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March 13, 1982 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-13

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The Michigan Daily

Page 5


March 13, 1982

A classic
from the,
first' note
By Mark Dighton
T HE GUITAR runs ran thick and
fluid, effortlessly ascending in
spiraling crescendos. The horns
chased in the opposite direction,
dropping aimless staccato bursts
that threatened to nail the stumbling
bass to the floor. Self-evident was
that some of the best talents in the
business were clustered in our
And Chic hadn't 'even taken the
stage yet. When they did, the
floodgates opened and outpoured
classic after classic. From note one
it was clear that this was going to be
the best show (as well as the best
party) Ann Arbor had been witness
to in any mentionable length of time.
Most bands have to pace their sets
so that the few peaks don't all end up
together and the valleys become un-
bearable. Chic don't have to worry
about that. They started out on top
with "Chic Rap" and continued to
set their sites higher at each step.
No stone was left unturned in
displaying the hit factory talents of
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards,
Chic's main men. In addition to the
finest tunes off their new album,
"Take It Off," they also pulled out
some of the wonders they penned
and produced for other ar-
tists-Diana Ross' "Upside Down"
and "I'm Coming Out," Deborah
Harry's "Backfired," and Sister
Sledge's "We Are Family." Though

Silent world is revealed

Nile Rodgers of Chic

By Adam Knee
THE TREND in much of today's
"new mime" is consciously anti-
Marceau. Abstraction replaces
narrative, hyper-realism replaces
stylization in a push toward new artistic
Yet, as his opening Thursday night
performance before a wildly en-
thusiastic Power Center audience once
more affirmed, Marcel Marceau's ar-
tistry has yet to be matched. None of
today's technical and stylistic in-
novations can, in themselves, sub-
stitute for Marceau's insight into the
human mind, or his moving,
enlightening evocation of the human
Marceau performs in whiteface with
some simple coloring of his eyebrows,
eyes, and lips. He wears a plain white
costume with a striped shirt, adding a
dark jacket and a crumpled tophat with
a flower in it for his clown character,
Bip. He employs only a few props, all of
which are unobtrusive. His technique,
though precise, is never strained and,
though highly stylized, is never over-
embellished. Needless to say, he never
In short, Marceau performs in a con-
text in which there is nothing to distract
the audience from his true art. Each
practiced gesture, each refined ex-
pression receives all the attention it
merits. More importantly, such a con-
text -promotes the mental abstraction
his pieces call for: even his simplest
skits suggest the profoundest truths.
When Marceau performs "The
Creation of the World," he uses his body
to suggest water, fish, birds, and land
animals; yet he never attempts to tran-
scend his human form-as many of the
new mimes would. Each movement,
each new development in the world, is
exquisitely, poignantly expressed in his
face and emoted through his body.
What we are seeing is not a fantastic
abstraction, but a human drama, a
depiction more of personal evolution
than of biological evolution.
Marceau's representation of the
human experience relies mostly on
events somewhat less monumental

than Creation. For example, in "Bip as
a Great Artist," the Bip character
plays his heart out as a street violinist,
only to discover, to his dismay, that it
will require crashing cymbals in a
marching band to make himself heard.
We can all identify with Bip, here, as a
man frustrated in his attempts to ex-
press himself, to reveal his higher
visions of the world.
This frustrated artist figure is
prevalent in Marceau's work. In the
"Envy" segment of "The Seven Deadly
Sins," an aspiring sculptor puts all of
his energies into creating something
out of a small ball of clay, only to have
his work smashed back down to a ball
by a jealous instructor. "The Bill
Poster" is also as aspiring artist, in a
sense, brushing glue on walls with pain-
terly strokes. But he, too, is stopped
short of his goal when his medium gets
a bit too sticky.
Thus, a performer who does not
speak enlightens us about stifled ex-
pression. Marceau reveals the hidden,
unexpressed sides of all kinds of
people. A rich women overseeing a
meager charity dinner sneaks into the

kitchen to cram her face with immense
quantities of food. A feeble, ostensibly
poor old man takes on a new vitality
when rummaging through the
valuables he has hoarded. In "Bip plays
David and Goliath," the clown reveals
two sides to his single persona-one
meek and bright, the other strong and
dumb-by changing his form every
time he passes behind a partition. Bip
keeps this division intact in the ensuing r
curtain calls, alternating character for
each bow.
"The Mask Maker" is probably Mar-
ceau's most imitated expression of the
contrast between' inner and outer
selves. The title character tries on
some of his wares and manages to get a
smiling mask stuck to his face. He can-
not remove it and reveal his true self
until the moment of his death.
Marceau consistently depicts man in
some way stifled or trapped by the cir-
cumstances of his life. In "Laziness,"'a
character gets so tired out from going
through the daily trivialities of waking,
dressing, going out, opening an um-
brella, and walking that he im-
See MARCEAU, Page 8

