Because I’m at that point in revisiting his career. I found myself watching David Bowie’s 50th birthday concert yesterday. I seem to remember that back in the day I had mixed feelings about this show. While it was of course cool to see, for instance, Frank Black on stage with the great man, there was something rather embarrassing about Bowie’s naked grasping for relevance with The Kids. It’s even worse when he cozies up to Billy Corgan or Dave Grohl. And there was way too much emphasis on material from Earthling, which was a pretty good album, but come on….
Watching it again 25 years later, though, I’ve decided I love it. Everything about it that’s overbaked or perverse or shameless… well, that’s David Bowie, innit? Of course he’s going to force everyone to listen to his new material when they really just want to hear the hits. Because that’s how David do. You don’t like it? Go see Billy Joel or whoever. If you want to see Bowie, you’re going to sit through “Little Wonder” and “Dead Man Walking” before you hear “Heroes” or “Under Pressure,” and you’re going to like it.
In that spirit, I’m going to write a few posts about this because at the moment I truly have nothing better to do. This might be a good time to say that though I love and treasure every reader of this blog, I wouldn’t take it personally if you unsubscribed. Most of my effort these days goes into Kiss the Culprit, and this blog has once again become a repository for random thoughts with nowhere else to go.
The concert starts with the aforementioned “Little Wonder,” which is one of those songs that David himself loved in wild disproportion to its quality, at least in my opinion. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” is a step up, and I like the moment where he comes to the front of the stage and says to the audience, “tell the others.”
But things really start to cook when Frank Black appears and the band launches into “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).” If you were at that show and you didn’t know who Frank was you might well have found yourself asking, “What is this, like, bowling alley manager doing onstage?” He’s always been at the opposite end of the glamor scale from David, and that’s fine, but he could have dressed up a little. Maybe he felt like he was doing David a favor just by being there; he had previously professed to be not much of a Bowie fan, whereas Tin Machine had not only covered the Pixies but more or less appropriated their whole sound.
In any case, “Scary Monsters” rocks. Reeves Gabrels overplays as always, but in this case it works:
Given FB’s lack of sartorial style, “Fashion” was a bit of an ironic choice for their second song together. But if you’ve ever wanted to hear him scream “Beep beep,” here’s your chance.
Reeves goes over the top again, but at least he has the courtesy to wear a nice boa.
I guess that’s enough for now… more as the mood strikes me.
1 statement: I don’t ever foresee a time when I won’t want to hear, read, know your “random thoughts with nowhere else to go.” and 1 question: Does Frank Black know that he has stolen the Todd Conner vibe?
What I remember of the 50th b-day party is non-stop frenetic camerawork and editing to point of distraction and irritation.
Watching Frank Black … fat and wearing a bowling shirt with an ugly goatee … standing there like a lump … I’m sorry, it’s pathetic.
Beyond that, I agree with professor’s professed love of your “random thoughts with nowhere else to go.”