The Michigan Daily Thursday, November 21, 1991 Page 5
Seattle band is'
glad to be 'Alive'
by Scott Sterling
lights is Big Big Fun
by Tami Pollak
L ANSING - It was one of the
first nights of the Red Hot Chili
Peppers tour, and the opening band
Pearl Jam, Seattle's latest export
- was starting to work magic. As
the band roared into the anthemic
"Alive," from its debut - album,
Ten, Vedder flung his tiny body
into the crowd, swimming across
the ocean of hands beneath him.
Before the show was over, he had
scaled the balcony, catwalking
along the edge.
After the show, people were ex-
citedly talking about what they had
just witnessed. There was the same
buzz in the air that I'd imagine one
would feel after seeing U2 for the
first time back in a pub in Ireland.
Vedder, along with guitarists
Stone Gossard and Mike McCready,
bassist Jeff Ament, and new drum-
mer Dave Abbruzzese, created a
feeling of intimacy one rarely expe-
riences at a concert. There was a
sense that this was something spe-
I got the same feeling talking to
Vedder, who radiated a genuine
warmth that is literally hypnotiz-
"I love this music," he said.
"The fact is that by the end of the
songs, and even a lot of times during
the beginning, I'm, like, fully hyp-
notized. This music has hypnotized
me right from the start, when I first
got this tape from Seattle through
my friend Jack (Irons, former Red
Hot Chili Pepper and currently of
Eleven) that was nothing but the
music. There was something about it
where I could lose myself."
After listening to the instru-
This time, they're not only making jokes, they're making a statement.
Just when you thought Comedy Company's big shows couldn't get
much bigger, this season's presentation, bright lights Big Show, could top
"How big is it?" asked veteran cast member Tom Cohen. "It's just BIG
- but it's not size that counts, it's what you do with it."
What this year's nine member cast does with it is take a heaping spoon-
ful of silly shtick - a matrimony between a man and his ice cream cone ("I
love rocky road." "Oh yeah? Then why don't you marry it?") - and stir it
amongst some refreshing social satire -a Supreme Court hearing for the
judges' new barber ("...and, if you don't mind me asking, sir, have you ever
broken one of those unbreakable combs?")
Head writer Scott Arciniegas said there was a big push amongst the
writing staff to bring in some new types of material, "although we didn't
let it get completely partisan."
Perhaps the most poignant "political" jab comes in a skit called the
"United States of Bob" - in which an invasion of the Freemont's home
parallels Columbus' tromp over the new land, in which the "Native
Bobs," as politically correct lingo would have it, are forced to live in their
own bathroom. "Of course, you'll have very low property taxes," Bob,
played by company newcomer Andrew Saks, quips.
While most of the sketches have found legitimate endings, a problem
with most sketch formats, what is still noticeably missing from the show
are decent women's roles.
First time Comedy Companiers Amy Cook and Roxy Font join veteran
Deborah Grayson in playing some very small, and stereotypical, characters.
Font plays a child more than once, Cook is thrust into a two-line mom
stint and Grayson, whose talent shines through as a deranged math teacher,
also finds herself stifled in small walk-ons.
Although the three women seize the spotlight as 1-900 phone sex stars
who donate all proceeds to anti-pornography and pro-choice organizations,
Cohen, who wrote five of the sketches along with Matt Price, admits that
the women's roles are weak.
"Men write more sketches, maybe that's part of it," Cohen said. "When
I write, I write what I relate to ... I do try to write some gender unspecific
character - senators, store clerks - but there's not as much you can do
with a character when you don't know if it's going to be a man or a
Equality aside, director Mike flieden and co-producers Joshua Berg and
Valerie Edelman, along with a strong cast, have put together a funny show,
a substantial show and, as Blieden said in rehearsal remarks to his cast, "a
big, big show."
BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG SHOW begins tonight at 8 p.m. in the Lydia Men-
delssohn Theater and runs through Saturday. Tickets are $3.50 tonight, $5
for Friday and Saturday, and are available at the door or in advance at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office. Call 763-TKTS for more info.
Pearl Jam is aloof and cool and totally with it, man. They are alive, and they are (from left to right) Stone
Gossard, Eddie Vedder (front), Mike McCready (back), Jeff Ament, and Dave Assruzzese. Jam on, dudes.
mental jams by Gossard and Ament
on that tape, Vedder sent it back
with words, as a.group of complete
songs. One of these songs was
"Alive," a piece which obviously
means a lot to Vedder and the band.
"When we're playing that song,
watching all the people with their
arms raised, singing the words back
to you, seeing what it means to
them, is really intense," he said.
"Even for me, the song has so many
different interpretations. Some-
times life can be very much a burden,
even though I'm enjoying it right
now. In all honesty, I realized this
the other night standing on the side
of the stage. I'd just been in the
crowd, stage-diving during the Pep-
pers, and now I was back on the side
of the stage, like two feet away
from Flea as he sang background vo-
cals, and I was thinkin', 'I'm the
fucking luckiest man alive.' Fifty
shows with these guys, and I get to
play basketball with them and
stuff. What a rush, you know?"
