The enduring body of work of David Bowie

The enduring body of work of David Bowie

Music forms a tapestry that serves as a backdrop of life.  Of all the minutia that composes the composite of modern human identity, music often reveals much regarding a person’s history, character and personal disposition.  Music has a unique way of touching the human soul, imprinting on the psyche association with other people, places, times and circumstances.  Two weeks ago when I learned of the sad news of the death of the entertainer David Bowie, I noticed I still had The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars loaded in my CD player.  When I thought about how long I had been a fan of David Bowie, a musician I saw as the embodiment of the consummate rock star, I felt like I had lost part my own history.  That is the beautiful thing about music though.  The maker of it may be long gone but their imprint on the psyche remains as long as it can touch the soul.  David Bowie’s music touched my soul and that of so many others.

In a fitting memorial tribute for a long time rock and roll idol, Tulsa’s Circle Cinema offered two showings this past week of the film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.  I was able to attend last night’s showing.

Ziggy Stardust tix stub

Ziggy Stardust the film, directed by D. A. Pennebacker, was shot in a documentary format as it’s subject was the final concert of Bowie’s 1973 Ziggy Stardust tour.  The concert, played at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, took place on July 3rd, 1973.  Bowie’s youth was apparent as he expertly played that character he created and his music, impressively played by his backing group The Spiders from Mars, and much of that last show served as a nostalgic trip down memory lane of the music of my own youth.  The exception in this case however was that it consisted mostly of songs still in my playlists in both my cars and my home CD player!  The beauty of it was it showed Bowie at the zenith of the success of his early career that spanned well over fifty years.  Not only did this particular concert have most of the discography on the Ziggy Stardust album, it had numbers from the albums Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane. 

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

In the course of this show Bowie also did his rendition of my favorite Mott the Hoople song All the Young Dudes.  He even did a cover of The Rolling Stones number Let’s Spend the Night Together and the Lou Reed song White Light/White Heat.  It was all vintage Bowie from the backstage close ups of his face paint and costumes down to his abrupt announcement of that show being the last concert he and the Spiders from Mars would ever do.

At the end of the night however the film itself left less of an impression of its cinematography, sound quality and editing and more of what it symbolizes to Bowie fans like myself.  While watching it I felt a definite sense of witnessing part of my own history.  It is good to occasionally examine that tapestry that forms the backdrop of your life and analyze how it came to be and where certain pertinent parts came from.  The metric of success of any artist is the ability to touch the human soul.  If you can touch that intangible entity the way David Bowie did with the amount of soul he put into his art then you can count on it lasting a long time after you are gone.  Such is the case with this late and great artist whose storied career seemed to take a radical turn with each endeavor.  Farewell, Mr. Bowie, we adoring fans stand in awe of your life and work.  You may be gone but you may rest in peace knowing the stars look very different now because you made an indelible mark in the hearts and souls of so many who loved you and your music.  Sir, I take my hat off to you and carry with me always the comfort of your gift of art to a World made definitely better by your contributions.

Ziggy Stardust Circle Cinema flyer

1 Comment

  1. Andy radler
    Jan 24, 2016

    I share your feelings on this. I really liked his music and it makes me sad he is gone our period on this earth is going away sadly as we watch our hero’s pass away.