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May 09, 1980 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-09

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Page 10-Friday, May 9, 1980-The Michigan Daily
meArts
REQ A T CRISLER
One stop on an endless tour
By MARK COLEMAN IT'S IMPORTANT that REO Speed- But when this venerable musical stage-all before the band had played e
The success of REO Speedwagon is wagon sound pretty much the same now vehicle rolled into Crisler Arena Wed- note. After that the group put on wha
proof positive that perseverence will as they did in 1976, or1972 for that mat- nesday night one might have thought it could be termed 'a tight, well-paced
ultimately pay off-even in the face of ter. Consistency and dependability are the second coming of the Beatles. The professional show.' "This is the las
absolute mediocrity. Like their mid- marketable commodities; one can get predominantly high school aged crowd night of our tour and we wanna go wile
western bloodbrothers Styx and Kan- to like anything after hearing it often stood on their seats, flicked their tonight!" lead singer Kevin Cronir
sas, REO made the transition from enough. disposable lighters and even rushed the asserted, but after a few tunes i
filling out record bins to filling up spor- seemed more like the band was or
is arenas sometime in the sleepy mid- automatic pilot.
seventies. They've stuck pretty con- This is the prototypical bar band
sistently with the same melodic hard- pleasurable in the most predictable anf
rock sound that originally established pedestrian manner. Kevin Cronin sing
them on the bar circuit. It's not that in the kind of post-adolescent whin(
they are bad, just indistinguishable. that sounds "pretty" through droning
Even their hits ("Riding the Storm feedback and a head full of whatever'.
Out," "Keep Pushing On") strike a on tap. His simple melodic construct
chord of totally anonymous familiarity, contrast with guitarist Gary Richrath'.
a vaguely unsettling sort of rock and heavy metal bludgeoning to form thi
roll deja vu. basis of whatever people find com
What sets REO apart from the pelling about this band. Richrath'.
thousands of other groups of similar in- simplified Hendrixisms and unstruc
tent and talent is monumental per- tured, stacatto r and b riffs seemed tc
sistence. Since their first release way be the highlight of the show for mosto
back in 1970, they've produced a stream the audience. It's a shame that most o
of virtually interchangeable albums these people are too young to remem
that are really just vinyl supplements ber Grand Funk in their prime; com
to their live show-an act polished over pared to Richrath's tepid solos Marl
ten years of constant gigging. These Daily Photo by DAVID HARRIS Farner's self-indulgences were works
guys have toured so much it seems ob- Lead guitarist Gary Richrath of the group REO Speedwagon caught in mid- of genius.
sessive, whether or not one takes their
press release quote about "often swoon Wednesday night at Crisler Arena. This show marked another of the THAT'S my maor problem witi
playing hreegsin ee cti oe many midwestern performances that have built up a strong following for this REO; I remember the early seventies
playing three gigs in three cities in one . ifluences that they have derived their

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style from a little too clearly, and the
modern-day approximation of "hard
rock" just doesn't cut the mustard. The
Speedwagon seems to be caught in a
time warp, a netherworld where
singers will always have shouldr-length
shags and pout effeminently alongside
their guitar players. where syn-
thesizers will always be played like
souped-up electric organs, where fog
and flash pods never fail to excite. If
they tried anything interesting or
original, I wouldn't complain, but REO
Speedwagon seem intent on recycling
the musical by-products of the last
decade ad naseum.
So what do people find so appealing
here? Perhaps today's teenagers have
come to emulate the music of their
older brothers and sisters in the same
way we took to the music of the sixties.
A rock and roll generation weaned on
Led Zep and Deep Purple can't be ex-
pected to be too open minded, but I'll
take the brash progeny such as Van
Halen over seasoned hacks like REO
Speedwagon any day. Rock and roll is a
matter of convenience, not a conviction
for workmanlike bands such as REO.
They openly view themselves as a
purely commercial venture and a dam-
ned successful one at that. I have
nothing against capitalism but when an
artist (or musician) evaluates his work
in purely financial terms sonething is
terribly wrong.
REO Speedwagon went through their
well-rehearsed motions and the audien-
ce's jubilant reaction seemed about
equally spontaneous.-So be it. But why
did this "major event" take place
anyway? Even if it had taken place
during the school term, I seriously
doubt that many more college students
(whom MEO supposedly work for)
would have attended. Probably no more
than were at ZZ Top, John Denver, or
Ted Nugent. But as I said before, I've
got nothing against capitalism. Maybe
MEO has made enough money by now
to try something a little daring (and
more reflective of student tastes) next
year like the Talking Heads showbpck
in the fall o * )8 or, heaven forpid,
bring a major black artist to town'

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A 24 hour nigntmare oftewrror:
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RESTRICTEDO M 5%CLWBYPMUS ~iCTCURES CORPORATON ALL RIGHTSRSRE
UR 17 R UNREUACCOMPANYIN THE MOVIES AT BRIARW OOD :"'l_____«
START S TODAY . A AND /LY. , } cIitQ¢U 2

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