This is my entry for “Z” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Previous “Z” documentaries I’ve reviewed include Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and Zimbelism.
Title: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Release Date: December 23, 1983
Director: D. A. Pennebaker
Production Company: Miramax Films | MainMan | Bewlay Bros.
David Bowie finished off a world tour supporting The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars with this performance at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973. Pioneering D. A. Pennebaker and a small crew were on hand to film the show. Cinematically, this film does not hold up to the likes of The Last Waltz or Stop Making Sense. Nevertheless, I appreciate the simplicity and the intimacy of this concert film.
Bowie is the focus of the film, whether he’s on stage or in his dressing room for a costume change. It’s clear that he has a special connection with the audience, many of who are in Ziggy Stardust style makeup and costumes. Assuming there are no overdubs in this film – and I don’t think there are – the band was on fire this night, especially Mark Ronson who has several excellent guitar solos. Pianist Mike Garson lends a cocktail lounge jazz sound to several songs that works very well. My only disappointment is that the band doesn’t perform “Starman” or “Life on Mars” in this set.
If you’re like me and weren’t alive to see what the big deal was regarding Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, this is a good way to found out.