David Bowie: Definitive Critical Review
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(Jan 16, 2007)
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DVD1 - INSIDE BOWIE 1969/72: long awaited critical review of the music of David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars during the crucial period from 1969 to 1972 when Bowie rose from obscurity to superstardom. DVD2 INSIDE BOWIE 1972/74: We pick up with the Ziggy Stardust album and review the work of Bowie on Aladdin Sane through the break up of the Spiders, Pin Ups and on to the Diamond Dogs album.; DVD3 A CLASSICAL TRIBUTE: The greatest music in the history of rock like youve never heard it before. The Classic Rock Chamber Suites is a major new series featuring challenging new arrangements of the very best music produced by some of the greatest names in the history of rock.
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A definitive critical review? No way. The only value in this set is the interview material with bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey who were part of the Spiders and it is certainly enjoyable to witness their recollections of the period. These are interspersed with the personal opinions and speculations of John McKenzie, Pip Williams, the appropriately named Malcolm Dome and Bob Carruthers. Their credentials are there on the sleeve but if like me you have to read them to find out who the hell they are then they really are just a bunch of guys you've never heard of before and not lending any weight to "Definitive Critical Review." The interview material is cut together
with a paucity of visual material of the subject and period from BBC Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops shows and the Ziggy Stardust 'Movie.' You will hear bowie speak about once from an old doco from the 70's. Oh, and the music clips are regularly obscured by the copyright info etc. flashing up to state the bleeding obvious.
Disc One: Inside Bowie & the Spiders, A Critical Review 1969-1972 runs about 70mins with Chapter Titles divided by the song titles the guys are discussing. Similarly with...
Disc Two: 1972-1974 runs about 50mins.
Disc Three: Ahem, well this is the 'Space Oddity' of the collection because you really can't have a definitive critical review without having an all female String Quartet plus some geezer on Grand Piano giving us their 'Classic Rock Tribute to Bowie' can you? 'The Classic Rock String Quartet' perform their 'Bowie Chamber Suite' which at best is pleasant and at worst awful but for the most part just in the middle of the road feeling uncomfortably like Muzak.
They perform 1. Space Oddity 2. Oh, You Pretty Things 3. Life On Mars 4. Changes 5. Starman 6. John, I'm Only Dancing (only poxy more like it) 7. Jean Genie 8. Rebel, Rebel 9. Young Americans 10. Ashes To Ashes (probably the best of the lot) 11. Let's Dance.
Footage of the Quartet & Pianist recorded in a studio that has been tarted-up with a red light, a pot plant and some little candles burning atop the piano are cut together with predictable things like images of planets (Space Oddity), sepia-toned silent era belles (Pretty Things) and a meteorite shower (Life on Mars)...beyond that I couldn't tell you because I was just skipping through the first 10 seconds of the rest of them by then. This disc provides the perfect Bowie background music for your next dinner party (why not hold your own 'Definitive Critical Review' party or 'Ashes to Ashes' BBQ).
Overall the picture and sound quality are great and it's all nicely packaged...but 'The Definitive Critical Review' it ain't. Thanks for reading and enjoy your party! And as for you Mr. Bowie...what are you doing reading this?