The Michioan Daily
Saturday, April 10, 1982
env wur .y.. ... . - -
By Walt Owen
T'HE B-52's SHOULD never say that
Detroit didn't give them a chance.
Thursday's sold-out performance at the
rand Circus Theatre was attended by
th the optimistic and outlandish.
Some came dressed in the bouffant
hairdos of female vocalists Cindy
Wilson and Kate Pierson, while others
wore the punkish leopard print t-shirts
below their dyed hair. Most were enter-
tained simply watching the passing
fashion parade, but the sloppy stage
show which followed quickly stained
this optimistic flavor.
After waiting through the Bongos, a
warm-up band comprised of four young
men with the obligatory punkish crop-
ped hair and knock-kneed guitar stan-
ces, the crowd was ready to hail
anything that resembled what they paid
fat ,ticket prices to see. The Bongos'
thirteen songs were better suited for the
California surf than for any true punk
spirit. The irony was obvious as they
followed "You're On My Mind" with
"Out of My Drawers!" Make up your
By 9:20, the B-52 s were ready for
their 8:00 performance. Kate Pierson's
screeching "Hiiiiiiii!" introduced the
band and "Party Out of Bounds," a fan
favorite that got the crowd bobbing'
despite the nearly inaudible vocals of
Fred Schneider. The line "Who's to
blame when the, situation doesn't
generate?" sadly foreshadowed what
was to follow. Cindy Wilson sounded
hoarse and distant on "Give Me Back
My Man." This was only the second
song, yet the simplicity of this band was.
becoming embarrassingly obvious as
the- beat blasted the crowd of 2600
Vocalist Schnieder looked lost when
Wilson and Pierson sang - he finally'
grabbed a tambourine and lightly tap-
ped away until it was his turn again.
Guitarist Ricky Wilson, husband to
Cindy, provided the evening's most
uninspired moments. Not once did he
sway from his statesque stance. He
never showed his face; either he was
too embarrassed or he was too engulfed
by the simple chords he inanimately
A feature of the B-52's eurrent tour
are recent additions Ralph Carney on
saxophone and David Buck on trumpet,
the horn section responsible for the par-
tial turn to a funkier rhythm on the
band's recently released third album,
Mesopotamia. Carney and Buck were
one giant question mark. Any riffs they
had which might be called features
were either drummed out by Keith
Strickland or hidden behind the con-
stant beat that managed to keep the
outlandish in a vertical bob.
All six songs from Mesopotamia were
performed. Cindy Wilson and Kate
Pierson provided a nice. alternating
vocal on "Cake," a goofy tune in which
Pierson asks, "You got a pan? Let's get
,this thing in the oven." Unfortunately,
shake-and-bake was pessimistically
forgotten by now. "Deep Sleep" gave
the horns their best shot at the
limelight. Carney and Buck blasted the
rapid-fire jam with spark and vigor,
but when the five founding members
took over, the horns milled aimlessly.
1 If all this sounds hopelessly negative,
please remember that this is the op-
timistic response. The outlandish did
not care about such disappointing
details - they climbed on their seats
and screamed the whole while. They
had the balcony of the decaying gothic
interior actually shaking during their
bouncier moments of Thursday night's
concert. The sadly beautiful gold and
crimson details of the Grand Circus
were not meant for such use; the old
theatre was ready to collapse.
The title song from Mesopotamia
brought a big crowd response.
Schneider finally lost his self-conscious
appearance as he shook in an Egyptian
dance step. Pierson dominated the
vocal exchange with Schneider,
however, as his only comprehensible
line was "I can read the book." Huh?
Pierson's vocals were excellent. She
delivered the off-beat, up and down
lyrics with a personal punch that was
lacking in Schneider's voice.
The band took the eager audience
from outer space to a phone booth as
they sang "Planet Claire" and "6060
842" from their first album. These
caused excitement, as the crowd
responded to the songs with which they
were most familiar. Again the spirit
faltered as Schneider tried another new
release, "Throw That Beat in the Gar-
bage Can." The irony of the title was by
now obvious. Sixty minutes of beaten
The B-52's first encore of "Nip it in
the Bud," a new release, and the fan
favorite "Rock Lobster" was quick
enough. They returned all too soon to
deliver "Private Idaho," the big hit
from Wild Planet. This was the fitting
end to the already disappointing per-
formance: Schneider's hilarious un-
dercurrent vocalizing went unnoticed
behind Pierson's shrieks, and the horn
section was long gone from focus. Even
the outlandish seemed ridiculous at this
point. "Marshe, this thing is starting to
pinch real bad." "Oh, I just love your
har." "Where did you get that doggie
leash?" Sorry guys, Detroit deserved
Jim Garner and Julie Andrews: Lovers, of a sort, in Blake Edwards' Victor/Victoria.'
What's w.rong with un?