each of these renditions was a bit
lacking, they more than made the
point that most of the original magic
of each of these tunes was ; pure
The major songs of the evening
were certainly not surprises-"Good
Times," "Dance, Dance, Dance
(Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," "Le
Freak," "Everybody Dance," and
so on and so forth. As they reeled out
each one, making it sound as fresh
and impeccably performed as the
day you first heard it, it seemed that
Rodgers and Edwards could easily
go on the road as a two-man greatest
hits of disco show.

But that same sort of easy
professionalism is what will keep
them from becoming just another
oldies show. They never once in the
entire evening let their smooth per-
fectionism border over onto man-
nered slickness. No, the instant
classics penned by, these wun-
derkinder will never go stale as long
as they keep playing them the way
they did Thursday night. I'm not one
to hand out free commercials, but
thanks to Les harvey Productions
for putting on another fine, un-
derappreciated show. It's not every
day that an act as fine as Chic grace
our town.

Spyro makes their point

By Ben Ticho
PYRO GYRA'S Thursday night per-
formance at Hill Auditorium proved
one thing beyond all doubt; the group
has a devoted following, one par-
ticularly well-suited to its brand of
high-energy, if ultimately unsatisfying,*
musical pyrotechnics.
A lot, of people really like Spyro
Gyra-they are delighted by the way
the six-member band blends the
'sophistication' of jazz with the easily
grasped sounds of (largely commer
cial) rock (with a bit of salsa mixed in).
Such a combination may sound ap-
pealing, or at least intriguing, and

Spyro Gyra's propulsion to the national
music scene in the mid-to-late Seven-
ties was welcomed by many as the
beginning of a new jazz form.
As displayed by the Thursday show,
however, the true result of such fusion
is a curious ambivalence, straining to
be two things at once, and covering the
inevitable weal links with a barrage
of electronics, volumn, and flash.
Spyro Gyra opened the show with the
title cut from their third album, Cat-
ching the Sun, immediately displaying
both their strengths-mainly Jay
Beckenstein's saxophone expertise and
a consistent, rocking beat-and their
flaws-a tendency to overplay and
Instead of emphasizing the beauty

and innovation of the melodies and
rhythms, the group covered "Catching
the Sun" and ensuing numbers with an
overabundance of electronic mush and
by-now outdated guitar riffs. Tom
Schuman's persistent synthesizer, con-
tributing little but extra sound, proved
especially annoying over the course of
the evening, as the listener tried (often)
vainly to tune into Beckenstein's sax.
The program featured several selec-
tions from the Buffalo-based group's
upcoming album, the sixth since its in-
ception in 1975. "Let's exit," an upbeat
piece conceived by Schuman, and "All
For You," written by guitarist Chet
Catallo, did not fare quite as well as
Beckenstein's "Just For Now," which
displayed the artist's ample sax talents
in solos of creativeand unhurried
The concert really began to move
following Danny Walker's superb bass
solo, running all over the frets, in-
dulging in infectious rhythms and a
bizarre bullet-style of plucking.
Some of the best sounds of. the
evening, curiously enough, went down
in the slow-moving ballads-"Autumn
of Our Love" and "Industry"-with
Beckenstein's solo sax rising im-
pressively (and thankfully) over
background percussion and syn-
The group's attempts at faster-paced
rockers succeeded most toward the end
of the concert, repeatedly rising a very-
enthused audience to its feet.
All in all, it was a 'nice' performan-
ce-they made their point. Spyro Gyra
has some excellent and even
progressive ideas; it's time for the
band to rid itself of the extraneous gar-
bage which only glosses over the music,
obscuring its interesting and exciting

Daily Photo by Josh Kaplan
Sean Mulroney and Rob Nathan will be performing tonight at the U-club for
Michigras festivities. This is a return performance for them, and will
feature songs from James Taylor, The Eagles, Cat Stevans and others.

UnvesityActivities Center
SUPERSTAR, every movie on campus
(for one year).. .

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