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April 20, 1998 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-20

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e Hopwood Awards ceremony takes place t
awards ceremony honors outstanding writing
John Barth will give the opening lecture. The
some of the finest writing talent this side of t
ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m. at Rackham A
is free.
'Hootenan
By Curtis Zimmermann
Daily Arts Writer
Over the years, trends in popular music have
come and gone, but country music has main-
tained popularity despite the ever-changing musi-
cal landscape. Anyone who doubts the music's
incredible staying power would have been turned
a full-fledged believer Saturday evening
when the George Strait Country Music Festival
came to the Pontiac Silverdome.
The show's four headlin-
ers, Faith Hill, John
Michael Montgomery, Tim
Country McGraw and George
Music Strait, proved that not only
Festival is country a very diverse
Silverdome form of music, but that it is
April 18, 1998 still a growing musical
genre.
In the parking lot before
the show, there was a mas-
sive traveling side show
simply called Straitland,
In this bastion of
American country culture
one could meet Jimmy
Bedford, Jack Daniel's master distiller, get free
samples of GPC cigarettes and Skoal chewing
tobacco, look at the new line of Chevy Trucks,
edance, and even sing all-country karaoke.
Filling this massive area was a literal sea of cow-
boy hats, tight jeans and large belt buckles.
The first featured performer was Faith Hill who
was probably the least country of all the acts.
Most of her songs had more of an adult contem-
porary feel with only the steel guitar bringing
Panel discusse:
creation of
musical geniu
By Christopher Tkaczyk
Fine / Performing Arts Editor
Yesterday marked the world premiere of a ne,
r sical written by Music senior Sam Davis a
goduate student Ron Nyren. "Mina & Colossu
is based upon the life of Mina Loy, a poet a
visual artist who fell in love with boxer / pC
Arthur Cravan during the '20s. The show
directed by Music professor John Nevil
Andrews and is produced by Music Prof. Joa
Morris.
Mina Loy was born in London in 1882 and tra
led throughout much of Europe, includit
Munich, Paris and Florence, before settling in ti
United States. Loy's frien
included Man Ray, Jam
Joyce, Gertrude Stein an
The Making Marcel Duchamp. The st
dents found inspiration fi
of Mina and the musical in the bo
Colossus "Becoming Modern : Tl
1534 Rackham Life of Mina Loy," by form
Today at noon Berkely Prof. Carolyn Burk

Burke arrived in Ann Arbc
Saturday to witness the musi
cal's premiere. Today at noon
Burke, along with Davis at
Nyren, will appear in a pane
discussion about Mina L(
and the creation of the musi
al.
Burke was first introduced to Mina Loy whe
he was studying in Paris in the '70s. "I rea
nany expatriate memoirs and her name was men
ioned over and over. I did some research ar
ound some of her poetry, which I discovered t,
shockingly modern. I became more and mor
i rested," Burke said.
Burke's biography of Loy describes her as
odern woman. "She was a woman trying 1t
hrow off conventions of Victorian age," Burk
xplained. "She was determined to live mor
reely as an artist. She was a political social beir
ebelling against artistic social upbringing."
Mina's life was not entirely glamorous, as he
ove life and career provided for an unhappy exis
ence. "Much of the time Mina was disappointei
Chef k out the) Dahe
htt.ou/ .LbgaI
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oday. This Bi-annual
by students. Writer
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he Mississippi. The
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fomorrow in Daily Arts:
U It's the final Breaking Records of the semester featuring
"The Player's Club" soundtrack.

Monday
April 20, 1998

11

rocks Silverdome

them back across the boundaries. As she sang, she
moved about the stage in a seductive manner,
proving that pregnant women can be still be
incredibly sexy.
She performed all of her hits as well as her new
single, "This Kiss," which had a rather psyche-
delic feel. Two of her best numbers were actually
re-worked interpretations of Leo Sayers' "When I
Need You" and Janis Joplin's "Piece of My
Heart." After a set that lasted nearly an hour, she
left the stage to the howls of a crowd that was
slowly starting to filter in from outside.
Heartthrob John Michael Montgomery
appeared next. He came on stage playing the
upbeat "Be My Baby Tonight." After a few songs
he slowed the pace of the show down playing mel-
low hits "I Swear, "I Can Love You Like That"
and "Angel in My Eyes."
What seems to hurt Montgomery's live show is
not his music as much as the fact that so many of
his biggest hits have been slow songs. Too many
of these plodding singles definitely hurt the
singer's overall performance.
But toward the end of the show he rebounded
back from the part of a quiet balladeer and
became a rocker again. After an intense "Cowboy
love," he changed the pace of the show with the
line dancing anthem "Sold!" But it was not until
after he got the Silverdome worked up in a hoote-
nanny-style frenzy that he changed paces again
with the honkey tonk "Sweet Home Alabama."
During this tune he dazzled the crowd with a final
electrifying guitar solo.
Next up was Tim McGraw, who was recently
named Country Music Television's male artist of
the year for 1997.

