Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 20, 1989
BY MICHAEL PAUL FISCHER
FANCY lighting, elaborate set-designs, big hair...
Joe Jackson doesn't need any of this stuff to put over
his tunes on stage (usually). Instead, the man employs
his killer instrumentalists in the most essential tactics
through which a live show can offer something excit-
ingly different from studio records: his no-overdubs-
Live 1980-86 album, even without the visual imme-
diacy, reads like a textbook example of how to manipu-
late an audience's sense of surprise by reshaping old fa-
vorites into imaginative new arrangements and juxta-
posing their variety in clever ways.
, ,His new album, Blaze of Glory - played in its
hour-long entirety midway through Monday night's
,ousing two-and-a-half-hour, 25-song show at the Hill.
Auditorium - itself exploits an ebb-and-flow sequence
toa concert-like effect. And although its predictable se-
quence encountered some restlessness during the tour's
earlier New York shows (the Englishman Jackson's
adopted home-city), the Blaze set comes across surpris-
ingly well tonight before a less-demanding crowd of JJ
enthusiasts. Joe Jackson isn't going to have to try too
bard to win over this crowd. But his show characteristi-
cally offers some interesting gambles - some are hits,
Throughout, a celebratory looseness and sense of
humor inform the antagonistic sarcasm of Jackson with
the audience, as well as some side-splitting sight gags:
"There 's always some fucking rock critic," complains
Jackson in his introduction to "The Jet Set," Big
World's '60s-secret-agent style guitar twanger, "who
has an interpretation of this song as... arrogant" -
and then the gawkish, gangly Jackson does me one
better, donning a quilted beach-cap and garish
sunglasses in a shamelessly funny parody of the ugly
American tourist. The pillow he once stuffed up his
shirt for this song returns to an even greater belly-
laugh in "Nineteen Forever," the hope-I-die-before-I
Innovative performances and
eclectic costuming clashed with
slavery to theme on Monday
number which Jackson dedicates to "all the great bands
that were on tour this summer"; the casually-attired
singer returns to the stage in a sequin-jacket and shiny
plastic leaning-tower-of-hair pompadour, heaving
ing offers perhaps the cleanest concert sound I've ever
heard (the thunderous blast of Gary Burke's drums solo
to "Rant and Rave" sounds enormous).
Following Jackson's elegant piano solo, a big-band-
figure) to cutely cleave the first and second halves of
the Blaze of Glory set with a pleasant interlude. And
while Jackson's banter does help to clarify the album's
loosely conceptual arrangement of songs about youth-
ful enthusiasm and concerns of aging in the thir-
tysomething generation, playing the whole album in
order is nevertheless an indulgence worthy only of a
Pink Floyd album - and even these geezers mixed 'em
up last time around. Sure, every performer wants to
play all his new stuff on its first go at the road -- and
the joyous "Me and You (Against the World)" posi-
tively explodes with live energy - but outside of the
hour-long Blaze set, we get only ten other Jackson fa-
vorites, plus a three-song Jumpin' Jive medley in the
second encore. And this whole attention to theme un-
characteristically saddles the self-effacing spontaneity
which makes a Jackson show so entertaining.
Still, the performances dazzle in the drawn-out con-
text, from synthesist Ed Roynesdal's beautiful violin
solo for "Sentimental Thing," to guitarist Zummo's
gargling turbo-computer sounds on the tongue-in-cheek
"Discipline." And for the textured splendor of the clos-
ing "A Slow Song," I'll take on any of Jackson's audi-
ence-challenging gestures. Joe Jackson figures you're
up to more than just a greatest hits revue, and when
you leave his concert - you feel as though a close
friend has cut through the curtains and all the crap for
just a short while.
to 'The Jet Set,'
sunglasses in a
some fucking rock critic,' complains Jackson in his introduction
Big World's '60s-secret-agent style guitar twanger, 'who has an
of this song as... arrogant' - and then the gawkish, gangly
me one better, donning a quilted beach-cap and garish
shamelessly funny parody of the ugly American tourist.
