A Star Is Born
By: Ray Coleman Melody Maker July 15
.....When a shooting star is heading for
the peak, there is usually one concert at which it's possible to declare, 'That's it-he's
made it.' For David Bowie, opportunity knocked loud and clear last Saturday at London's Royal
Festival Hall - and he left the stage a true 1972-style pop giant, clutching flowers form a girl who ran up
and hugged and kissed him while a throng of fans milled around the stage. It was an exhilarating site.
.....Bowie is going to be an old-fashioned, charismatic idol, for his show is full of glitter, panache and pace.
Dressed outrageously in the tightest multicoloured gear imaginable, Bowie is a flashback in many ways to
the pop star theatrics of about ten years ago, carrying on a detached love affair with his audience, wooing
them, yet never surrendering that vital aloofness that makes him slightly untouchable.
.....On Saturday, the magic was boosted by an unadvertised appearance by Lou Reed. The American
jammed with David and his group, and although mutual admiration societies like this are often
disappointing ego trips, and electrifying heat came across that stage as David and Lou roared into
'White Light', 'I'm waiting for the man' and 'Sweet Jane'.Their
obvious admiration for each other's style was great to watch. Bowie did the back up vocal
work to Lou's haunting singing, and thoug his words were hard to pick up, Reed's presence was
terrific. In black sequinned jump suit and gold shoes, he stood with feet tripping into a neat criss cross
movement at the breaks in his songs - rather like The Shadows used to do in that much mocked leg
crossing stage movement.
.....There was somehitng beatutifully earthy, cool and all knowing about Lou Reed, and the corwd who had
come mainly to see Bowie were obviously in love with the memory of Lou's Velvet Underground
history. Reed now needs to strengthen his simmering popularity here with a full scale tour of his own. The
time is now.
.....But this concert still belonged to Bowie, legs astride as wide as possible,his face painted incongruously
to project a Danny La Rue profile and his diction quite splendid. His music naturally comes mainly from
the Ziggy Stardust hit album, but little on this record equals the canny 'Changes' form
the Hunky Dory set, or the classic 'Space oddity.' At the start, the sound was imperfect,
but once this settled Bowie cam eover powerfully, oozing with histrionic confidence,. with Mick Ronson
turning in a potent lead guitar.
.....'Starman', 'Five years', 'Andy Warhol', a straight solo on
'Amsterdam' and a superb encore, 'Suffragette city', were the high spots of a show
which saw Bowie dressed in two outfits, obviously revelling in stardom, strutting form mike to mike,
slaying us all with a deadly miture of fragility and desperate intensity, the undisputed king of camp
.....The oncert, presented by Friends of the Earth tro save the doomed whale, also featured Marmalade anfd
the JSD Band...a superb night's muisic, because all of them have roots. Like Marc, Bowie has been a
long time coming, but a more certain Bolan-chaser I never saw. At the end, two 'Ziggy' banners
were extended by fans over the balcony. Bowie has arrived-a worthy pin-up with such style.
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