Tuesday, September 16, 1986
The Michigan Daily
Winston's 'New Direction'
By Rebecca Chung
George Winston is chomping
at the bit.
Most people know him (and
usually love him) for his
unclassifiable music that some-
how is a perfect tonal translation
of thoughts and feelings (music
which the extremely astute
recording companies have
ingloriously dubbed "New Age."
If it's that new, why do people
instantly recognize what
Winston is saying?)
Those who attended his concert
Friday night at Hill Auditorium
heard many of those favorites:
theme from The Velveteen Rabbit;
"Colors," "Woods," and "Long-
ihg" from Autumn; "Rain,"
"Blossom," and "Meadow" from
Winter into Spring;
"Thanksgiving;" and "Theme
and Variations from the
Pachelbel Canon." But they
heard them played differently
than anyone could have
imagined. More importantly,
they didn't hear Winston shine,
they didn't hear him sparkle, they
didn't hear him take the piano
and turn it inside out, until he
started playing things that no
"New Age" devotees would even
look at in a record store. But
maybe they will now.
LANDING ON WATER
At the risk of making an
overly broad generalization, Neil
Young's voice and synthesizers
just don't mix. Fans and critics
alike complained when the
legendary rocker dabbled with
the electronic sounds on Trans,
but just when we thought he had it
licked, Young's back in the studio
with another keyboard sound.
The result is a very irritating
There's a veryreal plain-
tiveness to Neil Young's frail
voice which requires an equally
sincere musical approach. Key -
boards could work well in artistic
moderation, but unfor-tunately,
much of Landing on Water
sounds like a lot of the cheezy
tinkering which occurs in many
disposable synth-pop bands with a
fraction of Young's experience.
"Weight of the World" opens the
album with a jumpy, blaring
keyboard sound which almost
overpowers his over-processed
singing. Somehow, though, one
can still hear his characteristicly
powerful guitar playing, a blast of
his unforgetable Rust Never
Sleeps. The power-chord side of
Young shines thorough again on
the single "Touch the Night,"
where he seems to have tamed the
synth monster and established
what is'probably the most credible,
enduring song of this LP.
Young has gotten very cynical
on the disjointed "Hippie Dream,"
where he tells us thatthe wooden
ships ! are all a hippie dream /
capsized in excess / if you know
what I mean. But just when it
seems he's given it all up he
declares, Just because it's over for
you/ Don't mean it's over for me.
But the cynicism wins on
"Pressure," a throw-away of a
;commentary on Max Headroom,
El Dorados, video jocks, and other
"yuppie dreams." This is really a
low point in Young's career, a
tune of the shallow insight one
would expect from someone like
Billy Joel, if the title doesn't
suggest that, alone.
Landing on Water is a
disappointment which should be
avoided by all but the most curious
fans of Young's tremendous
career. His "hippie days" are
part of his past, whether he admits
it's over or not; but what prevents
his work from living up to those
standards now is his inability to
create equally good music in
these "yuppie days."
ft _ - 1
The most fascinating thing
about the concert was witnessing
Winston's growth as an artist.
Even when he was playing the old
favorites, he was playing them
anew. Autumn and Winter into
Spring only record the bare bones
of the ideas that Winston works
and reworks into those sets of
pieces. Last Friday, he was
embellishing. He was trilling.
He was moving his hands at
lightning speed, and even
reaching into the piano to tweak
the strings whenever he felt like
But unfortunately, even this
didn't seem to be quite enough for
him, especially at the beginning:
"The Velveteen Rabbit" and
"Colors," both typically
disjointed, strained, pushed to
their limits. It was as if Winston
couldn't put his heart into them
because they weren't big enough
for it anymore. It wasn't until he
swung into the eternal crowd-
pleaser by Vince Guaraldi
"Linus and Lucy" (popularly'
known as "the Snoopy song") that
things started buzzing. People
were humming and tapping their
feet in their seats, feeling about
ten at Christmastime and loving
every second of it.
Winston played some more
Autumn pieces afterwards, but
things were different. His down-
of humor (Winston performs in a
flannel shirt, jeans, and socks)
was coming out. And once he
started ripping into "Cat and
Mouse," a piece by the great
"stride" pianist Thomas "Fats"
Waller, there was no turning
back. The audience was able to
hear all the strength, dexterity,
and control Winston had. They
had an even better treat when
Winston brought out a celeste for
his encore, and played a piece
inspired by blues pianist
Professor Longhair: starting on
the celeste by itself, he then moved
to playing celeste with one hand
and piano with the other, finally
turning his complete attention to
the piano. It was theme-and-var -
iations with a vengeance, with
boogie-woogie, ragtime, blues,
and gospel making themselves
For people who will always be
hopelessly devoted to the
"Windham Hill," "New Age," or
whatever-you-call-it music that
made Winston famous, never
fear, even now he is still
composing in that genre--he
played a new "spring" piece
called "Hummingbird," and a
new "summer" piece, as of yet
untitled--and, yes, he still plays
the harmonica at his concerts.
But there's more to George
Winston than that, and it's about
time his reputation reflected it.
ecial student rates
e uniform with regular membership
and politics, and his ramblings
therein are funny, but not in quite
the same way that traditional
comedians are funny. In Father
Sarducci, Novello has created a
unique persona, a more-or-less
regular guy in vestments.
Breakfast is at its best when
Novello plays off that persona.
When father Sarducci points out
that standing next to the Pope is
uncomfortable for him because
his black raiments absorb the
heat, while Il Papa's white outfit
reflects, or when he discusses his
problem with the apparent hy-
pocrisy of the Catholic Church's
allowing the spaying of dogs
while denying humans the same
reproductive freedom, he is
successful not only because he has
hit upon genuinely funny ideas,
but because of who he is- -a
kindhearted idiot savant en
trapped in a confusing and often
But Sarducci loses ground
when he enters more traditional
comedic realms, when he dwells
on material that with minor
emendations could be coming
from any comedian's mouth.
Conversely, the album's final
track, a medley of Beatle songs, is
funny only because a man
dressed like a priest is singing it.
It is clear that Father Sarducci is
funniest when he is saying things
that are almost like what real
clergymen might say.
Fortunately Father Sarducci is
almost-religious enough of the
time to make Breakfast
successful. Forty minutes of
gentle blasphemy is necessary
once in a while.
No one faces cancer alone.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
220 S. Main, Ann Arbor
4 Master Keith Hafner
FOR SEXUALLY ABUSED WOMEN
Therapy Group forming at The Counseling Center for
women students who had sexual experiences with
members of their families or with strangers and who
experience continued problems in living. If you have
any question about your participation in the group
being appropriate, please call. Group size is limited,
and a modest fee will be charged. Group will meet
11/2 hours weekly from September to April.
THE OFFICE OF MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
POWER CENTER, 8 PM.
Tickets at Michigan Union Ticket Office
and all Ticket World Outlets.
HP DAYS ARE
Stop by Ulrich's Electronics
on September 18th
* A Hewlett-Packard Representative*
will be available for questions.
*Free Painters Caps*
(While quantities last)
*Enter to win a $50. gift certificate*
It's good on anything in the store
* Trade-in your old calculator*
It's worth 10 bucks*
*(See details in the store)
BIUOURCOP EN SUN.
330 S. State/Nickels Arcade - 761-6207
Part Time Employment
Evenings and Sundays
School of Education Staff will interview students by phone to call
alumni nationwide for alumni fundraising phonathon.
* Phonathon held Sunday through Thursday evenings
October 5 through November 20
* Callers will be expected to work two calling sessions
Ask to see the new Business Consultant.
It'll change your mind about calculators. Here's why.