The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From...
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In a career chock full of "you've never seen him like this" moments, you've never seen David Bowie as you will in A Reality Tour. The rock legend and his ace band blaze through stunners ... See full summary »
The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud'/'All The Young Dudes'/'Oh! You Pretty Things', a Lou Reed cover, and a Rolling Stones cover are but some of the highlights. Written by
RCA requested that many references to, mostly, death and suicide in Bowie's lyrics should be bleeped. Pennebaker gave way. But he only bleeped the mono-sound negative, while the stereo film print and soundtrack remained non-bleeped. See more »
Don't come expecting plot: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is just a concert film, recorded at the last show of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" tour at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, July 3rd, 1973. However, to say it's _just_ a concert film doesn't quite cover the bases... Let's be blunt: if you like the idea of the 26-year-old Bowie in a skimpy satin tunic and boots, growling into a microphone and spreading his thighs for the fans, then you're going to love this film. If that idea does nothing for you -- and, frankly, if it doesn't then I think you're missing one of life's great kicks -- then you're not the target audience.
I should add that there are also five or six costume changes, some amusing backstage conversation, plenty of shots of the audience (apparently mostly fourteen-year-old girls in varying states of sexual ecstasy), and some rather scorching extended solos from lead guitarist Mick Ronson. Oh, yes: and I shouldn't forget to mention that Bowie's showmanship is amazing and the musical performances range from interesting to excellent -- there's a truly fabulous version of "Cracked Actor," for instance, with Bowie maintaining a surprising level of fierceness while playing harmonica and draped in a satin kimono.
Beyond the music -- "Ziggy" staples like "Changes," "Space Oddity," "My Death," "All The Young Dudes," etc., as well as covers of the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend The Night Together" and Lou Reed's "White Light, White Heat" -- the visual imagery is what really makes this interesting. The come-hither hip-shaking of "Moonage Daydream," or the guitar-sex-flavored performance of "Time" (with Bowie in unitard, garter and feather boa), all make this a fantastic education in what Bowie's original aesthetic -- and sex appeal -- were all about.
Personally, I think this is a _Gesamtkunstwerk_ -- that is, a total work of art -- and should probably be beamed into outer space for the aliens to have fun with. But you can probably figure out which segment of the audience I fall into.
P.S.: By the by, Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine made a hell of a lot more sense after I'd seen this film.
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