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Bowie, David: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (DVD)

David Bowie's legendary July 3, 1973 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon was the final performance of the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars line-up of Bowie, guitarist Mick Ronson, future Uriah Heep bassist Trevor Bolder, and drummer Woody Woodmansey. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of what was then billed as Bowie's final live performance, this concert film has been remixed and remastered featuring new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes. Anyone who has seen the original DVD or VHS version will be happy to know that this new reissue is a much better presentation, both in sound and picture quality, although the latter will obviously never be perfect. Let's discuss...

In addition to a batch of classic tunes from the Ziggy album, such as the title cut, "Moonage Daydream", "Suffragette City", and "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide", the band rolls out other legendary songs like "Space Oddity" (complete with Mellotron waves from the mighty white Mk VI sitting on the left of the stage), the rocking "The Width of a Circle", featuring Ronson's snarling guitar manifestations, "Changes", "Cracked Actor', "Watch that Man", "All the Young Dudes" , plus a few more staples as well. Bowie's many costume changes help him live up to the name "rock and roll chameleon", and will appeal to fans of early Genesis, with Peter Gabriel's wide assortment of make-up and costumes. Here though Bowie is the glam king, sparkling and flashy, with his bandmates playing furiously behind him. Ronson is especially loud and wild, as his lead work screams and is dripping with distortion. Fleshing out the band are a few other players who add in some keyboards, reeds, and guitar, although the camera almost never focuses on them so you barely know they are there.

This brings up one of the only complaints you will hear in regards to this DVD. Throughout much of the film, the camera stays pretty focused on close-ups of Bowie, and when the camera is on the whole band the shots seem a bit blurry and out of focus. Also, with the many strobe and colored lights going on that night, many of the camera shots are saturated in whites, reds, and oranges, which can get a tad annoying at times. Mick Ronson was obviously a chore to keep the camera on, as he constantly is running around the stage, beating on his guitar, and at times the work of the camera man trying to pin Ronson down can make you dizzy. The sound for the most part is very good, although Bolder's bass is a little low in the mix, and the keyboards could have been a tad higher up as well. If you dig loud guitar and the theatrical vocals of Bowie though, you are in for a treat.

This stage in the career of David Bowie epitomizes everything about early 70's rock and roll. There's the glitzy flash of glam rock, the pompous theatricality of progressive rock, and the rampaging thunder of hard rock, all rolled into one unique and intriguing style. David Bowie is one of those artists that appeals to all different types of music fans, and this DVD is a great representation of one of his most creative periods. Highly recommended.

Added: January 2nd 2004
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: David Bowie's Official Website
Hits: 2099
Language: english

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