Monday, 4 April 2011

Monday Moments 51/52 - Life of Live


One track , two themes. Although I'd finished poly that summer I had one more concert to see before i moved to a new job and a new city. Having seen Bowie on the awful Glass Spider tour I needed a bit of persuading to go and see him again 3 years later (I'd given up trying to defend Tin Machine).


However it was to promote a greatest hits package and was accompanied by the ridiculous claim that this would be the last time he would be performing these songs live (still couldn't take the chance that it was a serious artistic intention and not a record company marketing ploy). I seem to remember even a gimmick that meant that fans could vote on what would be on the set list.


So for the last time I took a coach to a concert, this time to Birmingham's NEC (for those who haven't been an awful aircraft hanger of a venue). I can't remember who the support were or even if there was a support and that is because the concert itself just blew me away.


Everything was as far as way from the Glass Spider as could be. The red jump suit and costumed dancers were replaced with a guitar, bass , drums , keyboards band all dressed in black and white (the mullet had long gone thank god) endless guitar solos were replaced with tight playing that allowed the songs to breath. The set list did what it said on the tin, favourite followed favourite and even in the aircraft hanger the sheer magnetism of Bowie sucked everyone in.


The staging was simple and the lighting largely white. However the simplest projection technique took your breath away. Some sort of see through cloth screen would be dropped which the band members moved in front of and behind. On to this was projected moving images, mainly simply giant moving images of Bowie. The image above doesn't come near to doing it justice. It is from I think when he did Space Oddity. You can see him at the bottom of the screen with a guitar as his projected face looks down. The whole thing was perfectly staged (and somehow the slickness and lack of spontaneity didn't leave the thing feeling sterile) and while very simple immensely powerful. Partly as the screen wasn't a back drop but at different levels on the stage giving depth and perspective that a giant screen just cant deliver (no doubt today we would all have had to wear 3D glasses)


For a large scale concert it is the best I've seen . I've not seen Bowie play live since and this is mainly because I'm not sure anything will top it (my favourite singer playing my favourite songs at the top of his game)


Which brings me to this week's Monday Moment. In a year on monday's I had to have one Bowie. It could have been anything the disillusioned vocal in Golden Years , the bubbly synth /bass that opens up Ashes to Ashes, the searing guitar in Heroes, the backing vocals on Young Americans and that is just the obvious singles.


Instead I've gone for a single that has no chorus and the first verse doesn't start for 1:30 minutes.


My monday moments comes at about 40 seconds when the guitar chords . analogue synths , are punctuated by the first sigh


2 comments:

  1. BRILLIANT!! and I am so glad someone else can rate the Glass Spider Tour as unbelievably bad as I do. I had the chance to ask Carlos Alomar about that tour years later and he just rolled his eyes and chuckled...

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  2. cheers Echo - it is all rather worryingly quiet on the Bowie front

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