10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 18, 1994
Phans catch live Phish,
philling the auditorium
'Full Contact' will blow your
head clean off with excitement
By KARI JONES
It's grand pianos and ukuleles. It's
fourpart harmony without instruments.
It's drums and dogs and pockets of
smoke rising up from a "no smoking
allowed" crowd. You guessed it,
brother, it's another Phish show.
Hill auditorium played host to the
four-man band from Vermont Wednes-
day night for nearly three hours of
"every-genre" music. "Sample in aJar"
started the show off with a blast of
funk, but by the time the show was
over, Phish had covered just about ev-
ery musical style in existence, from
blues to classical piano.
The bulk of the show consisted of
standard tunes, like "Fast Enough For
You," "Axilla" and "Fee." Of course,
with Phish's unique playing style, it's
hard to define any song as "standard."
One moment, band members are har-
monizing the "maybe sot.."in "Stash,"
but only after fifteen minutes of swirly
instrumentals do they pick up the "...
maybe not" and continue on.
These extended jam sessions are
typical of Phish, and actually added to
the atmosphere of the concert. Feeling
drummer Jon Fishman's beats hit hard
and then fade into nothing and listening
to pianist Page McConnell ripple out
music in the presence of strobe lights
and strange clouds of smoke lended to
an experience that only comes from
seeing Phish play live.
When not engaged in epic musical
arrangements, however, Phish did man-
age some surprisingly naked songs,
void of the "thousand notes a minute"
style of playing, and beautiful in their
simplicity. "Lonesome Whistle Blues"
and "Long Journey Home" reveled in
guitarist Trey Anastasio, bassist Mike
Gordon, McConnell and Fishman's
smooth harmonies and classic musical
abilities. A completely a cappella ver-
sion of "Amazing Grace" during the
encore offered another glimpse into the
band's ability to create music out of
Of course, the great thing about
attending a Phish show is that it's not
just about interesting music. It's about
interesting fans. A large group of these
fans set up camp next to Hill Audito-
rium Wednesday night to play the drums
and scare the more conservative uni-
versity students walking to class. (It
may have been shocking to realize that
you can buy a veggie burrito and five
different illegal substances from the
same person, for students who had
never run into that concept before).
While many Phish fans have made
the band a way of life by following
them from show to show, it was sur-
prising to find that these hard-core fans
did not quite make up the majority of
the audience Wednesday night. People
from all walks of life showed up to
groove out on the Phish vibe. One
amusing point in the show came when
a clean-cut, middle-aged man in a yel-
low polo shirt turned around and intro-
Ringo Lam with
and Anthony Wong
camera angles and more vivid charac-
Lam's 1992 tour-de-force, "Full
Contact," lodges itself so firmly over
the top, in fact, that the pure spectacle
of viewing the film overwhelms all of
the senses. But this does not mean that
"Full Contact" resides in the realm of
mere trashy action flicks where Ameri-
can gun-fests like "Rambo" or "Com-
mando" reign supreme. Lam's work
does not lean toward the all balls and no
brains formula like many of today's
glamorized bloodbaths but instead
paints a vulgar picture of a gray world
where the "good guys" are not always
perfect and their actions are not always
Chow Yun-Fat ("Hard-Boiled")
plays Jeff, one of those characters that
would typically be the hero of the ac-
tion film, yet Lam's work doesn't por-
tray Jeff as such. He is a bankrobber
and murders innocent civilians as much
as the next guy. However, he also ex-
torts 10 million dollars for a child who
was burned severely and for whom he
feels responsible. Nice guy, evil cir-
Jeff and his two best friends, Sam
(Anthony Wong) and Chung, plan a
hijacking of an arms shipment with
Sam's cousin Judge, a big Hong Kong
gangster who has a knack for making
guns, bullets and knives magically ap-
pear in his hand. Judge's henchmen -
Virgin, a chain-smoking nymphoma-
niac and Deano, a gigantic brute who
By MATT CARLSON
While John Woo currently pros-
pers as the most well-known Asian
director in the United States, Ringo
Lam continues to outshine every as-
pect of Woo's work. Lam's films ex-
plicitly contain more sex, more vio-
lence, more grimy thugs, more insane
likes to kill - are also along for the
But Judge double-crosses the three
friends and plans to keep the arms for
himself. Chung is killed while Jeff is
left for dead by his best friend Sam,
who joins up with Judge. While Jeff is
recuperating from his injuries (in a'
scene that immediately brings to mind
the "Rocky" series), Sam shacks up
with Jeff's wife, who believes him to
be dead. Needless to say, Jeff comes
back and kicks some serious ass.
Of course, also unlike many action
flicks, Jeff loses more than he gains as
he wipes the evil doers off the slate -
he gets stabbed in his left hand, shot in
his right, he loses his wife forever and,
all of his friends are killed. As Jeff,
Chow turns in one of his finest perfor-
mances ever, other than the ultra-cheesy
thumb-to-tongue motion he does close
to twenty times during the film. Chow
is possibly the best Asian actor work-
ing today, and if he could get a good
role in a major American movie would
have the chance to shoot to stardom.
An action movie must have witty
dialogue, and "Full Contact" delivers.
For example, one dialogue between
two arms dealers goes like this:
Dealer #1: Doing business is like
shitting, you want everything to go
Dealer #2: (With a sly grin) Don't
worry. I won't make you constipate.
But perhaps the most impressive
aspect of the film is Ringo Lam's stun-
ning bullet camera shots. Like the ar
row shot from "Robin Hood," the cam-
era follows the bullet hurling through
the air towards its intended target. But
instead of a tree, the bullets in "Full
Contact" fly through heads and hands
while detailing all of the gory details.
