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David Bowie - Glastonbury 2000 CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.00 | 4 ratings

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4 stars Subtitle this one "Memory of an Expensive Festival". David Bowie's nostalgic Glastonbury set of 2000 was broadcast by the BBC, so bootleg versions of it have knocked about for a while. Still, it's nice to get an official, cleaned-up version of this release. Bowie had been averse to playing much of his early back catalogue live for some years prior to this, but returning to the festival some decades after his initial appearance must have put him in a reminiscent mood, because the set by and large is a tour through most of his greatest hits.

From the running order, you'd think that Bowie had spent a decade in seclusion after doing the Absolute Beginners soundtrack; the only newer songs represented on the setlist are Hallo Spaceboy, Little Wonder, and I'm Afraid of Americans, decent enough examples of Bowie's recent work but a little incongruous in an otherwise classic rock-styled set. The delivery's also a bit different from the glam rock roar or the dark art rock stylings of classic Bowie gigs of the 1970s, or even the high theatricality of his 1980s tours. This is a festival, after all, and an airing of songs that Bowie had left on the shelf for a little while, so the delivery tends to be a bit more upbeat and anthemic.

As for the performances themselves, the recording unfortunately doesn't capture the backing singers as well as it could but otherwise the band's sounding great, which is good because Bowie himself is not at peak performance. Whilst he soldiers on and puts in a credible performance, he admits to being a bit under the weather and jokingly pleads with the audience to pitch in and cover for him if he loses his voice at one point. Indeed, his banter with the audience reveals him to be in a decidedly cheerful mood, which I suppose is in keeping with the generally cheerful delivery of the material here.

It says a lot about the depth of Bowie's back catalogue that he can make a set of 22 classic songs, the vast majority of which have a strong claim to belong in any "best of" compilation of his, and yet he doesn't have to resort to rehashing Space Oddity yet again (a song he'd become sick enough of that, even though he took the rest of his old toys out of the closet to play with again, he left it on the shelf). The setlist really doesn't suffer for it. I wouldn't put this in the top rank of Bowie live releases - particularly considering some of the delicious 1970s archival live sets that have been coming out lately - but if you wanted evidence of late-period Bowie still being able to hack it in a live context, you've got it right here.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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