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Pop Music Review : Gary Busey And His Good-time Act

October 08, 1987|CHRIS WILLMAN

"What's great about tonight is that I can see everybody, everybody is in focus and I haven't thrown up a bunch of times," announced erstwhile party animal Gary Busey from the Palace stage Tuesday as he celebrated his cleaned-up status, and his first break from acting for a musical performance in quite a while.

You just know that Busey's going to be an animated guy, and he was suitably semi-hyper for the occasion. Busey may have been rocking out in public long before some of the more recent actor/singers like Don Johnson and Bruce Willis, but the attitude is pretty much the same all around: Give the people a good time, which boils down to your basic glorified Malibu bar-band approach.

R&B-flavored party rock was alternated with country-flavored party rock (complete with a synthesizer emulating an accordion on a bayou ballad-- yech ), served by a seven-piece backup band fronted by a Busey who seemed intent on trying too hard.

The good-naturedness of the affair carried the up-tempo stompers, but his enthusiasm was a bit much when he tried to put a melodramatic spin on slow, sweet-but-insipid love songs that didn't survive the first tumble of a verse. Busey is a fine actor, and has the gruff charms of a singer, but he really should avoid acting while he's singing.

Unless, of course, he plans to tackle a real role --like that of the title character from "The Buddy Holly Story," which Busey resurrected for several numbers with a pair of specs and the line "You guys remember these glasses?" An a cappella rendition of Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too" was easily the highlight and a nice respite from all the Trancas tunes.

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