around his mike stand ' la Robert Plant before being
removed from the stage by medics amidst a lower-back-
The crack players in Jackson's 10-piece band offer a
motley clash of outfits: bassist Graham Maby, a 15-
year sidekick, wears a suit and tie while the diminutive,
manic-guitar-stylist Vinnie Zummo, in tie-dyed. T-
shirt, baggy pants and jogging shoes, has adopted a
New Age-hippie look; and trumpeter Michael Morreale,
stomach poking out of a Giants football jersey, doffs
his Yankees hat to the crowd in a couch-potato-slouch
which belies the intricate beauty of his solo to an
exquisite instrumental version of Night and Day's
"Breaking Us in Two." The stage is arranged out of
high school gym risers and scattered equipment cases.
But the mix is far from sloppy - tonight's engineer-
a-blazin' takes on Body and Soul's explosive "You
Can't Get What You Want ('til You Know What You
Want)" and opens the show with a drum intro and a
four-piece brass blast. Enthusiastic but a bit leaden, it
leaves me longing for the euphoric guitar heroics
through which Tom Teeley replaces the horns on the
live album. A pointless version of "Right and Wrong"
follows - reduced to just Maby's bass and Jackson's
vocals for the first three-fifths; this is revision for revi-
sion's own sake. But "We Can't Live Together" enjoys
the best kind of Jackson translation onto stage, ex-
panded to incorporate the dual blues/techno-screech so-
los of guitarists Teeley and Zummo.
Jackson's invention sometimes proves more clever
than captivating - tonight's version of "Breaking Us
In Two" strangely deletes the touching lyrics in order (I
The Personal Column
MICHIGAN DAILY CLASSIFIEDADS
Doctorate from U of M.
20 Years Experience.
Near Central Campus.
Thursday, Sept. 21
The Brecht Company is holding open
auditions today and tomorrow
(Friday, Sept. 22) for The Breadshop
(1930) at 7-9 p.m. in East Quad
room 126. Audition pieces not nec-
essary but encouraged; design and
crew hands also welcome. For more
information, call 426-5389.
Basement Arts is holding auditions
for Alice in Wonderland, directed by
Aaron Davidman. Sign up in the
"green room" (next to Arena Theater
in FriezeBldg. basement). For in-
formation, call 930-0854 or the de-
partment of drama.
Monday, Sept. 25
Auditions for Long Time Vince
Yesterday, directed by Charles
Jackson, are today and tomorrow
(Tuesday, Sept. 26) at 6:30 p.m. in
2518 Frieze. Prepare a one-minute
contemporary monologue, poem, or
Write with us
prose to be memorized. Sign up for
audition time slots outside 2528
Frieze. Six to eight women needed.
Auditions and Opportunities runs
Wednesdays in the Daily Arts page.
If you have items for the column,
ARE A GREAT
WAY TO GET
For More Info.
UAC's Own coed a cappella singing group
Have you considered
How much do you know
about careers in: .Um
a career in
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September 21 & 22
sign up at meeting
For more info call the UAC office at 763-1107 or stop by 2105 Michigan Union
You can learn more about the variety of career opportunities in the health sciences at
Perspectives on careers in Health. This program will help you identify professional
opportunities through an informal exchange with faculty, staff, and students from the The
University of Michigan Health Science Programs (School of Public Health, School of Nursing,
College of Pharmacy, School of Dentistry, and the School of Medicine.) Please join us for
Perspectives on Careers in Health. All students are welcome to attenid.
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7-9 pm Bursley Library
Refreshments will be served
L ~University of Michigan Health Science Program
COLOR OF MONEY
The "Green" starts at $5.00 an hour.
But there's more!
Earn up to $7.00 an hour.
Enjoy flexible, evening hours.