20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An accurate document of Bowie's difficult years,
This review is from: Serious Moonlight [DVD]  (DVD)The `Let's Dance' album may have been partly motivated by Bowie's desire to prove himself to his new label by delivering hit records, but the subsequent tour was - Bowie has admitted - designed to introduce him to the kind of conservative ultra-mainstream audience that had previously regarded him with suspicion. It was also designed as his "pension plan" - at the back of his mind, he says, he was planning to "get rich quick" and then retire.
So here we have a hits-heavy setlist in which almost all the songs are subjected to arrangements that suck all the menace, all the subversive experimentation out of them. Lots of loungey saxophone charts, lots of primitive-sounding synthesizer. Without its attendant guitar feedback and harmonica, "Cracked Actor"'s innuendo could easily pass by the listener. "Rebel Rebel" and "Fashion" are abbreviated in order to fit into medleys. "What In The World", "Look Back In Anger" and "Scary Monsters" are conspicuously lacking in dissonance and vocal/guitar extremities. When Bowie (and Earl Slick) tackle Lou Reed's "White Light White Heat" they proceed from the `Rock 'n Roll Animal' arrangement (not a good idea). "Station to Station" survives the sanitisation process - and then only to find itself cut short by the film editor! Elsewhere, play-it-safe renditions of Life On Mars, Sorrow, China Girl etc.
With all this, a stage set that looks like it was designed for Kid Creole and the rather silly choreography of the Simms Brothers - it's unlikely to be a satisfactory viewing/listening experience for hardcore Bowie-ologists. Anyone who prefers Outside to Hours, Lodger to Young Americans, can afford to leave this alone.
And now that I've told you what this DVD is - let me tell you what it isn't: a comprehensive document of the live video adventures of Mr Bowie circa 1983.
Restoring the Ricochet documentary to the catalogue, and extending it, is laudable - but in their failure to restore the interviews that were appended to the original two-volume VHS release of the concert (as if determined to make life difficult for Bowie-ologists hoping to streamline their collections) EMI has once again shown its inability to understand its obligations to the music consuming public. Somebody should tell them, "it's not your job to rewrite history, but to preserve it, right?!!"