido
But even that is beginning to show
signs of strain as it's.being blown up to
fit major-pop-star proportions.
Whereas before, hehandily played with
the contradictions of his presen-
seems to be resolving those anbiguities
too facilely in order to develop a
coherent and consistent image.,
The first to go seems to have beeni the
last listed. Prince's emotive
vulnerability now seems lost to coy
posturing and his indubitable coolness
has edged into macho posturing. In
fact, the first four songs of his Monday
night set were lost to an egocentric ex-
cessiveness typical of heavy metal
bands. The two (formerly) slow
songs-"I Wanna Be Your Lover" and
"Why You Wanna Treat Me So
Bad"-were completely flattened out of
the appropriate feeling of bruised in-
nocence with an unflattering ego-
strutting one would have thought
unlikely from Prince.
Of course, the band didn't help much
either, steamrollering the musical sub-
tleties of these softly textured soul
tunes as Prince trashed their tone.
It is indeed unfortunate that Prince
can't play every instrument in concert
as he does on records, because his
every lick on keyboard or guitar was
just so right there was no room for
doubt. The band's track record was a
lot less certain. For every indisputable
delivery (e.g., "Annie Christian,"
"Private Joy") there were also the
dubious renditions like "Controver-
sy" and "Jack U Off," where
something just seemed to never quite
happen right. An ideal pairing would
have been the musically punchy Time
with Prince at the forefront, but that
was obviously not to be.
And despite any signs of bad weather
on Prince's horizon, he was in top form.
His guitar-masturbating and stage-
humping schtick is still this side of trite,
still reminding us of taboos dared. One
has to wonder, though, how long it will
be before these actions will just be
taken for granted by the audience, ex-
pected by them in return for their
money, not unlike Alice Cooper's
guillotine, just part of the act.
I still have a feeling that amid all the
androgynous attitudinizing, Prince has
some points he wants to make,
statements that are all the more sincere
for their unacademic and uncom-
plicated nature. But his ideas border in-
trinsically on the sensationalistic, so
that the very point of his argument may
be his eventual undoing. In fact, the Hill
audience was somewhat at an advan-
tage because of the ban on Prince strip-
ping down to his customary jockstrap.
Hopefully, denied the chance to peruse
his sex, we' spent out time pondering
sexuality. But don't try to tell me some
folks didn't go away feeling gyp-
ped just because they didn't get a chan-
ce to see his buns undraped.
It seems that -though Prince is still
near his peak, he might be just a bit on
the far side of it. No doubt he'll continue
to be an exciting and provocative
musical figure for years to come, but I
fear he may never quite recapture the
personal magic and thematic clarity
that already seems to be slipping from
his grasp. If the ambiguities he now ex-
plores just become a character he
assumes, then he won't be different
from all the other self-serving rock
stars. Already, he seems to be distan-
ced enough from his audience that it is
no longer a question of how much he
will give us in a show, but how much
we'll get out of him.
But even though it was a short set,
Prince packed a lot into it-some great-
songs and a lot of little gestures that
said more than you might believe.
Maybe his point is more simple than I
think. Perhaps just presenting himself
as a consummately sexy human being
is enough. If that is the case, then
there's no doubt he succeeded in
making his point Monday night. No per-
son who touched him or made eye con-
tact with him that night will ever forget
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Prince reigned at Hill Auditorium Monday Night.
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Morris, The Time
are still very cool
The Time and Prince are Warner
Brother's leading progressive-funk
acts. After Monday night's show at
Hill Auditorium, Melissa Bryan
talked with Morris Day, lead singer
of. the Time, about their style, the
tpur, and their relationship to
Q.low long is'the tour?
A. We're getting toward the end of the
tour. I think we'll go to the middle or
end of March.,
Q. How do you think it's going?
A.. I'm pretty pleased with the suc-
cess of the tour. We try to keep things
new every night. We tried to keep an
encore into the show, but it just doesn't
work. Since we were an opening act, we
get only 35 minutes or so, and we just
have to keep things shorter than we
Q. I noticed that "Cool" is different
than it is on the record ... Do you think
that your audience wants to hear each
song just as it is on vinyl?
A. We try to keep things the same, but
(we) have a time limit and some things,
have to be shortened ... just like "Get
It Up" is shorter, too. We only have
time for 5 or 6 songs, but each night is
different, and we make suggestions
within the band and try things out to
keep it interesting.
. }-Q. Are you only touring with Prince?
c, A. Yes, basically, *we work well
ogether, and our audiences seem to
like it. They're looking for a new ,ound
,and we can give it.
'Q. I've heard rumors about The
'Time's association with Prince, and I
would like to clear some of it up.What
exactly is your relationship with Prin-
ce? Are some of the members of the
Time related to Prince? Is that true?
A. No, that is definitely not true.
Q. I'te heard that you are produced
by yourself and Prince (using a
pseudonym). Is that true?
A. No, The Time is produced by me
and Jamie Starr, and he's another per-
Q. You have been accused of acting
and sounding too much like Prince.
How do you feel about the comparison?
A. Well, I feel OK about it because I
feel we prove more and more as time
progresses and as we perform that
there are no similarities whatsoever.
Q. Proving it, how?.
A. Well, our actual performance, our
persona, "being cool". :. stuff like
that. When we got together in Min-
neapolis a year and a half ago, we were
already living like that (being cool),
and we chose to use that in our perfor-
mances and on records.
Q. Prince .has chosen a theme of-
sexual revolution. . . does the Time
want to make "cool" the theme if its
A. Cool will be a key word on our next
albums, but that is not to say that each
record and each performance won't be
different. We chose to be cool and have
a cool image because it's easy for us.
Each member of the Time is'cool.
Q. Where have you been best
A. In Detroit. We play here often
because we draw a good audience. We
were the main act at the Royal Oak
Music Theater last fall, and we sold out
both shows on the same night. It was
Q. Do you see changes being made in
disco? If so, being made by whom?
A. I think that Prince has made a lot
of changes, and so are we, and that's
why we're touring together. There
aren't many people doing new things. A
lot of stuff sounds like it's coming out of
a producer's bag, and it's real tight and
real clean, and it sounds like a lot of
well paid musicians doing the tracks,
and that's basically where music has
been for a while.
Q. Have you done any previous
recording or studio work?
A. Yes, as a drummer. I'm a real
good drummer. I don't do any of the
tracks on the first album because I had
my hands full with singing. I started
singing when The Time started up. I do
some back up singing for studio tracks,
Q. Musically speaking, who are your
A. I don't have any real influen-
ces-no one that I really have drawn
things from. As- a drummer I've
listened to a lot of jazz and picked up
certain things, but as a singer I've
never had an idol or anything that I've
liked so much that I've wanted to copy
it. There's a lot of songs I like and would
like to do, but I guess that's why wefell
See MORRIS, Page 7
Gimme an A'
Gimme an 1 . . L ...V *
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