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David Bowie - Live in Santa Monica'72 CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.48 | 21 ratings

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3 stars This CD brought a smile to my face (well, SEVERAL smiles, actually) since it showed me a Bowie I didn't really know: the no holds barred, unapologetically sexy rock 'n' roller. More than anything else, it made clear to me what a splendid band he had in the Spiders From Mars. Drums, bass and, above all, Mick Ronson's lead guitar are just as effective as they should be. These chaps must have toured almost continually, and the album proves what a sleek and magnificent machine they had become. (The recording sounds quite clear but Mike Garson's piano is virtually inaudible throughout, except during some of the quieter moments.)

Many old-fashioned proggers will undoubtedly get their kicks out of the nearly eleven minute 'Width of a Circle', in which the band (not the singer) play a starring role. You get to hear the Spiders as a heavy metal band. (Back in the early 1980s, at the height of New Wave, fashionable Bowie fans used to tell me THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD was the only Bowie album they never enjoyed. Obviously, they'd never listened to it properly and didn't seem to realise it's much darker than HUNKY DORY and ZIGGY STARDUST.)

For my money, SANTA MONICA's most enjoyably moments lie in its straightforward rockers: 'Hang on to Yourself', 'Ziggy Stardust', 'The Supermen' and all the rest. When played live, all these sound even fresher and more spontaneous than the "Live at the BBC versions" you may be familiar with. Jacques Brel's 'My Death' is performed touchingly, with Bowie accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. It demonstrates what a versatile and intelligent vocalist he is. Inevitably, the climactic performance of "Rock'n'Roll Suicide" fails to measure up to the drama of the original studio version. But all in all, this album is definitely worth hearing and every Bowie fan will want a copy.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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