Alarm, or, on occasion, Bono Vox of suct
By Alan Paul
Second City Touring Company
The Michigan Theatre
8 p.m., $8.50-10.50
J oyce Sloane has a unique
perspective on campus life. She
knows what makes students laugh.
Sloane has worked for the Second City
Comedy Company for 25 years and
founded the National Touring Com-
pany in 1967.
"Campuses are very visibly more
conservative now," Sloane said. "We
have a song called 'Much Better Off'
which is a parody of Reaganomics.
College students don't laugh at it
However, the Company, which will
appear at the Michigan Theatre on
Saturday, November 9, still takes
"We have a song called 'America'
which is an Up With People type of
parody. It really goes after student
apathy. Sometimes it doesn't go over
- maybe it hits too close to home. But
we still usually go with it."
Second City, which began in a
Chinese laundry in Chicago in 1959,
created an art form whose impact on
theatre, television, and performers is
still strongly felt. Clive Barnes wrote
in the New York Times in 1969: "The
entire recent tradition of American
theatrical satire can be summed up in
three words: 'The Second City!"'.
Alumni include: Alan Arkin, Dan
Akroyd, John Belushi, Bill Murray,
Gilder Radner, Joan Rivers, and John
Candy as well as scores of writers,
directors, and other behind-the-scene
figures of all aspects of the perfor-
Chris Barnes, 25, is inspired by the
high success rate of alumni. Barnes
has been a member of the National
Touring Company for a year.
"It's very exciting," Barnes said.
"This is very valuable training in im-
provization and learning what people
On this, the 25th Anniversary Tour,
the Company is using material en-
tirely from previous shows with the
exception of the improvisation, which
is largely based on audience
"We are doing material performed
and written by the most brilliant
people in this business," Barnes said.
"This is the greatest experience I
could ask for. Every night, we have no
clue what's going to happen. We don't
know what the stage, the lighting, the
audience - anything - will be like."
Second City mirrors what is hap-
pening in today's political and social
arenas. They lampoon our modern
'It's a challenge to sell a million records or more
and do it with dignity, style, and grace. . . to do
it with music that doesn't patronize, doesn't
condescend, doesn't tranquilize.'
By Michael Fischer
SIMPLE MINDS have "Promised
You a Miracle," and they're
coming to deliver it this Monday
evening. The ambitious Scottish quin-
tet, stepping out onto the concert cir-
cuit on the heels of their single "Alive
and Kicking" and a new album, Once
Upon A Time, will share their unique
vision and sound with Ann Arbor
beginning at 7.:30 p.m. at Hill
Auditorium, Monday night.
Leader Jim Kerr and company, af-
ter years of superstardom in Europe
and Australia, seem poised to finally
achieve a breakthrough of popularity
here as they travel about the U.S. and
'Once Upon a Time'
THE SECOND CITY TOURING COMPANY: Only the dog isn't wearing sunglasses.
"We have one foot on the stage and
one foot in the street," Barnes said
with a soft laugh. The touring com-
pany is on the road all year long, fall
and spring being their heaviest
seasons. The troupe appears mostly
on college campuses, which they find
harbor the most receptive audiences.
Despite political conservatism,
students remain "loose" crowds -
ready to laugh and have fun, accor-
ding to Barnes.
"There is really something thrilling
and gratifying about making people
laugh, whether it's 2,000 or 14," Bar-
nes said. "The laugh we give is good
and strong, not cheap."
Everyone who works for The
Second City remains a member of its
growing family of comedians and
satirists. Going away parties are
regularly held for departing actors.
"It's more than a job, it's my life,"
said Sloane, who recently bought into
the Company. "When you devote 25
years of your life to something, it's
very special. It's very rewarding."
Barnes echoes these sentiments.
"It's like being part of a family -
not a theatre company. We (the Touring
Company) have a good chemistry
which is very important on stage. We
really like each other, which becomes
very apparent on the road."
