Tony Defries

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Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders Of Mars Review


Very Good
A documentary with stars? How else could one describe a film that captured one of the most influential and theatrical performers of rock 'n' roll, in what many critics consider the peak of his career. Full of energy and androgynous charisma, David Bowie shined for a thoroughly rapt audience during his final performance as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammerstein Odeon on July 3, 1973, and renowned documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop) was there to film it with all the intelligent respect you could want.

Though Bowie and band performed with much gimmickry to entertain the masses, their musical talent is still more enjoyable than watching Bowie be stripped of clothing on stage. If their songs weren't so engaging, the outrageous fashion style probably wouldn't have been able to push the gender-bending boundaries that so many other bands would later fail to copy. Bowie has his own limits of showmanship that keep you focused on the music instead of his exacting bodily movements. He doesn't just prance around on stage or gyrate, but utilizes facial expressions and simple gestures to add a texture of personality to what he sings. It's surprising yet touching when, after singing the line "...in front of that door is," the entire audience jumps on "me," which gets treated with a genuinely friendly smile.

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