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Imperial College London (12 February 1972)

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Caught in the Act

Melody Maker (19 February 1972)

As the band played on and sang "You're Wonderful" in Edith Piaf emotion-drenched voices, DAVID BOWIE stepped down from the stage into the audience until they picked him up and carried him out in the spot light.  No bibbity-bobbity hat, but shimmering white satin trousers and shirt ripped open..........Clothes by Liberty, boots by Michel, as the man said........

But this was no fag show, a drag act full of lisping gestures and limp hands.  Don't expect Danny La Rue or any Alice Cooper rubbish with boa constrictors and electric chairs.  The costumes - and there were several changes - are the gilt on the lily, but they're not the substance.

The music is muscular, the performances witty and assured.  What other group would dare to do "I Feel Free" before a London audience, complete with Cream rip-off solo - so calculated as to be a thing of glorious absurdity?   Because Bowie and his band are nothing if not superb parodists, right down to the way in which Ronson walked to the front of the stage and invited the front row to caress the body of his guitar.  It plucked the heartstrings, friends, the pathos of that moment.

Bowie has a tremendous sense of pace and timing.  He varied things by slotting in a 15-minute acoustic piece, where he did "Port of Amsterdam", "Andy Warhol" and "Space Oddity", then threw in rockers like "Reeling and Rocking", and then highly abstract pieces such as "Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud."

The harmony singing between Bowie and Ronson was brilliant.   "Space Oddity" was as perfect as the record.

Not surprisingly, there was references to the Velvet Underground.   There was "Queen Bitch", dedicated to Lou Reed, and even a version of "I'm Waiting For The Man".  Later on, in the dressing room, two chicks were saying they'd see Bowie at his next gig in Brighton.  They'd seen all his others so far.

Dedicated to bringing theatrics back to rock music, David Bowie swirled and captivated at London's Imperial College on Saturday, queening his way through old and new songs, before a house packed to the door.  And they hung on every word that dropped from his lips.

---This page last modified: 28 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)