Come Lately Reviews: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

In a previous post, I discussed the concept of being a “true fan”. To sum it up for the purposes of this review, a true fan isn’t someone who has always been aware of the existence of an artist or a piece of art. A true fan could be someone who has just now discovered that thing and feels a certain emotional connection.

Keep in mind that there is a clear line between having an emotional connection with something or someone, and having an unhealthy fixation. Reading Anne Rice’s books, visiting her website or Facebook page and participating in the discussions is part of a healthy emotional connection. Believing that you out of six billion people were meant to sneak into Sandra Bullock’s bedroom and serenade her with Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up is the end result of an unhealthy fixation.

As I’m sure can be said of many artists, fans of David Bowie camp out on that clear line and sometimes use it like a jump rope.

Growing up, David Bowie has always been a part of my life in one fashion. We watched Labyrinth when I was a child in the home of my grandmother, who passed away when I was nine. Later, while helping my mother decorate the house for Christmas when I was about twelve, I listened to a song on the radio and at first only recognized the singing voice of Bing Crosby, one of my mother’s favorites. He was singing Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie, which I later learned was Bing’s very last televised performance before he passed away.

Then there was Lenore. The lost Lenore, who I have seen since 2003 nevermore. Seriously though, Lenore was a good friend of mine who absolutely loved David Bowie. It was she, not I that knew that on the night following September 11th, when all of those musicians and artists got together for that impromptu concert, it was David Bowie who was the first to perform. However, I was the one who informed her of the appearance of David Bowie’s considerable package in one very particular scene in Labyrinth.

On a side note, this review is dedicated to Lenore. Though I haven’t seen her in a long time, she was one of the first people in my thoughts when I learned of his passing and I hope she is well these days. So if you’re a friend of hers, or if you still exchange e-mails, pass it along please.

For the first time, I watched Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, thanks to AXStv. The truth is that I could have listened to his music anywhere at any time, but watching this video, which was the recording of the very last stop on his tour in 1973, made me feel like I was a part of that audience. Imagine being in England at the Hammersmith Theater on that day, singing Changes and Major Tom along with David.

More moving than the music, was the behind the scenes footage of David and the band getting dressed and made-up for the stage. There were a lot of things that I didn’t realize about a concert. One is that when the guitarists are doing their solos, usually it’s to distract the audience while the lead singer goes behind stage to change costumes. But something I have always kind of known is that a concert is a business. It’s a day on the job like any other job. So seeing the make-up artists and watching David just being an ordinary guy like the rest of us in those few minutes, drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette (okay, I don’t smoke, and without judging, maybe this could be a wake-up call for the people who do) while casually having a chat with his wife, Angie was as much a part of the magic as seeing him on stage.

 

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