Simple Minds' New LP, Once
Upon A Time, continues in the Scot-
tish band's tradition of unique, ex-
cellent albums. It shares the sub-
tlety and inspirational warmth of
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) and
the expansive, fiery testimony of
Sparkle in the Rain. The Band seems
more at home in the grooves here
than on either of those previous
records; the feel is relaxed and
totally confident, yet inspired.
The band works up a whirlpool of
sound, mixing bright, sharp guitar
lines, smooth keyboard textures,
and eclectic drums, putting the
elements together with skill and a
keen sense of space and timing.
There is an elusive soul beneath
these musical elements; the colorful
sounds formed by the band find
meaning in the imaginative visions
of lyricist and singer Jim Kerr, who
has brought his ideas closer to earth
without sacrificing his unique
spiritual power. It is the fusion of
Kerr's images and the band's newly
focused sound that makes Once
Upon A Time Simple Minds' best
The new album is a collection of
complete and fully realized songs.
The opening track, "Once Upon A
Time," kicks from the very start
with cool drive as Kerr moves into
his world-view with his best singing
to date: Get up to the Mountain
top / I'm going to drop unto the
ground / that's Once Upon A
Time / You raise me up when I
know you're around / And God
only knows / What God only
Charlie Burchill's rising guitar
lines point "All the Things She
Said" skyward as Kerr asks his
love to Throw me to the street
where the heartbeat's beating /
To the peaceful revolution and
the perfect wave / Surround me /
Tell me 'bout the ocean moving
in slow motion / I see it glitter in
the sun then it's freezing in the
But Kerr tempers his romantic
caprice with some necessary social
commentary in "Ghost Dancing,"
where he rises above Burchill's
locomotive guitar strums, telling a
tale of political strife: The car
pulled up / The girl she jumped
in/the Boy he wore a medal that
was shining from his skin ... /
... When the car broke / The
rebels saw smoke / And they all
went to heaven in a stupid fan-
See NEW, Page 9
Canada on a 17-date tour which began
on October 31 in Poughkeepsie, New
The stage for imminent popularity
on this continent was set this spring
by the smash success of their single
from the soundtrack of the Breakfast
Club, "Don't You (Forget About
Me)," which became the band's first
hit on the U.S. pop charts and went all
the way to number one.
After making eight respected
albums, "Don't You" - co-written by
Keith Forsey, who composed the
soundtrack - was only the second
non-original song the Glaswegians
have ever recorded.
Ironically, Universal Pictures
reportedly complained about For-
sey's selection of Simple Minds for
the soundtrack, saying that Forsey
should choose a more sellable band. It
seems appropriate, however, that a
group so recognized for the cinematic
style of its music should find success
with a film soundtrack. Their albums
have been described as "mini-
soundtracks" full of visual images,
and Kerr has said the band's sound is
S IMPLE MINDS make music of
vision and attitude that is rare in
the world of pop music. Last year,
Kerr told Rolling Stone that "it's a
challenge to sell a million records or
more and do it with dignity, style, and
grace ... to do it with music that
doesn't patronize, doesn't con-
descend, doesn't tranquilize."
The first thing you notice about
their music is just how far on the
other side of the spectrum it stands
from the work of performers like
Motley Crue and Madonna. Kerr's
impressionistic lyrics challenge your
imagination, as does the group's
sound, which eschews rock cliches at
every turn. Yet for all their arty
aspirations the Minds rarely appear
pompous or overstated like The
Kerr likes to compare his band with
artists such as Peter Gabriel, the
Talking Heads, and U2. The artists he
likes are "people with a sort of in-
tegrity that you can see pours out of
them, instead of careerists," Kerr
said in an interview with.CBC Radio
this year. "To me," he added, "great
music has a - I don't know what
you'd call it - humility, I suppose."
The group defies classification
almost by nature; they change the
style of their music with every
record, in order to challenge them-
selves. They're too powerful and
proud for Duran Duran's neat-O
"new wave" set, and too precious to
be called rockers.
Spiritual themes often run through
the Mind's ethereal songs. The title
track from the new album proclaims:
You raised me up when I know
you're around/And God only
knows/What God only knows.
Although the band's songs include
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