On the Bowie front, there are a few items to cover before we move on to …hours. For one, I either didn’t know or had forgotten that for a while in the late Nineties his live sets included a version of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.” Gail Ann Dorsey did the lead vocals and DB contributed harmonies and saxophone.
On a musical level this is a mixed bag; the drum’n’bass framework is a bold choice, but not what I’d call a good one. Still, the song as a whole works better than it seems like it should, and I remain awed by the chutzpah it took to trot out a nine-minute version of a weird (if popular) art number from the early Eighties for what looks like a festival crowd.
But David never lacked for balls. His first reaction to hearing Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind was “I thought I should just give up.” His second reaction was to record a cover of the album’s centerpiece (?), “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven.” I’m not going to try to convince you this is great — the production is overbaked, the bombast ill-advised — but again, the sheer nerve of it:
Finally, on a similar, yet completely different, note: Around that same time Bowie appeared in an Italian movie called Il Mio West (also known as Gunslinger’s Revenge). I had never heard of it before Chris O’Leary mentioned it in his book, and it’s not to be found on any platform, which is probably just as well. But there are clips on YouTube, including this one where Bowie serenades Harvey Keitel with “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” apparently trying to bait him into a duel. I kind of like this as a four-minute movie unto itself:
The filmmakers didn’t give David a lot to work with here, but he showed up and did his job. Sometimes that’s all you can do.