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Lisa Robinson - America (29 September 1972)

Review of Carnegie Hall Concert - 28 September 1972

Andy Warhol could only get two tickets and wasn't allowed backstage and Ahmet Eretegun couldn't get tickets at all and Geri Miller, the girl who jumped out of Mick Jagger's birthday cake, barely got one ticket to get inside Carnegie Hall.  It was David Bowie's first New York concert and RCA was acting as if it was Elvis all over again.

Every groupie - male and female - every determined scenemaker and "tastemaker", every member of that Mafia-infested rock-drug-trash set that follows chic was out in full force last night.  The crowd inside the bar at Carnegie Hall before Bowie went on looked as if it had been left over from last years Kink's party.  With everyone trying to outdo each other with feathers and glitter, capes and silver platform boots and plumbed hats and afro wigs all colours of the rainbow, those who stood out refreshingly in that crowd were the ones in suit and ties.  I'm sorry my dears, but the sixties are OVER.

But the concert ... well, that was something else again.   David brought a Rock n Roll show to New York City and it was a triumph.  He has a lot more fans here than one might have thought - because it was apparent from the moment he stepped foot onstage that the audience had been waiting for him for a long, long time.

There was an element of his audience here that I can only compare to the audience of Laura Nyro. Laura gets a lot of unattractive, neurotic girls who come to worship at the alter of her art and fantasize - adoringly.  It would seem that in addition to some of the drag queen attempts - David may get Laura's male counterparts.  Never you mind, they are a fiercely devoted audience - even if it is rather disconcerting to sit next to some bloated, bearded, bespectacled boy who keeps screaming "David, David You're beautiful!"

He was too.  Wearing first the red, beige and blue print jumpsuit and then changing into a gold and black quilted number, David looked gorgeous.  I really don't think that there is anyone around who is quite so ... extraordinary looking .. the hair, the way he moves around the stage, and especially the way he's got his music together - all of it just really works.

They did essentially the same show that I saw them perform in England - numbers from Ziggy Stardust: "Hang Onto Yourself", "Lady Stardust", "Moonage Daydream", "Five Years", "Starman" and my favourite "Suffragette City" (WHY wasn't THAT one a single?) From the Hunky Dory LP David sang "Changes", "Life on Mars?", "Queen Bitch" and "Andy Warhol", which surprisingly enough, kids have been screaming out for during all the concerts on the tour so far.  I wonder what went through Andy's head as he sat in Carnegie Hall listening to David's tribute to him.

Between the electricity David's sang a few acoustic songs.   He explained that his voice was in a bit of trouble because of a 48-hour virus, but except for a few of the high notes it sounded quite alright to me.

But the high points of the show were definitely the Rock n Roll numbers.  The kids cheered the beginnings of each one as if they had memorized the albums, and all throughout the concert, guards had to clear people out of the aisles, and stop them from rushing up to the front of the stage.  Girls and boys let their legs hang over the balconies, mobs of people were standing in the back, the rafters were filled. Oh, and yes - at one point Mrs. Angela Bowie danced in the aisles with Mrs.Cyrinda Foxe, one of our more flashy and attractive girls around town.

If David was annoyed at being upstaged momentarily by his wife, he didn't show it .. but it would have be fun if lots of people jitterbugged in the aisles.  The guards, not realizing that the audience is, after all, part of the show, and the dancers were, after all, all in the family, cleared the aisles once again.

A word about Mick Ronson.  He's incredible.  I can't remember when so many people actually said that they enjoyed a guitarist so much.   It's certainly been a few years since it just hasn't been a bloody bore sitting through a guitar solo.  Mick's solos, even with the strobe lights, were brilliant.   Actually the strobe lights weren't even that corny because the music was great.   Plus - Mick is a great beauty and developing into quite a star on his own.   That image is helped when David commits a sexual act on him ... mmmmmmm ... and Mick walks around like a proud little peacock.  That particular sexual act worked better when I saw it in England by the way, somehow in New York City it was sort of ho-hum, and there were merely embarrassed smiles all around.  I think it just hadn't been worked up to properly this time.

David Bowie came over to the United States with eight concerts booked.  Since he has been here, he has been offered and is considering 17 more, so Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Denver, St Louis, Oklahoma City, Nashville, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, Louisville, Indianapolis and Dallas, may get to see David and the Spiders as well.

Postscript:

In 1983 Lisa Robinson interviewed David Bowie during his Serious Moonlight Tour and during the interview they touched on the Carnegie Hall concert:

Lisa Robinson: "Carnegie Hall was the one I remembered, it was a great show."
David Bowie: "Yeah wasn't it funny?  Yeah, I can remember that.  I had flu that night. I'll never forget that.  It was very rewarding because the audience were wonderful, and I wanted to sing so much better."

---This page last modified: 29 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)