By Richard Campbell '
C AN A WOMAN find success and
happiness posing as a man who
poses as a woman in 1933 Paris? The
question is a little academic, for Vic-
tor/Victoria is the kind of slapstick,
comedy that defies any connections
with reality. This movie was made
purely for entertainment. To .Blake
Edwards' credit, the film has enough
laughs, songs, and simple fun that allow
it to be nothing more or less than that.
Edwards, director of such other films
as Operation Petticoat, Breakfast at
Tiffany's, 10, and all those Pink Pan-
ther films, has used his same formula
of mistaken identity, mistaken motives,
and absurd free-for-all humor to get
away with another farce. -
His comedic style never seems to
change. Every one of his films has the
same scene: characters enter a
bedroom surreptitously, and, after the
true inhabitants return, must exit the
room without revealing their presence.
It is a simple joke, but one that Edwar-
ds knows how to use. What does it mat-
ter that a lot of the fun in the movie is
trite, when it's all put together so well?
The film stars Julie Andrews as Vic-
toria a coloratura soprano, down-on-
her-luck and out-of-a-job, who becomes
friends with Robert Preston, a down-on-
his-luck and out-of-a-job homosexual
nightclub singer. Together they decide
to unveil the perfect drag queen, Victor,
who is in reality a double-drag queen:
Victoria passing as male by day so she
can become a male passing as female
Naturally, unparalleled success
follows the two; never have Paris
audiences been treated to such a per-
fect transformation. As you can
imagine, the plot thickens (and gets a
lot funnier) when James Garner,
playing a Chicago gangster, Talls in
love with Victoria, but becomes con-
fused when he finds out that she is
really a he.
Much of the humor of this film comes
from the already mentioned old jokes of
Edwards' repertory. Some find this
style boring, but for the most part the
actors' presence is .strong, enough to.
carry off the farpe succesfully.
In particular, Robert Preston
displays his considerable talents as the
aging singer with an unquenchable wit.
He handles his role with deft ease,
never falling into caricature, and
always allowing his good humor to rise
to the surface. His finale, where he
sings and dances a Spanish love song,
captures the mood of the entire film: he
plays to the audience at the cabaret and
to the screen audience, never forgetting
that his role is all for the sake of enter-
If Victor/Victoria has a message, it is
that everyone should get along, regar-
dless of sexual persuasion. That theme,,.,
takes up about 2 minutes of the movie,
then it's back to an Andrews' song, or to
slapstick, or to simple contrivance.
Edwards has never pretended to be a.
serious director. This film, one of his,
best in terms of production, is out to
make audiences smile. There's nothing
wrong with that point of view and very
li je wrong with Victor/Victoria.
Japan - 'Japan' (Virgin-Epic) emulating Roxy is one of the noblest of
It's hard to tell whether Japan over- pursuits, but I hardly see how Japan's
or underestimated themselves. What's paint-by-number xerox system does
clear is that they misunderstand Roxy justice. To my mind, records like
themselves in a major way. Their first.Yukihiro-Takahashi's Neuromaticand:,
two LPs, Adolescen Sex 'and Obsure._.tHehry aadosk.i sIfeIs a.ran6 ..
Alternatives, were ingenious batard are mueh trueitto the original spirit of
hybrids of David Bowie and The New Roxy Music. These albums evidence
York Dolls, with. lead singer David the sort of wildly wicked inventiveness
Sylvian somehow coming off as both that seemed to get knocked out of
bitchier than Bowie and bluesier than Roxy's sails when Eno was jettisoned.
Johansen. To be sure, those records But Japan have chosen a particularly
were somewhat flawed, but they still cut and dried phase in Roxy's
promised a lot. Japan proves that the chronology to recycle, so their
three import albums in the interim may imitation only seems to mummify it
well be a basis for a breach of contract more.
suit. Of course, the nice way to look at this
This - American collection of songs record is that it gives us a real im-
from those three LPs is, without a pression of where Roxy Music would be
doubt, one of the most flawlessly
played, produced, and sung records
I've ever heard. And yet somehow, it's THE MC
still mostly unstatisfying. I think its 194 & s. STATE
only fault lies in its conception. It seems1 & T
that Japan have developed a near-fatal * DAILY EARL
preoccupation with Roxy music (just DISCOUNT IS FC
prior to their split, say Siren and Coun- * Mon. thru Sot. 10:00 A.M. 'til 1:3o P
Now don't get me wrong;_.I think Tuesday Discount-All so
B1rgain Shows $2.50 Refore 3 PM
today if they hadn't taken a wrong turn
on Manifesto and ended up in
Nowheresville for Flesh + Blood.
Japan. is Roxy's basic style-as-
sM10tance stuff With a lot of the Third
,World rhythmic olnpLexity that they.
certainly would have borrowed frm
Byrne and Eno.
So, within the limitations of the death
warmed over style that Japan have
elected to adopt, Japan is a fine album.
I'm sure it will find it's way to my tur-
ntable now and then. However, I'll
probably spend all the time that I'm
listening to Japan actually thinking
about Roxy Music and wishing they'd
get it back together enough to give us
some of the real thing.
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