But Vedder also admitted that
the song, like real life, has a dark
"The fact is that in a lot of these
cities, I see the shittiest things," he
said. "In Portland, we saw a shoot-
ing right before we went on. What
happened was, before our shows, I
lock myself in the back of the
equipment van to warm up. While
I'm in there, these shots rang, three
shots. I press myself to the floor,
and I could hear this guy screaming
for help. When they finally let me
out, a crowd had gathered around
this guy whose leg is bleeding.
Earlier, I also saw this woman get
assaulted by this sort of gang ... So
I'm thinking, 'Jesus Christ, now I'm
supposed to go onstage and sing
about being happy to be alive ... you
know, I wasn't happy. Why is life to
some people such an invaluable
thing?" Vedder's voice drifted
downward, as he seemed to be pon-
dering the answer to his own ques-
"Life is such a fucking amazing
thing," Vedder said, "and we can do
so much with it if our heads are in
the right places." He then asked if
I'd read the Pearl Jam feature in
Rolling Stone. In the article, the re-
porter recalls Vedder's attempt to
climb outside of the guard rail of
Seattle's famed SkyNeedle, a to-
wering skyscraper. The terrified
reporter begged him not to after she
realized he was serious.
"I was trying to prove the point
about life, getting the most out of
it, and what an intense experience it
would be," Vedder said. "I was to-
tally confidznt that I could do it."
Vedder's eyes glowed with excite-
ment as he recalled the scenario
"But the night before we went
on tour, me and one of the guys that
works with us went back up there,"
he continued. "There were a few
other people around, but not many.
The cables that she (the reporter)
mentions pull apart about six
inches. I wasn't sure I could actu-
ally get out there, but I really
wanted to. It was really windy, but
that was it. It was do or die. So I
went for it. I totally busted out on
See JAM, Page 7
Evita's got to express herself
by Sue Uselmann
From the moment that it was first
introduced as a cast album years ago,
Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim
Rice's Evita was a success. The
duo's previous hit, Jesus Christ
Superstar, prompted the well-
known Hal Prince to take the musi-
cal over as a project and introduce it
to the London stage. Evita was, of
course, a smashing success, even be-
fore it came to Broadway to become
a critically acclaimed Tony-award
winner. Now Evita comes to the
Power Center, courtesy of UAC and
Evita is a powerful musical
which chronicles the life and the dy-
namic personality of Eva Duarte
(Ellen Hoffman), a poor woman in
Argentina who rises to power and
captivates many people along the
way. Born a bastard child, she takes
money from the rich and gives to the
poor. Working in opposition to the
military as well as the aristocracy,
Evita then finds her support in the
masses, which thrive on her political
prowess, despite the presence of fel-
low power-mongers Che (Danny
Gurwin) and Juan Peron (Steve
Producer Jason Hackner calls the
show "the story of a woman's need
for attention." It should come as no
surprise, then, that Madonna plays
the key role in the movie version,
which is now being filmed.
The producers of Evita, Hackner
and David Gould, as well as director
Matthew Rego, chose the musical
for its challenges. Like MUSKET's
production of Cabaret last year,
"Evita is incredibly demanding,"
Hackner says. Not only does the
show call for a full pit orchestra,
but, "The entire performance is
song. There is no dialogue in Evita
... Its large cast calls for very de-
manding roles," continues Hackner.
For Hackner, an experienced actor
with MUSKET, Evita is an impor-
tant choice for a University produc-
tion. "It is important that we do
show geared toward the University,"
Hackner says. "That is, that we ap-
peal to and have something to say to
the (University audience), especially
in an age where support of the arts is
Hackner furthermore believes that
the University production has the
ability to accomplish more than pre-
vious performances. "We're trying
out new concepts, insofar as we've
taken a slightly different approach by
focusing more on the realism of the
characters and the media-prone poli-
tics, and making a definite correla-
tion with our country today,"
-Hackner is excited about the per-
formance and its immediate popular-
ity at the ticket counter. He calls the
performance full of "surprises," as a
result of the "incredible ensemble -
everyone works well together." "All
biases aside," he declares, "I think
we will see some of the best perfor-
EVITA runs tonight through
Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Power
Center. Tickets are $6.50, $5.50 for
students. Call 763-TKTS for more
Ooooh, those sideburns! Yup,
we're talking about Beverly
Hills, 90210 (9 p.m. Fox, Channel
50 Detroit, Channel 36 Toledo).
Tonight is the exciting "Fatal
Attraction" episode. Emily tries
to get back at drug-crazed Brandon
for dumping her.
And speaking of that raunchy
Fox network, it's safe to watch
The Simpsons tonight (8 p.m.) -
Michael Jackson will not be de-
stroying other people's property
(or playing with his own). This
evening's guest is Aerosmith.
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