Over thirty years ago, David Bowie performed his final concert. Or at least what was advertised as his final concert. That show became the Ziggy Stardust movie. Last year a thirtieth anniversary edition of the film was released on DVD. Now I have finally gotten a chance to see this film for the first time, and the result is a mixed bag.
I made the mistake of watching this shortly after watching the A Reality Tour disk, which is a superior production, but then it was also made 30 years after this one. I think the biggest problem here is that time has not been kind to the film materials. Frankly, the overall image quality is not all that good, the lighting and angles are, at times, very striking, but their is a lot of grain, and general fuzziness to it. The audio, on the other hand, sounds very good, and does the music justice. And what is most important here is the music, right?
This concert film presents me with a vastly different David Bowie than what I am used to. He is more a caricature, or a character, as opposed to the artists just being himself, that I see today. It is interesting watching him strut around in some bizarre outfits singing and posturing. Backed by a tight band led by the guitar sounds emanating from the general vicinity of Mick Ronson. The music is very good, although much more raw than more recent performances. This is exemplified by Ronson's performance, which is strong, loose and tight all at the same time.
As a whole, this show acts as a time capsule, capturing the essence of what David Bowie was about in the early/mid seventies. It stands frozen in time, a testament to what Bowie has created over the years.