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Ziggy Live 1972....,
This review is from: Santa Monica '72 (Audio CD)
This broadcast from the 20th of October 1972 in Santa Monica U.S.A. starts with an announcer telling the radio audience "that the house lights are about to go down for the appearance of David Bowie, the guitar of Mick Ronson powers out the opener "Hang onto yourself", the first impression you get, is what's the rush?
The sound is rough, but as the song progresses the sound engineer corrects this.
The first song ends "Ziggy Stardust' starts this gives the audience no chance to catch their breath, this is where the backing vocals of Mick Ronson on the lines "So where were the spiders", can be heard to great effect.
The applause is dying down when the newest member of the band Mike Garson can be heard playing the piano intro for "Changes" as Trevor Bolder's bass guitar joins in this is the signal for the driving sound of Woodmansey drums to start and Ronson's guitar picking out the main theme of the song with David singing "Oh Yea" the song begins.
Bowie's 12-string guitar introduces the song "The Superman" at the end of the first verse Mick Ronson's fingers slid down the neck of his guitar to signal the rest of the band to follow his lead.
This gives Garson enough time to start playing "Life on Mars" which brings a ripple of applause from the crowd, with just the sound of piano and vocals the first part ends and just as he sings the lines "As they ask to focus on sailors fighting in the dance hall" the snare drum and bass guitar come to life and with the guitar punching out the line "Is there life on Mars?" with the sound of piano only the song ends.
The drums of "Woody" Woodmansey start pounds out the intro for "5 years" which is next in the set, Bowie singing the lines "Pushing through the market square", you can hear roughness in his voice, adding a little extra drama to the song the track ends to rapturous applause.
"Space Oddity" begins stripped down with no effects. Ronson sings the countdown, this is sung in between the lines by David "lift off" grates a bit on the ears, the close harmonies after that make up for it.
David tells you "That was called Space Oddity", and for the following he say's "this is a song about a painter from New York, and he tells the crowd it's about Andy Warhol". David's 12 string guitar strumming on the track, on the chorus "Andy Warhol looks a scream, hang on my wall, Andy Warhol, silver screen, can't tell them apart at all", Ronson and Bowie duet to great effect, the middle 8 has some delicate guitar fills from Ronson that are played against the 12-string of Bowie.
The first of two covers is next, the first is a track written by Jacques Brel called "My Death", this part of the show is where David stands alone centre stage with just his guitar.
The guitar of Mick Ronson can be heard playing "Width of a circle" this gives Bowie a chance to show off his mime skills taught by Lindsay Kemp, during the Ronson solo the crowd would swear Bowie could fly.
The use of two strobe lights each running at different speeds and Bowie's mime moves created the illusion, the extended soloing of Ronson would also give the rhythm section a chance to flex their musical muscles with an extended version of the song.
Next David and his band launch into "Queen Bitch" this is played with a great deal of urgency and is played with all the confidence of youth.
At the beginning of the next track Bowie announces, "That this song is written by Ziggy" with a noticeable wobble in his voice he sings "I'm an alligator", Mick and Co power their way through adding backing vocals to the track and with a solo in the middle Ronson plays magnificently.
An acoustic guitar strums and "John I'm only Dancing" starts which gives everybody a chance to show off their musical skills.
Bowie now takes this time to give his band a little applause, first that's "Trevor Bolder on bass guitar", "and "Woody" Woodmansey on drums" "and Mike Garson on piano" "and that's Mick Ronson on lead guitar" which is said with a little reluctance on Bowie's part (oh the theatre of it all) with all that said and done the lead guitar begins the opening chords of the second cover of the night this time by Lou Reed "Waiting for the Man" is very much like the original.
The newest song of the set" The Jean Genie", is next just as the song is about too begin Bowie tells the crowd "this song is about a guy from New York called Jean Genie and it begins in "E", to give the sound of the guitar extra power Bowie has strapped on Ronson's spare Les Paul, they proceed to play a version that has more venom and menace that the studio recording.
"Suffragette City" is next and is played at speed with Bowie forgetting the words at one point, and with Ronson thrashing his guitar for the line "Wham bam thank you ma'am" the crowd at boiling point.
Bowie says "Goodnight and thank you"; a near riot can be heard. The radio announcer asks, "Do you hear the applause and that's a bid for Bowie to come back on" "and they are coming back on".
Feedback sounds then "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" can be heard "Time takes a cigarette" Bowie's sings the opening line, Ronson guitar is all that is heard against the vocals giving a powerful backdrop for all the band to play against, as quickly as it began it is all over in less than 77 minutes this powerhouse performance ends.
An added feature of this 1994 release was the inclusion of a reproduction ticket from the show.