"That bloody Total Blam Blam thinks he can pass this off as
a picture from Munich just because I'm wearing the same clobber.
Well I'm off to the Hammersmith review below, where I belong!"
Mit Mir In Deinem Traum...
When I originally posted a piece about the Bowie show in Munich a couple of weeks back, (09/29/02 NEWS: PLATI PIX AND SET LIST FROM MUNICH) I hoped we'd "have something of a little more substance for you shortly." Well, being a man of my word, (stop sniggering at the back!) I now have that something of substance, a review from somebody more than qualified for the job, David Buckley.
Mr Buckley is the man responsible for the particularly good sleeve notes on the upcoming 'Best of Bowie' releases, and he is the author of many other Bowie works over the years. Anyway, here follows his piece, and while we're rounding up reviews, you can also check out a review of last week's Hammersmith show that I missed from
Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)
David Bowie Live - Olympiahalle - Munich - 29/9/02
It was perfect. I don?t know about you, but I?m often so disappointed with live performances. They either don?t play what you want to hear, or you?re permanently dying for a wee, or the tallest man in the world has decided to stand immediately in front of you, or the acoustics sound like shit. I managed to avoid all from this impressive list of would-be disasters, although I did almost piss myself when the synth line of ?Speed Of Life? came hurtling out of the speakers.
This was Bowie at his finest. From the moment he strolled onto the stage at 8.20, in what was the best suit I have ever seen, to the unforgettable ending of ?Ziggy Stardust? 150 minutes and 29 songs later, he sang brilliantly and clearly. It was the best Bowie concert I?ve ever been to.
Why? Well, because for starters the balance in the repertoire was perfect. Although totally different musically, the set list reminded me oddly of the Serious Moonlight tour, with the balance of new and old, of well-known, and esoteric. So, tonight we had a good selection of hits (no ?Under Pressure? on this tour ? hurray!), we had eight tracks from Heathen, one of my favourite Bowie albums ever, and we had the curios too. I?d never heard ?Speed Of Life? or ?New Career? live before. I adored ?Be My Wife?. I thought the bravura version of ?Alabama Song? was unstoppable, and the crash bang wallop slab of avant-garde rock that is ?Look Back In Anger? as hard-hitting as could be. Of course, having three guitarists helped fill out the sound, which, on some other tours, had (to these ears at least) lacked the power and the intricacy needed to project the disparate range of songs Bowie has recorded. There was brilliant Mike Garson too, whose playing is, quite simply, a bit mad, and Gail, who made ?Absolute Beginners? a real lovey-dovey treat.
Of course, the enthusiastic and surprisingly youthful audience lapped everything up; songs from Heathen (possibly a bigger hit here in Germany than in the UK) were given a grand reception, and the big hits greeted with abandon. The David I saw in 1990, who looked at times like he?d trade singing his pop hits for a round of root canal treatment sans anaesthetic, now seemed so pleased to be singing the re-worked ?Rebel Rebel?, a fantastic ?Sound And Vision? (probably my favourite single ? ever), an astonishing opening duo of ?Life On Mars?? and ?Ashes To Ashes?, and a floor-shuddering ?"Heroes"? and ?Ziggy Stardust?. On top of that, he looked impeccably turned out and tuned in, and on top cheery form. He informed us that he?d spent the afternoon in the ?EnglÃƒÂ¤ndischer Park? (Englischer Garten actually David. Did you go to the Chinese Tower?), asked the front three rows their names, kept on introducing Sterling Campbell in a running joke, and was jollity itself when constantly forgetting what year he?d recorded which song.
The good-natured banter and impeccable timing took me back to ?Jazzin For Blue Jean? and Bowie?s light comedic flair, and, more recently, to the version of Bowie as stand-up comedian portrayed by Phil Cornwall on Stella Street. Sadly not available for panto this year, at one point he finished a new song with the words "Well, that was another one from Heathen. You can find all the other hits on there too - ?Space Oddity?, ?The Jean Genie?, ?Let?s Dance?" Ho ho! -how he made us laugh, - no mean feat in a culture not exactly regarded as the home of humour. As they say, a German joke is no laughing matter.
So, I have to say, I loved it. It was my first Bowie concert for five years, and the first-ever gig for my 13-year-old, Louise. She wore her Heathen T-shirt with pride to school the next day. I just hope mine still fits me after the Oktoberfest ... A night to remember.
David Buckley - September 2002