Monday, February 2, 2009
What’s bothersome to me is just how diabolical our society still seems to believe smoking weed is if we are to believe the media made furor. Nearly anyone under age 70 now realizes for the most part marijuana smoking is really not anymore nefarious than having a cocktail. I’m not condoning smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol for that matter and I wholly believe the abuse of any mind altering substance is horrible. It is they hypocrisy with which the dichotomy between the legal and criminal are portrayed. I’m not some crazed pot head, but I clearly believe marijuana use should be legalized as I’ll wager the majority of the citizens of the U.S feel the same way.
And here’s the rub which makes me feel we’re still in the dark ages. We tried alcohol prohibition and it didn’t work. Alcohol and its nefarious cousin tobacco are perfectly legal and highly profitable. The abuse of both of these legal substance cost us untold dollars as our population crashes into one another on our nation’s roads, a beer in one hand and a mike pasted to the lip. These legal and socially acceptable vices wreak havoc on our healthcare system and kill… that’s right… think about the damage done by drunk diving. During 2007 some 12,998 citizens died as a direct result of drunken driving crashes in the U.S. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Drunk-driving fatalities represent the total number of fatalities (occupants and nonoccupants) in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.) But I digress!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
It’s always a happy day when an iconic artist finally releases a recording that has been bootlegged for many years. Recently David Bowie released the “Live Santa Monica ‘72” recordings, which have been circulating for ages unofficially. Now when can all appreciate Bowie’s 1972 incarnation as Ziggy Stardust legally. This recording is in my minds the best available of Bowie along with The Spiders From Mars which featured Mick Ronson on lead guitar. It could be argued the “Bowie at the Beeb” release is the finest Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars “live album”, but form me the Santa Monica recording captures the energy and flow of what it must have been like to see Bowie as Ziggy as he tore across the United States.
The show features an excellent set list and wonderful pacing. The song selection and outstanding performances nearly capture the event minus the element of theatre that was the Spiders live show.
The setlist is superb:
Introduction – 0:13
"Hang on to Yourself" – 2:46
"Ziggy Stardust" – 3:23
"Changes" – 3:27
"The Supermen" – 2:55
"Life on Mars?" – 3:28
"Five Years" – 4:32
"Space Oddity" – 5:05
"Andy Warhol" – 3:50
"My Death" (Eric Blau, Mort Shuman, Jacques Brel) – 5:51
"The Width of a Circle" – 10:44
"Queen Bitch" – 3:00
"Moonage Daydream" – 4:53
"John, I'm Only Dancing" – 3:16
"I'm Waiting for the Man" (Lou Reed) – 5:45
"The Jean Genie" – 4:00
"Suffragette City" – 4:12
"Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" – 3:01
There is something for any Bowie fan in this collection. Rockers familiar with only the Ziggy era songs will be pleased at the fine presentation they get on this recording. Older material from “Hunky Dory” and “The Man Who Sold The World” are given the Spiders treatment and come out the other side better for it. This set also includes the fantastic “Space Oddity” with Bowie playing acoustic guitar accompanied by on Ronson playing the bass. Excellent vocal interplay between Bowie and Ronson make this a version of “Space Oddity” for the ages. Also of note is “The Man Who Sold The World’s” “Width Of A Circle”. This track clearly shows what a truly monstrous rock band The Spiders From Mars were. The sound on the release is very good if a little thin. It is a vast improvement over “Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture”. While the motion picture soundtrack might be a bit more dramatic being it was Bowie’s last show ever and all, the Santa Monica concert captures Bowie and his crack band on the rise.
This recording is always a good listen and enlightening for younger fans that may have come to Bowie after his stint as Ziggy. I am far too young to have been an eyewitness but this set makes me feel as if I’ve just heard of a wild cat from England that could rock your sox! Download it, buy the CD; just give it a listen. It made for a nice bright spot this July day.