Reeve Carney

FIRST ACT NO; SECOND ACT A GO -- We finally ventured forth into Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark last night at the Foxwoods Theatre and found a show, while particularly interesting on several fronts, literally hanging by a thread in the first act; re-bounding promisingly in the second, but overall, a show that sort of reboots the whole Spider-Man myths rather poorly. Sad to say, but, most of the reviews were spot-on. There's really not a show here, but rather, a wonderful series of images and sets by the visionary Julie Taymor; who, depending on what story you choose to believe, either was the victim of a horrible artistic-meltdown, or unceremoniously fired from the show. Wherever the truth lies, her work, her vision … is nothing sort of breathtaking and tremendous. The weaving sets seemingly bounce up and down, but come together at every corner; let's say it now, her work (be it the wonderful Lion King still on the boards; or the movie Across The Universe) is unique, special, and magical. Dazzling to a fault … that, is really the essence of this poorly plotted show: creating a miasma of sound and vision. The whole flying portion of the show is really in only a handful of scenes. Honesty, all the wires, pulleys, and harnesses … make it seem far less magical than it sounds like on paper. Let's face it: man doesn't fly … and, unless you fortunate enough to be able to have CGI in your show or movie, it don't work! Case closed. Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spidey is just adequate. I got the distinct feeling he is a fine performer, but, clearly in the wrong show. Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson … again, tremendously capable, but this is not the right show for her either. The SM myths differs dramatically from both the original comic as well as the three SM movies … and, here again, I completely don't understand why that was done. It was one thing to twist it for the movies, but here, why twist it again? Truth be told, the original rendering of the comic was so long ago, I have trouble now even recalling now the exact facts. Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin is the star of the show. The campiness he exudes is not only tremendous, but exactly what this lumbering shows needs. The music is a mystery all together; sure, they're some dynamite songs, with “Rise Above” and “Picture This” standing heads and tails above the rest, but where do songs like “A Freak Like Me Needs Company” and “Sinestro” come from? I just saw Bono and The Edge on David Letterman last week, where they confessed some misgivings about the songs … boy, they ain't kidding. I like U2 … I really do, but the majority of these songs couldn't even make it on radio. I really rather surprised. And, the scene where the Goblin tried to make a phone call and is constantly put on hold, the music that comes on during the waiting is U2's “Beautiful Day.” Funny? Not really. Actually quite sad and tacky. The audience was packed with tourists and with ticket prices starting at $149.00 and up (and, t-shirts for $40.00) ; someone is raking in the cabbage. I still contend that once this behemoth was proposed and signed, sealed and delivered; they had no choice but to move on with the production. At times the whole event reminded of Paul Simon's Capeman which was literally sliced-and-diced by the critics when it first came out. Ten years later, it was re-imagined and everyone loved it. The only difference between that show and this one, is that Simon's show had a real story and a passion for telling it. Here … no way. Barren, banal and not beautiful. Broadway ... beautiful, but a beast through and through. One final thought: The place was packed with tourists ... who talked throughout the show. Do they not know manners? I was flabbergasted! Really, very tacky folks!


Think heavy metal guitar is a thing of the past? Guitarist Kyoji Yamamoto hasn't been in the U.S. since 1978 (with his then-band Vow Wow) and is now set for two shows in New York City on Saturday, September 24 at Klub 45 in midtown Manhattan. Appearing with him will be Karl Wilcox, drummer for the legendary Brit-band Diamond Head. Says Kyoji, “I will take you all to a different dimension of the instrumental guitar world.” We've been listening to his song “The Story of A Little White Whale,” on his recent album release via City Boy Records: Voyager ... and, its brilliant! It's sort of like Emerson, Lake and Palmer all over again – "Karn Evil 9" … remember that delicious track? City Boy's Bruce Pegg is very excited, "A show like this will be really well received, no question. Kyoji is excited and will put together a spectacular presentation., It'll be history in the making for sure!"


Ringo Starr

GOT TO SAVE BANGLADESH --- From our colleague Roger Friedman comes word of the 40th Anniversary of George Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh. Back in 1971, Harrison and friends (Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Bill Pretson, Bob Dylan) launched the show which paved the way for the co-called charity concert. I remember several years back when I received the brilliant DVD of the show; sure, it was somewhat dated, but just an amazing assemblage of talent, led by the canny Harrison. Itunes is showing the film for free from July 30th-August 1. That summer of 71, as Roger reminds, was also the summer of Paul McCartney's great second solo album Ram. My favorites from the concert, were Harrison and Russell singing “Beware of Darkness,” Harrison's own“Wah Wah,” “Something,” and the songs with Dylan, with Russell on bass and Starr on Tambourine. Also stellar, his “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with Clapton on guitar. Brilliant! Btw: I still have my original vinyl version of the concert on Apple Records; a treasured collectible for sure. If you've never seen this, this is one for the books.

Photos By: RD/Kirkland/Walter McBride/Retna