McGraw's stage setup featured a two-story
drum riser with a large sprawling stairway, look-
ing more like something out of a Bon Jovi concert
than out of Nashville.
He blasted on stage with a rousing rendition of
"Indian Outlaw." As he played the tune it became
clear why he is one of Country's hottest artist's.
His combination of a little bit of rock 'n' roll and
a little bit of country unfurled in his dazzling on-
stage persona.
Throughout his show, McGraw combined his
older material with songs from his current album
"Everywhere." In addition to the title track, he
played "One of These Days" and "Hard on the
Ticker."
Another thing that stood out during his show
was the lead guitar player in his band whose rifs
seemed to carry McGraw into an new level musi-
cally. After a near flawless set he returned for an
encore and sang the intro to "Its Your Love," the
hit duet with his wife and fellow performer Faith
Hill. It was no surprise that she joined him on
stage for this number, which was both corny and
also mesmerizing.
After Hill left the stage, he closed the set with
"I Want Some More of It," He then left with the
howling crowd screaming the song's chorus, "I
like it, I love it, I want some more of it."
After three amazing performances, George
Strait, country music's reigning king, came on
stage. His style of music was much more tradi-
tional compared to the other performers on the
bill.
Complete with twangy guitars and dueling fid-
dles, he seemed to belt out hit after hit with the
entire crowd signing along to songs about love,

gtourtesy or Warner Bros.
George Strait brought down-home country to the Pontiac Sliverdome this past Saturday.

love lost, rodeos and even a "Song About the
Heartland." What was equally amazing about his
show was his the widespread appeal of his songs,
from the traditional blue grass number "Mama
Tried" to his newest hit "Check Yes or No:' It
seemed like the man could do no wrong.
After a two-hour set, Strait left the stage, thus
ending the Detroit stop of one of the most hyped

mega tours of the summer.
The show was a success because it combined
more established artists such as Strait and
Montgomery with relative newcomers Hill and
McGraw who are just starting to reap the benefits
of commercial success. With the death of
Lollapalooza, this could very well be one of the
nation's premiere touring package.

Whitley proves talent

By Gabrielle Schafer
Daily Arts Writer
Chris Whitley's show at the Magic
Bag in Ferndale was proof both of his
incredible talent and his relative obscu-
rity. Many in the crowd at Magic Bag
had never even heard of Whitley before
coming to the show, but by the end of
his set, the crowd was cheering him
back onstage for encores.
Whitley's opening act, Melissa
Sheehan, was spunky spitfire to
Whitley's cool, mysterious onstage per-
sona. Sheehan was raw and confident,
sounding at times like a young Sinead
O'Connor. Her talent is obvious, even
underneath all the sarcasm she threw at
the crowd.
After Whitley thanked his "smart
aleck" opening act, he played a two-hour
set that captivated the audience. He
shared his signature blend of blues,
country and rock, singing melancholy
songs about love, loss and wanderlust.
He started the set with "Long Way
Around," a track off of his most com-
mercially successful album, "Living
With The Law." Most surprising about
Whitley's performance after listening to
his studio recordings is the incongruity
between his powerful voice and his
diminutive size. In person, Whitley is
slender and shy, keeping his eyes
towards the floor and pushing his hair
away from his face every 30 seconds.
But when his gospel preacher-esque
voice and superb guitar stylings take
over, he seems larger than life.
Between each song, Whitley rotated
between an acoustic guitar, a banjo and
a National Steel guitar. Whitley is most
renowned for his deftness with a
National Steel, an instrument very few
musicians can still play masterfully. His
guitar playing is nothing short of awe-
inspiring, and it is no wonder that it has
brought him critical acclaim.

Playing his guitar, keeping the beat
by tapping a floorboard in front of the
mic, it sounded like Whitley was play-
ing with a full back-up band behind
him. He played with such depth and
variety and his voice was so powerful
that the resulting sound was over-
whelming. It seemed more than one
man could create by himself.
The highlight of the set was
Whitley's a capella version of "Big Sky
Country," as he changed one of his
most recognizable songs in an unpre-
dictable way. Relying solely on the sen-
suality and power of the lyrics, Whitley
had the crowd hanging on his every
word. Women were swooning as
Whitley sang of watching "lovers as
they slip and slide"
"Kick the Stones," which is best

Chris
Whitley
Magic Bag
Aprii 16, 1998

known as the
song played dur-
ing Brad Pitt and
Geena Davis'
love scene in the
movie "Thelma
and Louise" was
another crowd
favorite.
Whitley played
songs from all
four of his
albums, including
his newest
release, "Dirt
Floor." He fin-

ADRIANA YUGOVICH/Daily
Amanda Satchell and Matt Witten star as Mina and Arthur In the musical "Mina and Colossus."

and sad. She may be a role model in the idea that
she was a risk-taking experimentalist. She was a
remarkable poet, a brave woman who I looked up
and to wanted to learn more about," Burke stated.
As for "Mina & Colussus," Burke hadn't seen
any version of the musical until this past week-
end. "I was contacted by John Neville Andrews,
and I thought "This would be so much fun. How
delightful!" Burke exclaimed.
"I was sent the first draft, which I read. I
extremely like the lyrics. (The students) definite-
ly got the spirit in their medium," Burke said. "A
musical is such a hard thing to tell a story with
because factual details have to be condensed. But
'Mina & Colussus' seems right and feels right."

As for Burke's novel, the book has received
wide acclaim. "Many critics have said that this is
a good introduction to the modern art movements
of the '20s. Dadaism, futurism, and surrealism are
all explored. There were many left-wing political
types in that era. My book explains the differ-
ences in the radical political and radical artistic
circles. It gives a lot of help to understand aspects
of modernist art.
- "Mina & Colossus" will be presented tonight
and tomorrow in the Media Union on North
Campus at 8 p.m. Tickets are free, but a reserva-
tion is required through the League Ticket Office
or by calling 764-0450. On Friday it was report-
ed that most of the performances were sold out.

ished the performance with "Loco Girl,"
a slow and quiet ballad about soulmates.
Watching Whitley perform with such
power in front of such a small crowd, it
is clear that his talent isn't fully realized
or fully appreciated. His performance
was completely organic and real. He
gave a performance based on the power
of his playing and his vocals, without
any gimmicks. Whitley proved to the
crowd in Ferndale that he is the real deal.

0

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