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David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars-The Motion Picture Soundtrack CD (album) cover


David Bowie

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3 stars I was never a fan of Bowie in my younger years although I certainly did enjoy several of his songs from the radio. The problem was there were also several I didn't like so I just assumed his albums would also be hit and miss for me. I bought this one back before I discovered Prog and was desperate for some good music. This was recorded live in July of 1973, the final concert of his "Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" tour. It took place at the Odeon Hammersmith in London, England and was billed as his last tour ever. He just didn't explain at the time that this was just the last tour for his Ziggy Stardust persona. Still it must have been an amazing show to see live. There was also a video made available of this show which I haven't seen. Both weren't released until 10 years after the fact in 1983. I'm not sure why, but the sound quality may have been one reason. Apparently it's awful. I have the remastered version which is cleaned up pretty good. This set also has lots of info in it including a fake ticket stub from the evening. Very well packaged and my set is copy controlled as well. The discs are red with yellow tops.

This is a two disc affair with some 83 minutes of music. Mick Ronson really impressed me on guitar and it's cool that Bowie plays sax and harmonica during this show. The first song "Hang On To Yourself" is a little raw sounding especially the guitar. I'm guessing it's the sound quality. Not a big fan of this rocker but the guitar is good. "Ziggy Stardust" is a top three from disc one. Again raw guitar to open as Bowie joins in vocally. Great track. "Watch That Man" opens with guitar once again as the rest join in quickly including the vocals. Catchy but I don't like it. "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" is ballad-like but it does get fuller and blends into "All The Young Dudes" a top three as well. Horns too in this one.

"Oh ! You Pretty Things" is a short piece with vocals and piano then it kicks in before a minute. It's okay. "Moonage Daydream" has some excellent sounding guitar and mellotron in it. "Changes" is a song i've never liked. "Space Oddity" on the other hand is my favourite Bowie tune. On the original song they planned to use strings so they brought in session keyboardist Rick Wakemen to lay down a mellotron pattern that would be a guide for the strings. The producer liked it so much they kept what Rick had done and double tracked it. Classic tune including horns and mellotron on this live version. "My Death" ends disc one with Bowie telling the crowd to be quiet and thanking them when they finally obey.

Disc two begins with "Cracked Actor" with more raw guitar and some harmonica too. "Time" puts the focus on the vocals and piano then it kicks in as contrasts continue. Lots of vocal melodies late. "The Width Of A Circle" is the most impressive track on here. Almost 16 minutes of guitar driven Rock. Love it ! "Lets Spend The Night Together" is a weak cover in my opinion. "Suffragette City" is great and ends the concert with the last two songs being encore tracks. "White Lights / White Heat" is excellent. I really like this one and the verses remind me of ROXY MUSIC. "Rock n Roll Suicide" ends it and it sounds so much better when it finally kicks into gear.

This is a good live document but make sure you get the remastered version.

Report this review (#775973)
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am not a big Bowie fan, though I wish I was. I gracefully bow before his musical genius. Still, there are only a few scattered songs that I truly love and apart from "The man who sold the world" I can't really claim to have a single album by the man I truly dig. And I am not, generally, not a fan of live albums either. Imagine my surprise, then, when I bought this live album and found it truly great. And by Bowie at that!

The concert is a magnificent, high powered rock blow-out of the best calibre. There are a lot of songs I didn't know beforehand, but they sound so amazingly powerful I can't help but be astounded.

There is an enormous amount of atmosphere on these discs. You feel the tension, the power, the energy, the magic and you wish you'd been there. Bowie sounds great, the band kicks up a storm and the combination of aggressive, guitar driven hardrock and mellower, sometimes chanson-ish tunes (like My death) makes the album diverse and entertaining, thrilling even.

My favorite track is The width of a circle. 16 minutes of frenzy, overdrive and powerful drumming combined with a splendid bass gets me going anytime. That is the sound of the 70's great hard rock sound. Really, really nice track.

All in all it's not only a great Bowie-album but a really amazing live album and a document from a time where rock'n'roll seemed to have endless possibilities. I love it.

Report this review (#925524)
Posted Thursday, March 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The "Motion Picture Soundtrack" is a great live document of Bowie's glam rock era, and an excellent counterpart to the Santa Monica live show which, like this one, eventually got an official release after floating around on the bootleg market for years. Whereas the Santa Monica live album captures Bowie and Spiders in a raucous glam rock mode with more than a little mucking about on their part, this is a substantially more polished affair - made even more polished thanks to the careful remastering on the Five Years boxed set, if you fancy springing for that version - which finds the band on the peak of their form. The 15 minute version of Width of a Circle includes some amazingly intense improvised sections.

Of course, it also benefits from showcasing a concert which is not only high-quality in its own right but of massive historical importance to Bowie's career, for this is the point when he retired Ziggy, split up the Spiders, and set course for Hunger City and a rendezvous with the DIamond Dogs.

Report this review (#1529005)
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2016 | Review Permalink

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