"Full Contact" showcases near per-
fection in its cinematography and cho-
reography of the fights. While the dia-
logue or plot never shines as brightly as.
some of Woo's finest, Lam's work
stimulates and titillates exquisitely,
never letting you down.
FULL CONTA CT plays tonight and
tomorrow night at 7:30 and 9 p.m. in
the Natural Science Auditorium.
Admission is $4.
Phish aren't the Dead of the '90s, they're the Quicksilver Messenger Service.
duced himself as "Cod" and his equally
conservative-looking girlfriend as
"Scout." Hey, Phish is for everyone.
Unfortunately, the general atmo-
sphere of the show was slightly disap-
pointing. It was not general admission
seating, and the idea of security guards
trying to enforce the "no dancing in the
aisles, go back to your seats" idea at
this type of concert was ridiculous.
Some less Phish-familiar fans also put
a damper on the show by continuously
screaming during acoustic sets.
Overall, the music was amazing as
always, however. In the end, I guess
that's all that really matters.
Songs many of us will everhave. Yet, "Songs"
Songs leaves something to be desired.
Epic Records "Songs" is a collection of remakes.
We all know that Luther can sing, Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly,"
and we know that his music is good. BarbraStreisand's"Evergreen,"Lionel
This is what has propelled him to fame Richie's"Hello," and ArethaFranklin's
over the past decade plus. The cuts in "Since You've Been Gone" are but a
"Songs" are no exception to the fact taste of the 13 covers available on this
that Luther has both a great voice and CD.
more musical skills in his eyelash than
In a duet with Mariah Carey -
another music personality whose voice
proceeds her--Luther performs Lionel
Richie's "Endless Love." This song
was a big disappointment because these
twoaren'tsinging toeachother. Rather,
they sound like they're in a competi-
Also, it would be unfair to thesongs'
original performers to say that his re-
makes make the original songs that
much more spectacular. In actuality,
many of Luther's remakes - though
nice - fail in comparison with the
In all my life, I never thought I'd see
Luther Vandross' name splattered
across a collection of remakes.
Throughout his career, he has been an
original artist, creating songs which
attest to his ability to understand the
needs of the ear. Luther singing other
people's songs is in actuality a giant
leap down for him. It's also the greatest
disappointment of "Songs."
There are more than enough
wannabes out there copying the music
of their great predecessors instead of
attempting to create their own master-
pieces. It hurts when a high-caliber
musician like Vandross, who you'd
never in a million years think would
sink to copycatting, does just that.
In and of itself, "Songs" isn't bad.
Luther's singing is good, and the lyrics
(written by other people, of course) are
nice. But, I sincerely hope that this will
be his first and last piece of musical
dubbing when he has so much of him-
self he can still give.
- Eugene Bowen
WASSERMAN AND HARDING AT THE PIG
University of Michigan
School of Music
Thursday-Sunday, November 17-20
Born in the R.S.A.
Theatre and Drama Production
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun
Tickets: $16, $12, $6 students (764-0450)
Saturday, November 19
Women's Glee Club
Theodore Morrison, conductor
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $7, $4 students/seniors
Digital Music Ensemble: "Digital Nature"
Stephen Rush, director
Multimedia music, video, film, and dance collaborations: Paul
Marquardt's MIDI Chair, speech synthesis, 3-D fractals, more
McIntosh Theatre, School of Music, 8 p.m., free
Sunday, November 20
Digital Music Ensemble: "Digital Nature"
See description above.
McIntosh Theatre, School of Music, 4 p.m., free
Michigan Chamber Players
" Ingolf Dahl: Concerto a Tre for clarinet, violin, and cello (Fred
Ormand, Stephen Shipps, Anthony Elliott)
" Jan Bach (b. 1937): "Eisteddfod" Trio for flute, viola, and harp
(Leone Buyse, Yizhak Schotten, Lynne Aspnes)
" Ernest Bloch: Piano Quintet No. 1 (Katherine Collier, Andrew
Jennings, Paula Sokol Elliott, Yizhak Schotten, Anthony Elliott)
Recital Hall, School of Music, 4 p.m., free
Monday, November 21
Michigan Youth Ensembles
" Michigan Youth Chamber Singers (Jerry Blackstone, director):
Handel, Walton, Rutter, and Britten
" Michigan Youth Band (Dennis Glocke, director): Bernstein
Candide Overture, plus Persichetti, Holst, Grainger
" Michigan Youth Symphony (Michael Webster, director): Brahms'
The Asian American Association and
the Offce of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
invites you to
a lecture on
Assistant Attorney General, President of the American Citizens for Justice /
Asian American Center for Justice
-A-t - - A
Friday, November 18
Anderson Room, Union
For more information, call Dave @ 668-7998
In case you're feeling a dearth of sardonic wit in your life, or innovative
musicianship, bassist Rob Wasserman and British alterna-folk gem John
Wesley Harding are playing an acoustic set at the Blind Pig this Sunday.
The former has just released the collaborative album "Trios," incorporatin g
an eclectic melange of musicians ranging from Les Claypool of Primus to
Edie Brickell, clearly demonstrating his renowned low-frequency prowess.
The latter's latest album "Why We Fight" is an insightful work which
conveys the lighter side of life's interpersonal conflicts, going to show that
you can throw things at your loved one and still smile about it. Harding's
reputation for live spontaneity and acoustic glee precedes him (if you're
lucky he may bust out into a soulful, cathartic rendition of Madonna's "Like
A Prayer" - keep your fingers crossed). So, you can go for the
musicianship, the cheekiness or Harding's delectable English accent -
whichever you prefer. Tickets are $12.50 in advance at TicketMaster or
Schoolkid's. Doors open at 7 p.m.
- Josh Herrington